Crescent finds profits and growth in the clouds
Contract packaging provider gains more visibility into efficiency and costing with Nulogy solutions
Watch the video above or click here to learn more on Crescent's success story with Nulogy.
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Picture this. You’re in charge of operations and quality control at a leading U.S. contract packaging and supply chain service provider. Business is good. Your company is growing and profitable. Yet you can’t shake the feeling that you could grow even faster if only you could get a better handle on your processes and costing.
Through an industry association, your Vice President of IT hears about a new software solution that promises to give you better visibility into your production cycle, eliminate paper-based processes and improve quality control. Do you take the plunge and implement the new solution?
For Crescent, a West Chester, Ohio-based contract packager, the answer was yes. Four years since implementing Nulogy’s PackManager, software designed specifically for the contract packaging industry, Crescent has grown significantly in both revenues and profitability.
Crescent isn’t a household name, but many of the brands the contract packaging and supply chain service provider works with are – Hershey, Campbell’s and L’Oreal are some examples. Crescent receives goods from its brand partners, packages the merchandise into retail packaging displays and ships the finished products to distribution centers or to retailers directly.
The process sounds simple enough, but in reality it’s very complex. With multiple customers in different industries, each touting multiple product lines, each packaging job that comes into Crescent needs to be quoted, planned, produced and shipped according to specs. Products need to be traceable so inventory can be tracked throughout the supply chain. With multiple brands, product lines and retailers, there’s a lot of juggling involved.
Until 2011, Crescent managed production across its six U.S. sites with an in-house system. “It did the job for us, but we knew it wasn’t giving us all the visibility throughout the packaging process that we wanted,” says Brad Daubenmire, Director of Quality and Process Improvement with Crescent.
Crescent’s Vice President of IT had heard from F4SS, an industry organization, about a new cloud-based solution, built by Nulogy. He was intrigued and arranged a meeting with Nulogy. Crescent’s executive team liked what they heard and invited Nulogy down to Crescent’s plant in West Chester.
“They saw what we were doing in terms of our processes and set us up with PackManager,” Daubenmire says. “We did a product review and really liked what we saw. It’s a solution that’s built specifically for our industry and ensured we could meet all our regulatory requirements.”
Shedding light on tracing product and tracking labor costs
PackManager gave Crescent much better visibility into its production cycle – more production line-level control, pallet-level inventory tracking and detailed tracking of labor hours and efficiency. It also gave Crescent superior product traceability.
“Traceability is big for us,” Daubenmire explains. “We need to be able to know where we’ve used the products by day-code through the receiving and production process. It’s a critical part of all our food safety initiatives. Whenever we’re audited by regulatory agencies or for third-party certifications, that’s one of the key things they look for: our ability to execute that traceability process.”
PackManager also helped Crescent get a better handle on its document control.
“With PackManager, you have a PC on each production line and the ability to maintain current specs against the finished good items,” Daubenmire notes. “We used to have paper spec sheets that we put together for each item before we ran the line. So if there were changes – and there were always changes – you had to track down all the paper spec sheets, change them in the system and then re-issue the sheets. Now it’s a lot easier to ensure all the lines have the most recent data – specs, drawings, renderings, assembly instructions – everything. That’s a huge improvement over our old system.”
Keeping expenses under control is key for Crescent. With 475 full-time employees and 1,000 or more temporary employees at work each day, the company needs to have a firm grasp on how much labor is required to be on-hand for available jobs. In the past, figuring that out could be tricky. With PackManager in place though, matching labor to incoming jobs is a breeze.
“We’re more aware of where our costs are,” Daubenmire says. “PackManager can tell us how much direct labor we have on hand and how much temporary labor we’re going to need. Labor’s by far our biggest expense and having a good handle on it drives down costs, improves our profitability and ultimately helps us bring in new business and grow.”
One system to rule them all
Quality control is also a high priority for Crescent. In addition to PackManager, the company implemented Nulogy’s QCloud solution. Crescent had been handling quality control largely through paper documents. Those documents also went through multiple versions as new inspection standards were issued and required Crescent to ensure its quality control (QC) people all had the newest documents.
“Most of our QCloud inspection sheets are into the teens as far as revision numbers in just a couple of years,” Daubenmire notes. “If we had to do all those revisions on paper, it would be a lot more difficult to manage. With QCloud, you can just update the revision number and push it live on production and that’s the version available for the QC auditors to use. And because it’s a cloud-based system, the latest version goes to all our sites in real-time.”
The cloud also helps Crescent compare and contrast production at its various sites. Since the core workflows are the same for all sites, it’s easy to compare different sites to find out what’s working, what isn’t, and make improvements.
Over the years, Daubenmire has noticed more and more of his customers talking about PackManager. Some talk about working with other contract packagers who use it. Others go as far as to make using PackManager a requirement for their suppliers.“For us, contract packaging is our core growth business,” he says. “And at the heart of that business is PackManager. It’s helped us improve our business and it’s the platform we’ll be using to grow our company going forward.”
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Want to learn more about our PackManager contract packaging solution? Connect with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 1 888 685 6491 to talk to a PackManager expert.
Watch the video to learn more on Crescent's success story with Nulogy.