News & Updates

May 11, 2014

Northeast Foods Ingredient Traceability Initiative

Leading US McDonalds Supplier, Automatic Rolls of Baltimore invests in SG Systems Ingredient Traceability System from SG Systems LLC.

In the early 1960’s, John Paterakis (NE Foods) and Ray Kroc (McDonalds) shook hands. This simple act between two business visionaries was the catalyst behind creating Northeast Foods (Division of H&S Bakery), a state-of-the-art bakery division specializing in baking and serving multi-chain casual dining operations.

Ingredient Traceability Initiative

The story of H&S Bakery reads like a classic American success story. It is a tale of the Paterakis and Tsakalos families, who came from Greece to make a new and better life.

Still family owned and operated, Northeast Foods and H&S Bakery have nine divisions operating in seven states, with distribution in 23 states and still growing. The company is made up of more than 2,000 employees system wide, in addition to a fleet of 110 delivery vans and more than 200 tractor-trailers.

McDonalds & other QSR’s global reputation for quality and consistency goes right back to their supply chain: they have a valuable brand to protect along with a commitment to their worldwide customer base for safe, high quality baked goods that can be traced back to the source ingredients within a matter of hours. This can present a challenge to any bakery supplier, especially those which rely on paper records for compliance.

To provide the highest level of service to their customers, NE Foods contacted SG Systems, LLC (SG Systems) with a clear set of objectives: Raw Ingredient Traceability, Production Ingredient Weighing Control, and Bulk Ingredient Usage Monitoring.

Dallas based SG Systems is the exclusive North American Distribution Partner for UK based Stevens Group Ltd (Est. London, 1844). With 2000+ global installations and 15 years of implementations addressing Ingredient Traceability challenges within the food industry, they were selected for the NE Foods implementation with a project start date of Jan 2013. Their solution provides traceability in line with most auditing and traceability standards, such as SQF, AIB and BRC.

The Solution – Ingredient Traceability Overview

The SG Systems Ingredient Traceability solution is a unique combination of software and hardware designed to bridge the gap between management level and the shop floor operations (Receiving, Minor Ingredient Weighing, Bulk Ingredient Discharge, Finished Product Management and Sales Order Fulfillment).

The networked solution communicates in real time to ensure accurate traceability information is available on demand, without unnecessary delays.

Receiving Inventory (Minors, Bulks & Bags)

The Inventory Management Software is installed on a SG Systems Touch Screen Terminal at the receiving dock.

As each commodity is received, the software is used to record the supplier’s lot number, supplier name, expiration date, quantity and location. This allows the product to be booked into the company’s facility (Dry Ingredients Warehouse, 3 x Flour Silos, 2 x Yeast Tanks). A new internal lot number is generated to guarantee the uniqueness of the lot number.

When the ingredients are bagged or in tablet form, barcode labels are generated to capture the pallets, containers and bags.

The software prompts for Commodity Specific Quality Assurance Questions for each received item. Questions relate to supplier seal numbers, driver initials, black light inspection checks, allergen protocol compliance, and the like.

Each lot is booked into the database and marked as POSITIVE RELEASE, this allows the inventory to be recognized by the weighing terminals and bulk handling equipment.

Minor Ingredient Weighing

2 x SG Systems Touch Screen Terminal with Integrated Weighing Scale and Barcode Reader is installed in the Mixing Area. The majority of hand weighing for the plant takes place in this location. The terminal has an Operator Touch Screen which requires a secure login before displaying the formulas required for the production line. All ingredients which can be weighed in advance of mixer production are weighed in this location.

All formulas in the Ingredient Traceability system are approved by Lenny Tyc, NE Foods Production Manager. Lenny comments, “The operators in the weighing area can select formulas which they are running on the lines. As the operator selects the formula, the system prompts for each of the

Production Planing & Traceability

Production Planing & Traceability

ingredients which are weighed out within management set tolerances (+/- 0.02lbs from target). Each ingredient requires a lot number to be selected or scanned from the ingredient bin (managed FEFO). The system allows the use of multiple containers, as we keep salt separate from the other ingredients before being added into the mixer. The system guarantees a much higher percentage of on target batches and a reduction in the waste caused by a conventional scale system”

When the containers are full, they are combined with the dough / sponge operations.

Bulk Ingredient Handling

NE Foods made use of the existing Symax & Allen Bradley PLC Controls used for bulk ingredient management. As the mixer automatically pulls bulk ingredients from the flour or yeast tanks, the PLC creates a usage file which is automatically read by the SG Systems Database. This connection allows management of the inventory levels and usage from the bulk tanks without human interaction.

Liquid Ferment is produced on site through an automatic process, in advance of being added to the dough. The creation of the liquid ferment is also managed through the Allen Bradley PLC Controls, helping the SG Systems Software to manage the production and usage of this critical component required in each mix.

After the mix is complete, the bulk and minors are combined in the database to allow for the mix to be fully traceable.

Tracking and Tracing

All of the aforementioned processes communicate with a central server which validates and stores traceability information relating to production, inventory, operators, locations and formulations. The server has an Ingredient Traceability reporting tool to allow supplier lot number led recalls to be tracked through to the batch. NE Foods internal system then allows the batch to be traced through to the finished product.

Northeast Foods Director of R/D & Tech Services comments, “The various processes required during the baking process make traceability a challenge for any baking company. The implementation of the SG System product has allowed NE Foods to capture traceability information at the point of receiving and processing (instead of using the traditional paper trail), without really altering many of our bakery processes. The real time data allows audits to be completed in a matter of minutes, instead of hours, which installs confidence in our customer base. SG Systems has provided us with on-site and remote support when we needed it and training at multiple levels.”

The Ingredient Traceability solution provides the backbone for S88 Batch Control and production traceability and is available in modules to suit most company’s needs and budgets. For more information on SG Systems products and services, please contact their Dallas Corporate Office +1 (214) 819-9570 or at www.sgsystemsusa.com .

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