Case study

Blue Bell Creameries

Top U.S. ice cream manufacturer achieves increased visibility, inventory efficiency and ingredient traceability.

Industry: Food & Beverage

ERP: Oracle E-Business Suite

RFgen Solutions: Inventory Management, Manufacturing, Offline Mobility, Field Mobility

Results

  • Increased productivity and improved data accuracy by utilizing handhelds for cycle counts
  • Resolved data drops with trusted and reliable offline data collection and quality handhelds
  • Significantly enhanced fixed asset tracking
  • Helped over 800 truck drivers manage Blue Bell’s fixed assets located at thousands of branch and customer sites with greater efficiency and accuracy
  • Equipped Blue Bell’s in-house developers with the ability to customize transactions and workflows in a fraction of the time and cost of the previous solution
  • Seamless training support

Challenge

Blue Bell had been using Oracle E-Business Suite 11i environment for their existing automated data collection solution and decided to upgrade to Release 12 to overcome workflow issues and improve overall functionality. During the transition, the Blue Bell team discovered that Release 12 also created unexpected challenges.

These new challenges included maintaining compliance as it related to tracing food ingredients and products, unreliable handheld device connectivity inside its facilities, the need to adapt to multiple types of mobile devices and tracking fixed assets via paper-based systems.

Results

  • Increased productivity and improved data accuracy by utilizing handhelds for cycle counts
  • Resolved data drops with trusted and reliable offline data collection and quality handhelds
  • Significantly enhanced fixed asset tracking
  • Helped over 800 truck drivers manage Blue Bell’s fixed assets located at thousands of branch and customer sites with greater efficiency and accuracy
  • Equipped Blue Bell’s in-house developers with the ability to customize transactions and workflows in a fraction of the time and cost of the previous solution
  • Seamless training support

Solution

We quickly realized RFgen’s solution would not only solve our mobile batch requirements but would also provide real-time integration to our Oracle E-Business system to manage the shop floor transactions used in our plants.

Jim Kruse, Board Secretary & Controller

Blue Bell Creameries

To overcome the obstacles with their ERP upgrade, multiple operating systems, delivery logistics, and solution scalability, Blue Bell sought a software partner with robust, flexible and customizable solutions. Blue Bell tapped RFgen and deployed RFgen Mobile Foundations for Oracle E-Business Suite – a powerful, flexible and cost-efficient solution.

The software suite enhanced operations by implementing mobile barcoding in Receiving, Inventory, Manufacturing, Quality and Fixed Assets. It also replaced Blue Bell’s legacy barcode system as they transitioned to the new release of Oracle e-Business Suite.

“We quickly realized RFgen’s solution would not only solve our mobile batch requirements but would also provide real-time integration to our Oracle E-Business system to manage the shop floor transactions used in our plants,” stated Jim Kruse, Board Secretary and Controller for Blue Bell.

Results

Not only had RFgen helped Blue Bell make a smooth transition to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12 without losing functionality or data collection capabilities, but the company also remains highly satisfied with RFgen’s reliability and performance.

Benefits included:

  • Increased productivity and improved data accuracy by utilizing handhelds for cycle counts
  • Resolved data drops with trusted and reliable offline data collection and quality handhelds
  • Significantly enhanced fixed asset tracking
  • Helped over 800 truck drivers manage Blue Bell’s fixed assets located at thousands of branch and customer sites with greater efficiency and accuracy
  • Equipped Blue Bell’s in-house developers with the ability to customize transactions and workflows in a fraction of the time and cost of the previous solution
  • Seamless training support
There’s no way we could collect so much data without the RFgen system.

Jim Kruse, Board Secretary & Controller

Blue Bell Creameries

Looking Ahead

Blue Bell continues to assess the ways they can continue to leverage the power of RFgen’s offerings as they grow and their needs evolve. Other possible applications include exploring how the high availability offline mode can be used to improve route accounting for the delivery of ice cream products to supermarkets and convenience stores.

Blue Bell’s Program Analyst Vitalina Lisovaya adds: “We have a lot of ideas for RFgen based on its scalability. I have a feeling it’s never going to end!”

blue bell logo

Blue Bell Creameries has been making delectable ice cream and frozen snack products since 1907. Now the company operates four manufacturing plants, 57 distribution centers, and a large fleet of delivery trucks. Known for its unique mixtures, Blue Bell ranks as one of the top three best-selling branded ice creams in the U.S.–despite being only available in 26 percent of the nation’s supermarkets.