Qualitatively speaking, however, executives with the Cincinnati, Ohio, manufacturer of liquid food and beverage products (such as flavored syrups, pancake syrups, mixers, energy shots and private label products) say they are pleased with the changes they’re seeing throughout the plant.
“Right out of the gate, we saw significant benefits in terms of inventory accuracy and traceability,” said Charlie Cain, DLT president and CEO, in an interview with FoodProductionDaily.
Although he doesn’t have an accounting analysis of the continuous quality improvements facilitated by the Plex Manufacturing Cloud platform, Cain does have one important number — 98.
“We’re SQF level 3 certified,” Cain said, referring to a globally recognized food safety and quality certification scheme developed and verified by the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Institute. “We recently had our annual audit, and we scored a 98 (out of 100). The auditor told us he was very impressed with the Plex ERP system’s capabilities.”
Connecting the dots
Plex’s Manufacturing Cloud platform is comprised by well over 100 different modules that serve specific purposes.
For instance, the standard platform includes five subject areas, each of which is an umbrella for a number of modules. One subject handles Security (7 modules), while another addresses Administration (16 modules). Others subject headings include Communication (11 modules), Management (14 modules), and SmartPlex Mobile Access (8 modules).
The modular format of the platform is designed to allow food and beverage processors to customize their platforms by cherry-picking modules as needed. Alex Wilson, DLT’s human resources (HR) manager and Plex champion, said, “We’re using many modules — accounting, production, quality assurance, maintenance, and others.”
“Our ‘production’ module is one we built for our specific use,” she added. “We combined the Batch Production module with the Control Panel module.”
As a result, the batch scaling operation has become much more accurate and it has boosted traceability, she said. “When our staff is doing batch scaling, they start by pre-weighing all the ingredients and verifying that the both the ingredients and their quantities are correct.”
In turn, when that ingredient information is recorded in the system, it is automatically passed along to inventory control and other relevant modules.
Evolution and Revolution
Cain said he and his team are pleased with the results of adopting Plex’s Manufacturing Cloud, and are nearly finished setting priorities for the imminent implementation of Phase 2.
“We’re going to add most of the evaluation modules, as well as the business intelligence modules,” he said.
Cain remarked that although he and his team have fully embraced Manufacturing Cloud, “the initial selection process took two solid years.”
Dominion Liquid Technologies itself has only been around since late 2009. In early 2011, a Westerville, Ohio, technology consulting services provider named Revolution Group approached Cain about implementing the Plex ERP system.
“But we were new, very small, and had limited capital and minimal sales,” he recalled. ”I knew from the day I purchased the company that we had inferior software, but I had to prioritize our capital investments. I tabled the ERP discussion for one year, until it was financially feasible to consider.”
Even then, Cain said, “I took my time and did plenty of due diligence. I knew that whatever software we chose, we were going to have to live with it for a long time.”