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INDUSTRY FOCUS FOOD & BEVERAGE THE TRUE SPIRIT OF IMPROVED DATA ACCESSIBILITY


Rapid expansion at whisky company Ian Macleod meant its disparate software systems were no longer adequate. A Tropos ERP system from Epicor now provides end-to-end data processing


A


strong history of organic growth and acquisitions has transformed Ian


Macleod from a minor whisky company to a large scale distiller, blender, bottler, distributor, seller, and marketer of whisky and gin. This rapid evolution needed the support of an enterprise software system, so Ian Macleod opted for the Epicor Tropos enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, as it offered the control and visibility the company required to manage all operations in one system. Established in 1933 as a small whisky


broker, the family-run firm has expanded its range of top quality brands. Since 2003, the company has acquired Glengoyne, Tamdhu, Edinburgh Gin, and – most recently – Rosebank. As well as being a whisky producer, the


company owns a 50-per cent stake in Broxburn Bottlers. This joint venture – combined with the distilleries and warehouses – completes an end-to-end production capability that required a fully integrated ERP system. Mike Younger, finance director for Ian


Macleod, was involved in the decision to replace the previous systems. He said: “Our software platform was 20 years old, and its limitations were clear. The bespoke system was designed with built-in assumptions that were being stretched beyond their original remit and capabilities.” Ian Macleod had evolved from serving


the private label needs of single customers requiring single products to a branded business with many customers purchasing multiple products. This placed large demands on the old system. The key problem was data accessibility –


and the inability to combine the activities of Ian Macleod and Broxburn Bottlers. Younger explained: “Passing and collating the information from separate modules in the old system was an inaccurate and complicated process. The company needed overall transparency. The reports from each module were hard to manipulate and were not absolutely in step.” Younger says the success of the project


is due to the end-to-end implementation of Tropos: “We include the maturing of whisky, purchasing, manufacturing, and selling of finished goods entirely in Tropos. From the moment we take it off the still to the moment we get the pound


SPLIT-BEAM X-RAY INSPECTION GUARANTEES YOGHURT INTEGRITY


French company Ferme des Peupliers, which produces artisan dairy products, is using a new, split beam x- ray inspection system from Mettler-Toledo to guarantee the integrity of its yoghurts and milk-based desserts. In a strategic move to consolidate their quality assurance policy, the company's managerial team chose the x-ray inspection solution to meet their production constraints. “We based our strategic decision on the experience of other businesses and our desire to guarantee our


products' integrity while preserving our traditional production methods,” says Edouard Chedru, co-manager of Ferme des Peupliers. With a range of over 40 yoghurts in glass jars and two filling sizes (125 grams and 180 grams), the


challenge was to find an inspection solution for the single production line that would efficiently detect contaminants – such as glass and metal fragments – in still-liquid yoghurt products, some having a fruit layer. Use of a standard metal detector was not possible due to product humidity and the density of the glass packaging in combination with an aluminum seal. After a consultation period, Ferme des Peupliers decided to install an X3730 system. The x-ray


inspection system, which is not affected by changes in temperature, features twin horizontal beams and allows physical contaminant detection - including glass fragments in the glass jar - as well as visual quality checks of the yoghurt fill level. The split-beam x-ray solution increases detection sensitivity by imaging every glass jar twice in one


pass. As each package is inspected from two different angles, blind spots are minimised and physical contaminants can be detected in any position, (even in the bottom on the jar). The system currently checks 150 (125g) jars per minute, or 120 (180g) jars per minute. The inspection solution also checks the yoghurt filling level, which guarantees conformity by visual


analysis in the absence of standardised weighing. Mettler-Toledo


36 JULY/AUGUST 2019 | PROCESS & CONTROL www.mt.com/pi


Epicor is an established provider of supply chain solutions to the food and drink sector, and Tropos delivers modules specifically designed for the whisky industry


in from the customer, it’s all processed through Tropos.” A key requirement when looking for a


vendor was compatibility with the spirit industry. Epicor is an established provider of supply chain solutions to the food and drink sector, and Tropos delivers modules specifically designed for the whisky industry. For example, the Whisky Workbench module allows Ian Macleod to accurately track and monitor the complex area of its maturing stock of casks alongside the blending operations. Younger explained: “Tropos is all-


encompassing. It treats Ian Macleod and Broxburn Bottlers as one operational unit whilst successfully reporting the separate legal entities. Implementing the Whisky Workbench means that processing within the complex blending operations is always accurate. It’s impressive how it fits into our complex business and operational structure.” Younger highlights how Tropos can deal


with the “trickier” aspects of handling maturing whisky. Tropos caters for blending operations and the duty state – bonded/duty paid – of items in a predictable and accurate manner. He said: “The system handles maturation losses – the angels’ share – and blending losses without an associated cost reduction. In other systems where you have a quantity loss, you normally have a value loss.” The deep integration between Tropos,


Qlik- Sense, and CODA-XL has proved invaluable to Younger. He has configured reports and dashboards that provide insight into the Ian Macleod business, and he can easily compile an accurate and comprehensive set of management accounts. These are all produced in Microsoft Excel using CODA’s Excel integration tool—CODA-XL. The overall solution is robust, reliable,


and adaptable. The company has experienced exponential growth since the original Tropos implementation. A growth that, in Younger’s opinion, is a consequence of their actions and not the objective. He explained, “We have simply got better at what we are doing. If you do things right, your business grows. But our growth wouldn’t have happened if we had been struggling with data integrity. Tropos ensures that is never the case.” He concluded: “Since we implemented


Tropos, it has delivered exactly what we expected of it. It is a steady, easy-to- use, and robust system which is now as accepted as the water coming out of the tap. There is no better product fit for our sector.”


Epicor www.epicor.com


/ PROCESS&CONTROL


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