Crescent may not be a household name, but many of the brands the contract packaging and supply chain service provider works with are — Hershey, Campbell’s and L’Oreal are some examples. Crescent receives goods from its brand partners, packages the merchandise into retail packaging displays and ships the finished products to distribution centers or to retailers directly.
Managing a multi-customer, co-mingled environment is challenging. The contract packaging process may sound simple enough, but in reality it’s very complex. With multiple customers in different industries, each touting multiple product lines, each packaging job that comes into Crescent needs to be quoted, planned, produced and shipped according to unique specs. Add in multiple brands, product lines and retailers, and that’s a lot of juggling involved. “Until 2011, Crescent managed production across our six U.S. sites with an in-house system. It did the job for us, but we knew it wasn’t giving us all the visibility throughout the packaging process that we wanted,” said Brad Daubenmire, Director of Quality and Process Improvement at Crescent.
“In our business, we spend a lot of time trying to understand what the customer needs. Doing that through a continuous improvement culture, as well as through operations and financial transparency is a very important piece.”JOHAN POT – SVP SALES & MARKETING
Crescent needed a purpose-built, cloud-based solution to manage the entire contract packaging operation. Crescent’s Vice President of IT had heard from F4SS — an industry association — about a new cloud-based solution built by Nulogy. Having never heard of a software solution built specifically for contract packagers, he was intrigued and arranged a meeting with Nulogy.
“They saw what we were doing in terms of our processes and set us up with PackManager. We did a product review and really liked what we saw. It’s a solution that’s built specifically for our industry and ensured we could meet all our regulatory requirements.” BRAD DAUBENMIRE- DIRECTOR OF QUALITY & PROCESS IMPROVEMENT
Cloud-based solution delivers real-time information to improve customer confidence and time to market
Today, PackManager is integrated in virtually all areas of the company’s plants, building a strong network to drive better communication, coordination and control. From tracking production at the shop-floor level, all the way up to integrating with client ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems, PackManager has become the technology backbone of ARI’s operations.
End-to-end visibility of planning, production, and shipping
PackManager has given ARI the ability to systematically plan, execute and monitor production in real-time. This has provided them with better visibility and traceability of inventory as it flows through the supply chain. In turn, they are able to better communicate to their clients the status of work-in-progress jobs and finished goods.
Faster speed-to-market enabled by systems integration
Using PackManager, ARI has been able to build interconnected networks with customers and achieve integration across the customer-supplier workflow. By connecting previously disparate software solutions in the workflow, they are able to relay real-time information through the network and enable faster speed-to-market. This provided clients with real-time visibility into ARI’s processes for their own forecasting and planning.
Unparalleled visibility, traceability, and operational control
PackManager gave Crescent visibility into its production cycle, unlocking production line-level control, pallet-level inventory tracking and detailed tracking of labor hours and efficiency.
Superior product traceability
“Traceability is big for us,” Daubenmire explains. “We need to be able to know where we’ve used the products through the receiving and production process. It’s a critical part of all our food safety initiatives. Whenever we’re audited by regulatory agencies or for third-party certifications, one of the key things they look for is our ability to execute that traceability process.”
Better handle on production specs
“With PackManager, you have a PC on each production line and the ability to maintain current specs against the finished good items,” Daubenmire notes. “We used to have paper spec sheets that we put together for each item before we ran the line. If there were changes, we had to track down all the paper spec sheets, change them in the system and then re-issue the sheets. Now it’s a lot easier to ensure all the lines have the most recent data, and a huge improvement over our old system.”
Ability to control expenses and keep labor costs down
Keeping expenses under control is key for Crescent. With 475 full-time employees and 1,000 or more temporary employees at work each day, the company needs to have a firm grasp on how much labor is required to be on-hand for available jobs. In the past, figuring that out could be tricky. With PackManager in place though, matching labor to incoming jobs is a breeze. “Labor’s by far our biggest expense and having a good handle on it drives down costs, improves our profitability and ultimately helps us bring in new business and grow,” say Daubenmire.
Cloud-based quality control software that’s integrated with production
Quality control is another high priority for Crescent. In addition to PackManager, the company implemented Nulogy’s QCloud solution.
“Most of our QCloud inspection sheets go through dozens of revisions,” Daubenmire notes. “If we had to do all those revisions on paper, it would be a lot more difficult to manage. With QCloud, you can just update the revision number and push it live on production. Because it’s a cloud-based system, the latest version goes to all our sites and QC auditors in real-time.”
“Prospective customers recognize the value of a Nulogy solution more and more. Being able to sit with a customer and explain with them how we use the system to drive cost savings and productivity improvements, that’s really where Nulogy has made a difference for Crescent.”
JOHAN POT – SVP SALES & MARKETING