A purpose-built facility can have a phenomenal impact on the ability to manage efficiency and quality.
Manufacturer of dessert and beverage bases, Frosty Boy Australia, makes the equivalent of two million serves of soft serve ice cream daily for the domestic and international market, with capacity sitting at a mere 60 percent.
"We outgrew our previous location last year and moved into our purpose built facility in Yatala," says Dirk Pretorius, CEO, Frosty Boy.
"When we designed this facility we had the advantage of sitting down and looking at the issues that we had in previous facilities and saying 'how can we do it better?'"
"The main advantage for us here is the flow through the facility. We were able to say 'where do we want the production plants in relation to raw material and finished goods and what's going to work best for us?"
Frosty Boy has a strong focus on efficiency, driven by a business plan to service both big and small customers.
"We intend to do small batches because we want to help our customers when they're small and help them grow until they are large. To do that, we calculate our efficiencies daily and report daily on what we call an OEE program. We split our time in the plant between planned downtime and unplanned downtime and we measure both of those to see how efficient we are," Pretorius says.
"We want to know for every two minutes that the plant has been standing, what the reason was for that. The guys record it on the floor through codes and then we can analyse it and say this piece of equipment or that piece of equipment that is causing us the issue on the line and if we spend money on it, replace it or we do some more training, we can eliminate that, so it's a constant process of bettering."
Frosty Boy's manufacturing process is now entirely computer controlled, from the measurement of raw material, through to the latest robotic technology used for packing, wrapping and palletising.
"What we use here is a system where ingredients are all barcoded as it comes in through our ERP system called Sanderson. Sanderson will then tell the guys which raw materials to fetch, and where to fetch it in our warehouse. They scan that barcode into the production system and from that point onward; it's recorded as part of the batch. The barcode is used to basically start the system so that they can activate the scales and work through it, so if they fetch the wrong carton, or the wrong flavour, the process won't start. It's all these things that you bolt on to make sure that you have consistency in your product," he says.
"In the main batching plant, for instance if one of the raw materials are short, so let's say you wanted 100kg and it only received 80kg, an alarm will go off and the plant will stop until it gets that 20kg to proceed to the next ingredient.
"So then you know where you've caused this downtime, or where have we slipped up¬and you've got to work out what went wrong and how to then rectify that so it doesn't happen again."
The strict manufacturing process at Frosty Boy is all in pursuit of quality.
"Quality starts with buying your raw materials," Pretorius says.
Frosty Boy's recipe for quality starts with making sure all their suppliers are audited and certified for the process that they need.
"From that point onwards, it's controlling the recipe, to make sure that everything is that you blend is the same every time," Pretorius says.
Frosty Boy has experienced an 18 per cent year-upon-year average increase in sales over the past 14 years and is now exporting to 48 countries.