Meat firm goes paperless (well nearly)

THE INSTALLATION of a new 11-station Vantage weighing and traceability system has resulted in an almost paperless environment at British Premium Meats' (BPM) new Welwyn Garden City plant.

The system, installed by Stevens Weighing Group, has given the meat and poultry processor greater control of its operations in the new 1,950m² processing plant. BPM supplies cooked and fresh meats to the catering trade in the Home Counties, Midlands and West Country.

Sales manager for Stevens Weighing Group, Stuart Hunt, said: "BPM set a number of key goals it wanted to achieve for controlling processes at its new plant. These included improved meat traceability with a paperless audit trail, increased stock control and efficiency, improved labelling, reduction in administration time and minimisation of waste and giveaway. The system needed to be user-friendly so that operators could readily adapt without it being too onerous."

BPM wanted a weighing system that could operate in harmony with its Sage Line 500 software package to provide a fully integrated system incorporating the factory floor and back-office. Red meat, poultry and cooked meats are processed and stored separately at the factory. As a result, the system features separate Vantage units, split into three main sections - goods-in and stock release, production and goods-out.

Hunt said the Vantage units could be used as stand-alone self contained modules or networked as part of a fully integrated system. The machine can also deal with non-weighed, manually handled items. Traceability starts as soon as each consignment of meat is booked in and checked against the relevant order. Consignments are issued with a lot number and a barcoded label, which includes information on the use-by date, store location and product-specific quality information, as well as delivery vehicle and supplier details.

BPM partner, Rob Hutchinson said: "We need to process orders quickly and accurately, including invoicing. The Stevens system draws real time data from the Sage system giving us a clear picture of what is going on. We know we are in control of our processes and can measure our efficiency."