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Ready Meals Manufacturer makes £30K pa saving in one department alone

Piroto Pill Pack

The Customer

The subject of this study is a major manufacturer of ready meals supplying a nationwide retailer and, like all food processors, the integrity of their production process is paramount. Traceability is a key issue and food safety plays a major part in their operation.

They came to Piroto with a problem that, although only a tiny part of their overall operation, was presenting an unnecessarily high risk to the business.

The Customer's Challenge

The use of hand written, metal detectable, self-adhesive labels as part of the manufacturer’s traceability system was leading to product contamination with potentially disastrous effects on customer and consumer confidence.

In addition, the manufacturer was experiencing problems with consistency of information written on the labels by staff, leading to confusion and delays in the operation.

The food processor and manufacturer invited Piroto into their facility to see the process at first hand and to come up with a possible solution.

Our Approach

Once on site, we worked closely with the operations and technical team to really understand all the issues that they were experiencing with their current adhesive labels. The customer’s team were keen to improve the ease of cleaning of internal movement trays to remove any label adhesive which could lead to product contamination and we discussed this in detail. They also felt it would be a good opportunity to develop a bespoke label to standardise information that was recorded across the entire site.

By examining the whole process, rather than limiting our discussion to the part played by the label, we were able to explore more comprehensive resolutions together.

Once back at base we discussed the customer’s issues with our own technical team and started to systematically develop a reengineered label for trial. Using our combined understanding of the food manufacturing sector and know-how as a label manufacturer several prototypes were developed, tested and refined internally. Once the Piroto team were happy that they had found an effective solution samples were produced and a test schedule agreed with the customer.

What we delivered

Since it was evident that the presence of adhesive was the cause of potential food contamination, we developed a non-adhesive, metal detectable, loop tag to replace the existing label. During phase one the new tag was introduced into the goods inwards/stores department. In addition, a label printer was added into the process to eliminate the problem of illegible and inconsistent handwriting. Piroto formatted the customers required templates and set up the over-printers onsite.

The new system performed so well that the food manufacturer received improved feedback during their BRC Audit. Staff bought into the new procedure very quickly, finding the tags easier to use, and became advocates for extending the system throughout the site. Staff immediately saw the benefits of a standard tag format and the introduction of printers.

This early success resulted in phases two and three being accelerated. The whole site took on the new metal detectable loop tags and introduced three additional print stations.

Phase four finalised the installation with the custom-made solution removing any need for self –adhesive labels and thus greatly reducing the risk of product contamination.

The Impact on the Customer's Business

Through working in partnership with Piroto the site has not only seen a reduction in risk but has also experienced significant improvements in the process above and beyond their expectations:

  • A reduction in labour, equating to a saving of £30,000 annually in one department alone
  • The introduction of printers and, through their use, consistent legibility, has meant a drop in the number of mistakes resulting in less rejects
  • Simplification of the stock rotation process has been achieved across the site through the introduction of full colour day labels
  • The introduction of waterproof tags that withstand the environment and retain readability speeds up processing by reducing traceability issues
  • The complete removal of the requirement for adhesive has reduced the risk of food contamination by the label.