Sweet Jubilee Gourmet - SQF Audit Support
Sweet Jubilee Gourmet offers boutique chocolate products to consumers and high-end retailers. Sweet Jubilee uses enrobers to coat confections in chocolate, and decorates with other toppings, as well as complex decorative packaging. As they expand, Sweet Jubilee wanted to excel on their SQF audits and attract larger retail customers.
To succeed on their SQF audits, Sweet Jubilee needed great lot traceability. Their previous method of lot traceability – pencil and paper - was not effective. The process of performing a recall using paper records is too time consuming and error prone to meet the speed and accuracy requirements of a recall. Sweet Jubilee’s growth strained the system and they needed a change.
In addition, Sweet Jubilee had difficulty tracking their existing inventory levels, and planning for their production runs. With hundreds of products and ingredients, they had had issues with stock outs – where on production day, a key ingredient or packaging component was unavailable. They wanted to avoid this situation, and also enable planning for large order runs for larger customers, and ensure timely and consistent delivery.
Sweet Jubilee was ready for a change and they approached Mar-Kov to implement Inventory, MES, and MRP software. Mar-Kov was selected from a group of software providers based on its feature rich application and strong project support team to help modernize the process.
Mar-Kov software delivered on all the functional requirements above, meeting and exceeding all of the technical elements that were necessary for project success.
However, the key project step was an onsite visit by Mar-Kov’s project manager at Sweet Jubilee’s production facility. Mar-Kov met with the Sweet Jubilee Team and reviewed the facility, developed their requirements in much greater detail, and produced a project plan to ensure Sweet Jubilee met their requirements in a straightforward manner. With a full understanding of the operation and the scope of the work, Mar-Kov was able to deliver a solution that met Sweet Jubilee’s needs.
One particular challenge that the site visit helped the Sweet Jubilee team overcome was the complexity of their BOM’s. At Sweet Jubilee, an intermediate manufactured item such as a chocolate covered pretzel might be combined with various sprinkle options and packaged in a multitude of seasonal variety packs. Most of this complexity was understood by a couple of key staff members who planned production based on their intimate knowledge of what intermediates were used in each product. Mar-Kov’s project team helped Sweet Jubilee staff and executives map out this complex production hierarchy into a well-organized structure.
“The onsite visit was very helpful to ensure smooth roll out. It helped tease out all of our requirements and ensured the project was a success”
A key technical feature that allowed Sweet Jubilee to meet its objectives was barcode scanning of all ingredients and components into the production process, and further scanning of product lots as they went out the door. With the large number of products, recipe steps, and intermediate items, and many similar ingredients, barcode scanning not only allowed them to streamline production but also achieve piece of mind that each recipe and bill of materials was followed as per requirements.
Now, when they receive ingredients their software generates unique lot numbers and barcode labels. Operators can scan the lots they are using for production runs to have the inventory update as work is completed. As operators scan raw material Mar-Kov’s software catches errors and automatically creates the traceability log as part of production.
Manufactured lots are barcoded as well, so that when customer orders are picked the system documents each lot that goes out on each shipment allowing end-to-end traceability.
Now, Sweet Jubilee has a fully auditable record of batches. They can run a traceability report on any lot and know in moments exactly what batches were made with it and who they were shipped it to. Finished goods can be traced back to their raw ingredients and packaging with equal ease.
An added benefit of tracking the inventory variance for each batch has allowed Sweet Jubilee Gourmet to refine their recipes. Because the enrobing process can be so variable it can be hard to tell exactly how much product is used for each recipe. By accurately tracking their inventory Sweet Jubilee can adjust their recipes to reflect how much material is actually being used. Now, Sweet Jubilee can order what it needs with the confidence that they have in stock the necessary inventory to satisfy the growing demand for their product.