Campbell invests in software to achieve savings

Related tags Campbell soup Campbell soup company Food Pepperidge farm Campbell

Food manufacturer Campbell Soup has installed global product
lifecycle management (PLM) software to achieve cost savings in an
operation that generates annual revenues of $5 billion.

Campbell says that Formation Systems'​ Optiva software will be used by more than 1,000 Campbell associates working at the company's New Jersey headquarters, as well as at the Campbell's Canada, Campbell's Australia and Pepperidge Farm business units.

"Campbell's goal is to be the most innovative and agile company in its markets,"​ said Joseph Spagnoletti, Campbell's vice president of information technology.

"As our first truly global IT solution, Optiva enables us to bring products to market faster, while reducing risk and ensuring regulatory compliance."

The investment marks a significant update to the company's product development systems. Campbell says that Optiva will allow it to replace obsolete PLM tools, automate workflows, improve sourcing and qualification processes and enable the group to rapidly implement new work processes.

PLM software is increasingly being used in the food processing industry. Indeed there is growing consensus that food manufacturers will have to utilise cutting edge technology more in the future if they wish to remain competitive.

Stringent legislation, consumer concerns about food safety and growing pressure from retailers have forced food manufacturers to look at every possible means of ensuring traceability and efficiency throughout the supply chain.

For its part, Formation Systems claims that its software enables manufacturers to improve their product development productivity and comply with regulatory issues at the same time.

"As discussed in our report, 'The Value of PLM and How to Get It,' at the highest level, PLM targets the things that CEOs, and ultimately investors, care about most - namely, growing cash flow with the expectation of more to come,"​ said Kevin O'Marah, vice president of research at AMR Research.

"Better product innovation translates consistently into higher margins and market share."

Campbell Soup has been highly proactive in using cutting edge technology to achieve cost efficiencies across the supply chain. For example the group recently installed machine vision systems for ensuring proper product labelling throughout all of its plants in North America.

The Cognex MVS-8500 vision system equipment is designed to ensure that each can of Campbell soup has the proper label by first verifying the inkjet-printed product code that is marked on the bottom of each can before the label is applied. These codes contain production information specific to each type of soup, and after the code is read, the appropriate label will then be automatically applied.

The MVS-8500 is claimed to be capable of checking these codes while the cans are moving at the maximum production rate, virtually eliminating the possibility of product mislabelling.

Cognex​ says that its vision systems can be installed to inspect everything from soup to nuts. "Our success in this application proves the versatility and flexibility of Cognex's software,"​ said Cognex chief executive Robert Shillman.

"Reading codes in Campbell's production environment is very different from reading codes on the surfaces of semiconductor wafers in clean rooms, which has historically been one of our largest applications."

The group has also recently installed real time forecasting (RTF) technology in its North American soup, sauces, and beverage production facilities. Results from a pilot test showed that the company can decrease its short-term forecast error by 50 per cent.

The software, installed by Terra Technology, is designed to improve efficiency and establish greater customer visibility in its operations. Campbell's North American division will use Terra's RTF solution to observe day-to-day demand changes and order flows, helping the company to realise significant reductions in inventory and increase customer service levels.

Campbell Soup Company is a global manufacturer and marketer of high quality soup, sauce, beverage, biscuit, confectionery and prepared food products with nearly $7 billion in annual sales and a portfolio of more than 20 market-leading brands.

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