Friday, April 20, 2007

Murray’s Chicken Plant Goes Hi-Tec

Long been the big name in free range poultry products, Murrays Chicken of Fallsburg , NY is growing fast. At an average of 45,000 birds a day, and a thriving live bird business, Murray’s could no longer live by its old paper system. They needed to automate. Dean Koplik, VP of Operations of Murrays Chicken called in Progressive Software Solutions to help. Progressive has been in the scale and software integration business for many years and had already been supporting Murray’s scale and label systems for years. Koplik knew of some of the systems that Progressive offered but was delighted to hear of the extent to which Progressive could help.
Progressive installed the Provision Processing System a meat processing software and hardware system( built especially for meat processors. For Koplik, the benefits are numerous.

With the current climate in the meat processing world, first and foremost is the ease of lot tracking. All the scales in the Murray’s plant (up to 10 at any time) are programmed to automatically generate lot numbers along with their barcode labels. Scales are also tied into a SQL server over an ethernet network and tied to the SQL database for automatic data capture, product look up and inventory . The scale labels are later used in shipping for the shipping module. Thankfully, Murray’s has not had to do a recall yet, but they rest assured that at the touch of a button they can track lots to customers and dates within seconds.

Orders were once taken by hand, written down and walked back to production. At over 100 orders a day, Koplik’s shoes were getting worn out! Now Koplik and 4 others are taking orders over the phone. Orders can contain future ship date, notes about how to pack items, view on hand, how to deliver etc… After entering the orders on their networked desktop PCs, orders are immediately delivered to the warehouse using a networked document printer. The warehouse fulfills orders using the scale labels previously generated and a wireless barcode scanner. Koplik is saving a fortune in shoe repairs.

Shipping Tickets are produced as a result of boxes scanned. Tickets contain Skid numbers, case weights, order number, customer shipping information, and much more. What’s great for Koplik is that every shipping ticket goes into a Quickbooks cue for billing and is also removed from inventory. At the click of a button, all invoices are complete. This alone is the greatest time and money saver due to previous handwriting and accuracy issues. Perception is reality to Murray’s clients and having a hand written report with marker on boxes was keeping Murray’s from closing some major accounts. Now with the printed shipping reports and the UCC/EAN 128 bar coded labels, Murray’s sales staff feel confident they can fulfill the needs of the most demanding clients and has brought in some significant business.

Until now inventory was a visual process. Shrinkage became a problem as well. With the Provision Processing System, Murray’s has a “to the second”, handle on what is produced and what is getting shipped to who and most importantly what is not getting shipped.

Using the SQL reporting tool included with SQL server 2005, Brian Kessler (IT Manager) is able to create on screen reports, for all aspects of the business such as Inventory levels, production time studies, lot reporting, re-works and much more.

Murray’s is now using Progressive in many aspects of their business including custom printed labels and inserts as well as plant automation. Murray’ s continues to grow and Koplik maintains that he will bring Progressive and the Provision Processing System along with him.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter Everyone! Aside from being pummeled with the easter bunny theme, this was a great Easter for me and I learned a lot this year about the significance of the holiday as I sat with my two boys at several masses this weekend. Anyway, I thought I would add a few things I accomplished this week. We were written up in for our meat processing software system. We will see what that brings. I also spent some time making a word wrap function for when I have to print a large ingredient field to an Eltron Label printer but need to split it up into several lines. The following code is in and breaks a string up into lines using a space as the defiining end line character. I can’t say its perfect but here you go anyway

Private Sub splitingredients(ByVal ingredients As String, ByVal port As Object, ByVal lines As Integer, ByVal cpl As Integer)
'this procedure takes the ingredients variable and makes it so many lines by so many characters(cpl)
'it also sends it out the port of choice
Dim length As Integer
Dim pointer As Integer = 1
Dim linepointer As Integer
Dim currentline As String
Dim currentcharacter As String
Dim linelength As Integer = lines
Dim linenumber As Integer
Dim backcount As Integer
Dim header As Integer

ingredients = "INGREDIENTS: " & ingredients
length = Len(ingredients)
While pointer <> length
currentcharacter = Mid(ingredients, pointer, 1)
currentline = currentline & currentcharacter

If linepointer = cpl And linenumber <= lines Then
header = Asc(currentcharacter)
Do While header <> 32

pointer -= 1
currentcharacter = Mid(ingredients, pointer, 1)
header = Asc(currentcharacter)
backcount += 1

currentline = Mid(currentline, 1, (Len(currentline) - backcount))

linenumber += 1
port.Write(currentline & vbCrLf)

linepointer = 0
currentline = ""
backcount = 0

End If
linepointer += 1
pointer += 1

End While
port.Write(currentline & vbCrLf)
linenumber += 1
If linenumber < lines Then
Dim tmpint As Integer
Dim i As Integer
tmpint = lines - linenumber
For i = 1 To tmpint
port.Write(" " & vbCrLf)
End If

End Sub

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Howdy everyone. Just wanted to touch base. We just recently brought 3 new programmers on board as a result of our great feedback from teh seafood show, and are cranking out some nice custom programs. But what I am most proud of is our poultry processing system for any meat packing plants. I now have it in 3 separate installations and have many quoted. My customers love it because it provides fast lot recall capability, scale integration, bar code shipping and labeling and best of all...Quickbooks Invoicing! Hey man I dont toot my own horn very often but this is a great system. My customers run their entire businesses on this system. I now have from 10 to 150 employee companies running this. Check it out if you want. meat and poultry processing systems and software Look for our article coming up in your favorite poultry magazine