Simmons Pet Foods

Largest pet food manufacturer of wet cat and dog food in the U.S. achieves 24/7 operations and real-time traceability.

Simmons Pet Foods, which acquired Menu Foods, is a leading private-label and contract manufacturer of pet food products sold by supermarket retailers, mass merchandisers, pet food specialty retailers, and other outlets. It ranks 17th of the top 20 North American retailers.

Menu Foods ChallengeThe Challenge

In the food industry, the threat of recall is constant. Food companies need to be able to track all the way down to the individual unit of product so they can quickly remove it from shelves, and then do a full backward trace to find out the origin of the problem.

In 2008, Simmons Pet Foods sought to improve its ability to track and trace products in the supply chain. Simmons Pet Foods is a leading North American private-label manufacturer of pet food products sold by supermarket retailers, mass merchandisers, pet specialty retailers, and other outlets. With yearly revenues of $260 million, it provides pet-food manufacturing to 17 of the top 20 North American retailers as well as leading pet specialty retailers in North America.

Management wanted to be able to find out where and when every product was manufactured, and the origin of the ingredients in the product. Their legacy custom data collection system did not have the lot traceability and shipment tracking they required. They needed a proven, successful data collection solution that would provide real-time integration with everything from manufacturing to license plating.

The Solution

After careful vendor research, Simmons chose RFgen Mobile Foundations for JD Edwards for its proven success in giving customers total lot traceability, efficiency, and real-time integration with their JD Edwards EnterpriseOne Release 8.10 solution from Oracle. RFgen helped Simmons implement its data collection solution over eight weeks in four facilities in Canada and the United States.

The Result

RFgen provides a number of benefits for in manufacturing and distribution operations. Most importantly, it increased traceability and shipment tracking efficiencies, reducing the risks associated with recalls. RFgen implemented its standard License Plating Suite between warehouses, which assigns units with serial numbers that uniquely identify them. "We now have improved ability to track inventory, including lot traceability," said Bryan Bennett, Vice President of IT at Simmons Pet Food, which acquired Menu Foods. "This has increased the confidence in the accuracy of the inventory."

Menu Foods ResultsRFgen's high-availability solution also enabled 24/7 operations at Simmons, regardless of the availability of the JD Edwards EnterpriseOne host system. It also provided real-time integration for supply chain operations. "Being a more modern technology, RFgen has enabled Simmons with the tools they need to expand the use of data collection in their operations," said Mr. Bennett.

RFgen's ease-of-use has reduced end-user training time and resulted in improved overall user experience. "The users like the ease-of-use. New employees are able to learn the system quickly." In fact, the solution was so successful in improving manufacturing and distribution operations that Simmons expanded implementation of the RFgen software in additional facilities.

RFgen software is a complete, automated data collection solution that reduces costs in the supply chain by integrating seamlessly and easily with core business processes. RFgen's flexible architecture and proven ability to reduce complexity help increase control and streamline operations for customers to sharpen their competitive edge. More than 3,000 individual customers worldwide choose RFgen solutions for their data collection needs. "A lot of our customers' manufacturing operations need to run 24/7 for continuous production," said Robert Brice, President at RFgen, "If the connection to the host is lost or the server is down for backup, RFgen extends JD Edwards solutions so companies can continue to operate the manufacturing facility autonomous from the central server with real-time visibility."

RFgen's applications are easy to customize and adapt to each organization's specific supply chain requirements, with one of the shortest implementation times in the industry. "We deliver the power of flexibility to the customer," said Brice.

We now have improved ability to track inventory, including lot traceability. This has increased the confidence in the accuracy of the inventory.

Brian Bennett, Vice President