Blending presentation and quality with speed and accuracy
Published: 26 April 2012 - Michelle Lea
Following the successful implementation of Marco’s Yield Control Module (YCM), specialist herb and micro-leaf producer Westlands has continued to invest in Marco pack-house equipment, the latest installation being Marco’s Trac-IT Product Traceability and Stock Control System. This provides product traceability from goods in to goods out, and helps optimise stock control and minimise waste.
The demand for fresh, pre-packaged micro-leaf and herbs has grown considerably over the last few years, yet the products themselves are delicate and easily damaged, making them notoriously difficult to pack. The manual process therefore relies heavily on the skill and dexterity of the operators to prevent damage. The Marco YCM helps achieve a balanced blend of product presentation and quality, together with speed and accuracy.
During initial trials at Westlands, it was discovered that operators were consistently over-packing by 5-7% of target weight. The original YCM installation has almost eradicated this giveaway/overpack, with operators now consistently delivering pack weights within 0.5g of target. The LineMaster workstations feature a traffic light system that guides operators as they pack, ensuring individual target weights are kept within very close tolerances.
Westlands’ managing director Martin Boers, said: “This significant reduction has resulted in important savings for Westlands. In parallel the system has greatly improved product consistency, together with improved product flow and a significant increase in overall operational efficiency for our pack-house.”
Individual modules such as YCM can be implemented as a standalone solution within a client’s existing pack-house structure and will usually pay for themselves within one season. Additional profitability modules for controlling waste, labelling and traceability can be added as required, without unnecessary and expensive redundancy.
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