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Meet Christopher Marks, ERP manager at OWS Foods (OWS), a premium foods manufacturer that develops and makes sauces, rubs, blended seasonings, dressings, baking mixes, and more. OWS has been a Plex customer since 2015 with three facilities using the smart manufacturing platform.
“We run operational implementations, change management, and integrations of acquisitions into our ERP systems for full traceability,” Christopher says.
OWS acquired Head Country Bar-B-Q, a maker of barbecue sauces in 2021. The acquisition brought together the two manufacturers’ complementary dry and wet capabilities and products.
“With dry manufacturing we use a split-by-batch operation from our individual control panels with non-fixed sizes, meaning operators can vary the product sizes they pull,” Christopher explains. “With our wet facility, we have more of a fixed batch size, meaning we can schedule individual batches. We can go from 5 to 50 batches, all with a fixed set so we can scale our operation and the product effectively.”
Christopher and his team have taken advantage of Plex’s wide range of solutions to integrate the manufacturing operations.
“Plex is part of our enterprise PCN (process control network) structure and has done a great job of providing a holistic view of our business from accounting to raw materials, to quality, to SPC check sheets and EDI,” Christopher says. “That structure gives us the ability to bolt on an additional manufacturing facility.”
OWS was able to get the newly acquired facility fully operational within 6 months, including launching batch and lot management tools.
“We’ve been fully traceable, from the raw material through finished goods, since January 1,” Christopher says. “The biggest benefits have been the total lot traceability throughout the system and the total productivity, efficiencies, and scaling capabilities with the batch management.”
He also notes they’ve had “great user adoption” because of the front-end work they did with batch management and how they utilized system. Christopher says little has changed for the operators.
“It’s a similar infrastructure where they're still picking and pulling based on what the system is telling them. But batch management is more about a scheduling optimization than it is picking optimization. The more we can schedule, the more efficiently we can run the lines.”
He says it “was an easy choice” to use Plex solutions for the acquired facility and “to add one more piece of software underneath our Plex umbrella. It’s worked out great for us.”