Dawn Foods, a manufacturer of food products, was aware that four of its plants in the western US were missing out on what current information systems can offer. These plants, making dry mix powders for baked goods, were running SAP enterprise software, but there was no connection between SAP and the production-floor equipment. This meant a lot of paper forms, with the need for keying in production data, introducing potential for errors. But before choosing a Manufacturing Execution System (MES), Dawn needed to know that it would meet real needs at the operational level.
Verus started with visits to all four locations, to understand their processes. Next step was to hold two workshops, one with the operations plant managers and the other with technical engineers. The workshops started with a review of each plant’s operations, and then went on to describe the capabilities an MES could offer. Participants were then asked to prioritize which functions would be most useful to them. The end result was a set of specifications for a bid document.
With this document, Dawn Foods is in the driver’s seat when dealing with vendors – in effect saying, “Here are the capabilities we need. How can your solution provide these”? As well, members of the production and IT teams are satisfied that they have had input into the process, and that the eventual solution will help them do their jobs better.
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