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Case Study: Kettle Corn Manufacturer Sees Sweet Growth through the Cloud

A cloud-based solution was the answer for Old Mill Kettle Corn and the company selected Plex as its cloud ERP solution

Growth is good, but sometimes it may not feel that way when the business you love has outgrown your ability to manage it. When Post-It notes can't support your customers, it's time to change. When you're apprehensive about winning that big, new account because you don't have the capacity to manage it, it's time to change. Change came to Old Mill Kettle Corn, a company that manufactures healthy corn-based snacks, when McKee Foods Corporation a national snack food manufacturer approached it with a distribution offer that the company couldn't refuse.

Old Mill Kettle Corn had never used an ERP platform or a formal food safety management system (FSMS) but with the imminent expansion and new market opportunities, management realized it was no longer feasible to use paper spreadsheets and manual processes to manage product quality, inventory, supply chain communications and other processing operations aspects.

A cloud-based solution was the answer for Old Mill Kettle Corn and the company selected Plex as its cloud ERP solution. After just a three-month implementation process, the company was using the Plex Manufacturing Cloud across all areas of its processing enterprise. Plex provides executives complete visibility into their operations and plant data, which can be leveraged to drive profitability. Plex's cloud-first model gave Old Mill Kettle Corn the flexibility to surge up and scale down to meet the changing needs of the business.

"Earlier we would rely on approximation, but now we know exactly how much we've produced on any given day and how much more we need to produce," said Greg Smith, vice president of operations at Old Mill Kettle Corn. "With Plex, we made a paradigm shift from the time we were handling food and raw material lot management on notepads, to the present where with a few clicks we can find out which lot our customers have. Now we use barcode labeling and scanning processes to identify and track all products. Everything runs much more smoothly and inventory is tracked at virtually 100 percent accuracy."

How Plex has effected operational changes for Old Mill Kettle Corn:

  • Coordinates fundamental business functions: order to cash, plan to production, procure to pay
  • Manages inventory in concert with demand
    • Tracks, accounts for and traces all ingredients and raw materials to identify precisely which ingredients were used in finished goods to facilitate fast recall and trace back
  • Minimizes changeover to prevent cross-contamination
  • Fulfills customer orders accurately and on time
  • Captures real-time critical metrics like product cost and downtime
  • Propel them into the next phase of growth beyond their outgrown accounting package
  • Manage the complexities that come with expansion

The Plex Manufacturing Cloud adopted by Old Mill Kettle Corn is built for food and beverage processors - it doesn't try to be all things to all kinds of companies but focuses on a few verticals. It encompasses more than traceability and tracking, just as food and beverage products are more than their raw ingredients. Plex is a dynamic solution for businesses to succeed now and into the future, designed to power today's modern manufacturer.

More Stories By Jim Shepherd

As vice president of strategy, Jim Shepherd is responsible for defining the strategic direction of Plex Systems (Plex) with manufacturers across multiple industries and global markets. He has 40 years of leadership in manufacturing and technology. Prior to joining Plex, Shepherd was vice president and distinguished analyst for Gartner Inc., the world’s leading information technology research company. Among his many accomplishments, Shepherd was the first AMR research fellow.

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