Production under Control in the Food Industry

SB Italia provided a company in the food industry with a monitoring system which allows operators to check production constantly. Correction measures may therefore be enacted rapidly, and the solution may be customized at any time

by Ginevra Leonardi

A part of the French multinational company Andros, Solo Italia manufactures and sells fresh and frozen foods. With two production sites in Italy, one in Ossona (MI) and one in Monguzzo (CO), it has 280 employees and a distribution of the product in Italy, Europe, the Middle East and America.
The company needed to replace the monitoring system on the line at the Ossona plant with a more efficient one, allowing operators to verify production constantly, so as to enact correction measures rapidly.
The solution already present within the plant did not satisfy the users completely; data returned by the system were not clearly visible, relevant information was confused and it had been designed for exceedingly small monitors, therefore, data were difficult to see for the operators. For this reason the employees responsible for control often could take timely action in case of faults on the line, generating errors and slowing down the production.

In a few seconds data are processed and shown
SB Italia had already provided business intelligence solutions for Solo Italia in other departments. Starting from an analysis of the line’s requirements, five dashboards were prepared, one for the production lines and one for an overall vision. Data coming from sensors placed along different points of the are gathered in a database and successively processed, turned into graphs and shown on a screen. Each employee on the production line may therefore monitor, almost in real time, what happens during production, taking action if critical issues arise (about six seconds are needed for the recorded data to be processed and shown). Data shown include, for instance, quantities produced and faulty items. Information provided is used to decide rapidly what and how much to produce, even depending on the requirements of the sales force and the warehouse. The new solution has been designed, following the client’s request, in order to be viewed on 50” screens, so that data may be easily seen even from a distance. The heart of the new monitoring is Qlik Sense, BI’s intuitive tool, easy to develop and to get started, which allows the creation of clear, flexible and interactive visualizations.

The solution may be customized at any time
Today the employees in charge of production control may use a high performance tool in their daily work: the really useful data are always shown and, if critical issues arise, special alerts communicate effectively the need to take action. A characteristic which Solo Italia particularly appreciated was the possibility of customizing the solution at any time: the user friendliness allows even company personnel not specialized in IT to modify and if need be build new tailored dashboards.
The key to the project’s success was teamwork with the client, which allowed to focus on requirements and identify the key information to manage the process.
“With our knowledge of the process, a trusted partner and a flexible and dynamic product such as Qlik, we obtained an extraordinary result”, Fabrizio Argiolas, Solo Italia’s information systems manager, explained. “Our line operators can understand the quality of the production based on the real-time indicators on the monitor they can determine when the production batch will end thanks to the state of the work.
But the greatest reward is seeing the satisfaction of our colleagues in the department for the results they obtain; they are the first to ask for continuous evolution; every datum which can be measured and compared with a standard may be inserted in the dashboards, influencing the decisions o the line manager”
Moreno Simonetta, Business Intelligence Business Unit Manager, SB Italia, declared: “Thanks to our system, today those in charge of production line control have available a useful and high-performance tool which is easy to customize”.