Thatchers Cider, the well-known and rapidly expanding West Country producer of high-quality ciders, have recently teamed up with Harford Control to help manage their aim of achieving a smooth paperless production process.
Thatchers’ data recording systems have traditionally been all manual – Excel or paper-based – with no ability to enforce tasks to be carried out to schedule, or to sense-check erroneous data; a heavy administrative burden in maintaining a host of manual documents and Excel spreadsheets, and no real-time ability to provide visibility of information across the business.
Having considered various options, they chose the Harford system, partly due to its user-friendly interface, its ability to integrate automatically with much of their on-line testing equipment, thereby reducing data entry error and time, and also because the Harford system is designed to support advanced quality management concepts – lean manufacturing, SPC, 6 Sigma, DMAIC, 5 Why’s etc. Harford also have extensive experience in supplying performance improvement solutions to food and drink manufacturers – partnering with other national and international companies such as; Diageo, Unilever, Beam Suntory, Muller Dairies, Dairy Crest, Emmett Produce, Shepherd Neame Brewery, Fenmarc Produce, Youngs Seafood, Encirc, Refresco, and more.
To date, Harford have successfully integrated with and collected data from most on-line components, including: date coders, in line barcode scanners, balances, checkweighers, Anton Paar Densitometers, Heuft Inspection, PLCs (OPC UA), Mitutoyo gauges, digital thermometers, refractometers, torque meters and so on. At the same time, the Harford system creates a disciplined framework for operating personnel to carry out off-line checks to maintaining legality and the highest quality standards. All collected data is centralised, analysed, prioritised and the resulting information sent directly to the desktops of those who need to know, giving instant real-time information and prioritising key problem areas and thus giving the best opportunity for optimal improvements in efficiency to be made with the minimum of effort.
This improved information has given Thatchers greatly increased visibility and granularity of current production status, across all lines, in real time and historically, at just the press of a button or two. Such information is also available on mobile phones, tablets and laptops to give instant access to information – even when away from the mill.
The Harford system has provided an all-in-one solution capable of managing the majority of data collection and reporting requirements on Thatchers’ packing lines – the instant visibility and granularity of which has already lead to improvements in efficiency and quality, and reduction in wastage.
Harford and Thatchers are looking forward to rolling out this integrated solution to other parts of the business and to a long and mutually beneficial partnership.