Nowadays in the food industry the continuous improvement of production processes to ensure the top standard in term of environment, workers health and safety and obviously the final product has a very high priority. Cambridge implemented for a multinational active in the food industry from the Food industry a cloud based Management System to monitor the quality feedback loop provided by around 30 production plants around the globe. The implementation of the solution took place in seven months only.
Based in Switzerland the company employs around the globe nearly 6,000 people and sells in more than 150 global markets and operates 29 production facilities – for bottling, distilling and manufacturing – in 16 countries. The Global Quality Department is not only responsible for the monitoring of the quality standards in the production process, but also the supervision of potential incidents, health-issues or the verification of standard procedures. This is achieved by analysing information on these topics that is being gathered from the 29 worldwide production plants. Cambridge helped them in transitioning a previously paper-based process into an automated custom solution for the management of the KPIs. The previously used system was based on two different legacy applications Lotus Notes to manage the workflow oriented functionalities and Entropy to manage the analytics of quality KPIs. Cambridge combined those independent applications into a new unique solution based on the Microsoft cloud SaaS Office 365. Key requirements in this process were the seamless transformation of the previous and highly complex system into a standardized solution within a short time-frame whilst ensuring the continuous availability of the service.
The quality department monitors a wide array of KPIs to ensure the quality of its products, facilities and working conditions as well as the company’s environmental impact. Each production facility continuously records between 120 and 150 KPIs. These include measurements such as the amount of energy and water consumed, checklists screening whether quality procedures are adhered to or if the requirements for environmental protection are met. In addition to having to gather the various data from all facilities around the world, the system has to ensure compliance with different local regulatory requirements, since regulations vary depending on the country where the facility is based. In the past, the Quality Management Team gathered the information from the different facilities on a paper-based approach via Lotus Notes. This process was laborious and prone to error as data had to be processed partly manually. The new system was required to automate the processes with a standardized approach, thus reducing the complexity of the overall solution and allowing the automatic visualisation of the data gathered from the facilities. Furthermore, a key requirement in this project was a seamless transition from the old to the new solution.
To meet the requirements for the Quality Management System, Cambridge implemented a solution based on Office 365 and PowerBI for the collection, submission, storage, analysis and visualisation of the data. The data gathered at the facilities is collected on SharePoint and then made available to the Quality Management Team on a dashboard application which summarises the results. The dashboard allows adjustments of the granularity of the information that is being displayed on the dashboard on the fly in order to display precisely the amount of information that is required. Since the users of the system had little to no experience with SharePoint applications, the solution had to be simple to use and intuitive, whilst at the same time still being able to map the complex structure of the data processed. To ensure a seamless transition from the old system Cambridge first hosted and ran the solution in its own Office 365 tenant. This provided the necessary accessibility and flexibility needed in order to implement the new system, while the old solution was still in use whilst the company was completing the setup of its own new Office 365 tenant. Once the new Quality Management System was fully functioning, the testing of the application concluded and the solution ready to be used, the system was transferred from Cambridge to their own Office 365 for its productive use.
The Quality Management Team now has a unified and standardised solution to monitor the KPIs from all its 29 facilities worldwide. The high grade of automation streamlined processes significantly and greatly reduces the margin of error. Developing and hosting the system in the public cloud first and then upon completion moving it to the private cloud ensured a seamless deployment of the new solution, without the Quality Management System experiencing any down-time. This approach also allowed for a very short time-to-market. The hand-over of the system was done only seven months after the project started.
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