Meeting the highest standards in food production is a key priority for every company in the food industry. This also goes for Agristo, a global player in the development and production of frozen potato products. Agristo leveraged the Mendix-platform to develop a Quality Control portal. The portal enables them to manage master data up to 50 times faster and record the measurements taken during production in a very efficient and user-friendly way. In addition, it provides valuable and quick real-time insights into product quality during the production process. Bizzomate was selected to develop and implement the Mendix application.
Based in the Netherlands and Belgium
Agristo is a dynamic family-run business, specialized in the production of frozen and pre-fried potato-products. The company is headquartered in Harelbeke, Belgium and owns two other production facilities in Belgium and one in the Netherlands. Finished products are sold worldwide in retail and foodservice markets.
The company produces over 200 different semi-finished products ranging from fries to croquettes, potato parts, röstis, mashed potatoes and much more. During production, all these products need to be checked on 30 to 60 different parameters multiple times during a run. To make things even more complex, the company is a private label producer, so each client may have different requirements regarding, for instance, the weight, size and quality of the products.
Improving a time-consuming process
Checking and monitoring the quality of all these ranges of potato products used to be managed via a custom-built master file. The master data was managed in this file and periodic measurements were performed on the factory floor and stored manually. Besides the fact that managing the master data was a very time-consuming process, the quality engineers blocked each other while adding results. As a consequence, real-time insights were very hard to come by.
Simplify and speed up quality control
In order to simplify the quality control process and get direct insights into variations of quality during the production process, Agristo looked for a partner that could help them solve these challenges. Bizzomate was eventually selected to take on this business-critical challenge.
In a design thinking session, Bizzomate and Agristo first determined exactly what needed to be built. They wanted a platform that could help them manage the control parameters in a flexible manner, add measurements from various production locations simultaneously and that could provide valuable insights during the quality control process. The portal also needed to be easy to work with.
Agristo is using an on-premise SAP/ERP-business application, so the integration of the new tool with SAP was key and the new solution also needed to be hosted in the SAP cloud instead of the Mendix cloud. After some initial issues, the Quality Control portal is now working flawlessly.
24/7 availability from various production sites
The Quality Control team is very satisfied with the new solution. Quality Control Engineers can enter data from various production sites simultaneously making the data entry process a lot more efficient. A dashboard provides Quality Control Managers with valuable information about the quality of the various product batches. They can easily spot quality trends and make adjustments to batches if needed.
The application also gives Quality Managers more control over the production process. Changing the parameters for instance has now become a dynamic process. If batches don’t comply with the parameters of one client, they sometimes do meet the criteria of other clients enabling them to offer those products to other clients with less food loss as a result.
Mapping a production score
Avola Decision, the decision management software for operational decision making developed by Bizzomate was also integrated into the application. The business rules that were used to make decisions about product quality were translated into decision models in Avola Decision. Based on the measurements in the portal, such as temperature and the length of the fries, the software automatically calculates a quality score. If the score gets below a critical number, adjustments need to be made to the production process.
For Agristo’s employees, it was getting increasingly difficult to monitor and manage the different parameters for the growing number of customers. Avola Decision has significantly reduced the complexity of the quality control process and increased transparency because all decisions about the quality are now taken based on objective business rules in Avola Decision.
Significant gains in speed and flexibility
Quality Control managers are now able to update master data up to 50 times faster. If a product definition has to be added or modified it only takes minutes whereas before, this would take half a day up to one day. This is an unbelievable difference. Martijn Mennen, CIO at Agristo: “We are very happy with the Quality Control solution. The new app is user-friendly, efficient and provides us with valuable insights in variations of quality during the production process. It enables our Quality Control Managers to fully focus on what they’re good at, ensuring that Agristo products meet the highest possible standards for food production.”
Dries Ausems, merchant of progress at Bizzomate: “For the development of the app we worked with the Agile methodology. This was a relatively new way of working for Agristo, but the entire team did an excellent job. We encountered a highly motivated and knowledgeable team and the interaction with all stakeholders was high. This environment enabled our development team to build a Quality Control portal that exactly meets the business needs of Agristo.”
Mennen adds: “Thanks to the expertise of Bizzomate with the agile methodology we’ve been able to fully leverage the power of low-code. Now that we’ve seen what we can accomplish with Bizzomate, we’re keen to scale up the number of low-code projects. They’ve proven they can handle complicated cases. I’m confident to say that with Bizzomate, we can take on virtually any low-code project in our organization.”
Photo: ©Agristo NV
Agristo is a world player for the development and production of frozen potato products.