In 2004, WG Pro-Manufacturing’s founder created a line of tasty, nut-free baked goods because he had personally experienced the challenges faced by people with nut and peanut allergies.
Mar-Kov Regulated Software
If you, or someone you love, is allergic to tree nuts and peanuts, you understand the life-and-death challenges WG Pro-Manufacturing faces daily.
“In our business, it’s not about the risk of a recall – it’s the harsh reality that any trace exposure can be lethal and put someone in the hospital,” says Mike Haney, director of product development, WG Pro-Manufacturing. “As a peanut- and tree nut-free facility, it’s our responsibility to eliminate any exposure and show exactly where the true liability lies.”
Accurate, real-time data that tracks ingredients from their arrival at WG’s loading dock to their exit as cookies, tub dough and brownies is crucial to precise traceability and true peace-of-mind. At WG, HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and BRC (British Retail Council) certification have always been a given. And although many organizations and their auditors readily accept WG and other manufacturers’ paper-based recordkeeping systems, there are notable exceptions.
For example, a multinational cereal and snack maker wanted to work with the bakery on new product development. However, WG’s traditional paper-based Quality Assurance system did not meet their standards. WG had just three months to implement a batch control and inventory management platform to close the sale.
"Accurate, real-time traceability at an incredibly granular level is a must-have for clients of a certain size and caliber."
Director of Product Development, WG Pro-Manufacturing
Traceability Triples Sales & Wins New Customers
Together WG and Mar-Kov met that deadline. The platform’s traceability helped WG triple sales and sign new customers such as big box retailers, schools and multinational food and cannabis edible manufacturers.
“Accurate, real-time traceability at an incredibly granular level is a must-have for clients of a certain size and caliber,” says Mike.
Because of Mar-Kov’s extensive work with the pharmaceutical sector’s rigorous traceability requirements, the platform provides a time-stamped, unalterable transaction log. It details every user’s interaction with the platform as well as the product’s provenance. Mar-Kov also confirms WG has followed every standard operating procedure and good management practice.
“That’s why customers and auditors instantly trust what they see onscreen and find paper records less credible,” says Mike.
WG employees rely on Mar-Kov to be even better prepared for customer and third-party audits, which tend to go more quickly and smoothly. BRC and HACCP auditors are always impressed when companies like WG access documentation in minutes not hours. As an example, WG now completes
BRC’s traceability component in half an hour – not three hours!
“Auditor’s trust is a given with Mar-Kov, and real-life and practice audits are easier for employees,” says Mike. “No one likes audits, but with the right tools, we don’t dread them.“
Digital Tracking & Recordkeeping Facilitates Audits
Every step is tracked and recorded. When employees receive shipments, they verify the product, amount and manufacturers’ lot numbers that are entered into the system. Mar-Kov updates the inventory, closes the purchase order, assigns unique internal lot numbers to the items and generates bar-coded inventory labels.
When WG fills orders, Mar-Kov scales each batch according to the quantities required. Operators know precisely how much they need of every ingredient. When employees scan the barcodes, Mar-Kov confirms it’s the correct component for that recipe and checks the expiry and arrival date. As employees scan and weigh the ingredients, Mar-Kov constantly verifies the correct item and amount while updating the inventory.
Margins Up 10%, Costs Down 5%, 12-Month ROI
With Mar-Kov’s accurate historical data, Mike knew how much he bought from which suppliers at what price. This gave Mike the facts he needed to negotiate volumebased terms with a smaller, more manageable group of suppliers. Mike reduced material costs by 5%, and Mar-Kov replaced 1.5 administrative employees costing over $100,000 annually. As a result, the ROI was 12 months, and WG decreased its prices and won even more new clients. With accurate, real-time order and raw material inventory data, Mike reduced the stockpiled inventory by 50% to improve cash flow and reduce space requirements. Over time, WG also increased margins by 10%.
“I had to measure everything about the business to manage it,” says Mike. “Mar-Kov has the facts I need to hold individuals and their departments accountable. As a result, they’re doing their jobs better and contributing more in their fields of expertise.”
In a busy bakery with 120+ ingredients, Mar-Kov prevents errors, such as using salt instead of sugar, or regular chocolate chips in place of the vegan chocolate chips. Imprecise measurement or swapping identical-looking ingredients carries material, labour and quality costs because that batch will be scrapped.
“Batch to batch, our products are consistent because of Mar-Kov’s scanning, weighing and scaling, which are also good for the bottom line,” says Mike, who notes a mistake in a single batch can cost the company $2,000 and delay production and delivery.
Critical Needs Assessment & Personalized Support
The actual implementation went smoothly because Mar-Kov had thoroughly assessed WG’s needs and pre-configured the platform before the installation. WG also appreciated Mar-Kov’s personalized one-on-one training, how-to videos and ongoing, accessible support that eliminated the need to handle everything in-house or hire thirdparty consultants.
“Mar-Kov’s dedication and patience took us to the promised land,” says Mike. “It’s a massive platform and there is a learning curve, but it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had – Mar-Kov was always available and never made us feel foolish.”