Our customer used paper-based reporting and Excel to record production and track incoming products. Incoming product tags were on cardboard slips attached to the pallet or cart that was delivered to the packing line.
Operators were expected to write down the incoming cart ID as soon as the line start using each new cart. Review of operator notes often found discrepancies that took significant effort by quality control workers to resolve.
Audits of traceability were time consuming and relied on many documents to be tracked and connected. The audit always presumed that product labels were available on the suspect package. Something that is not always available in real-life situations.
The Lyne control system already tracked the product through the line, (See Accelerating Changeovers case study) and date code and PTI labels were always correct, a result of the Lyne System controls that performed these tasks automatically for operators, eliminating the risk of errors.
The missing link was the incoming product information.
Lyne Systems Upgrade
Most traceability solutions require operators or supervisors to enter data, whether on paper or a tablet/computer. We believe traceability should be effortless and automatic, not an additional burden on the shoulders of operators and supervisors.
Lyne Systems added our Traceability module to the existing system. For incoming product tracking, scanners were added. This connected the incoming product data to the same Production Intelligence suite that included all the other packaging data.
To ensure accuracy, Lyne scanners sent the facility’s cart information immediately back to the harvest database, confirming that the correct cart was being used.
This had the ancillary benefit of having a connection to product type – eliminating the possibility of operators accidentally using the wrong product on the line. Organic versus conventional, or Premium Quality versus Select, the right product was always used. Operators were also prevented from scanning the same cart more than once.
In order to ensure every new cart arrival to the line is scanned, we track the cart weights. We know how much is on each cart, and we know how much the line uses in real time. If the line continues packing when the quantity packed is greater than the quantity on the last scanned cart, the infeed conveyor on the line is stopped and the Supervisor is notified. This prevents operators from continuing to operate without taking the step of scanning when a new cart arrived.
In summary, the risk of product tracking errors was completely eliminated. The only effort by Operators and Quality Workers to ensure complete data accuracy was to scan each cart.
For retrieving the product traceability data, the Production Intelligence Dashboards provide a Product Tracking screen. Users easily filter the data to show information about the package in question. All information including Growing Room number, date harvested, picker name, packing line, date packed, line operator name and other product details are all immediately available for reference.
If the label was not available, the store location and date purchased could be used to back-calculate the same detailed list of information about the product.
This approach turns traceability on its head. The only thing operators need to do is scan the incoming product cart. After that, everything occurs with no operator input. We have seen many traceability systems that require manual entry of data. Without strict enforcement and quality control workers to audit, these systems continually run into challenges. The Lyne system ensure that all data is automatically collected. Traceability becomes a non-issue.
Traceability Accuracy with
Manual Data Entry
Monterey Mushrooms eliminated all administrative effort to increase their traceability accuracy to 100% using Lyne Systems
Automatic Product Tracking
Before: Manual recording of product tracking wasn’t consistent. It was time consuming and operator focus was often elsewhere.
After: Lyne Traceability provided scanners that took no time and automatically created accurate product usage data.
Complete & Accurate Records
Before: Manual records contained errors and occasionally missing information.
After: Connection of scanner data to harvest and production records in real-time ensured consistent accuracy.
Real-Time Data Collection
Before: Manual recording of data, consolidation in Excel and review of accuracy took substantial administrative effort.
After: Accurate data is now immediately recorded consistently. All administrative effort was eliminated.
Simple Traceability Search
Before: Audits and back-tracking of product was a very time-consuming effort. Many people were involved, and the risk of human error was high.
After: The Product Tracking screen allows users to find the origin of products and and all product handling details easily. Even when information about the final package is limited.
Monterey is the America’s largest and only national marketer of fresh mushrooms, supplying unique, innovative, and high-quality products for sale to supermarkets, foodservice and ingredient manufacture operations, and for preparation of processed, canned, and frozen mushroom products.
Headquartered in Watsonville, California, Monterey has production, sales and administrative offices, internationally. An international, multi-facility company, with 10 mushroom growing farms strategically located throughout North America.