medatech-cream-potsIn 1890, great-great-grandmother, Eliza Jane, started baking Cornish clotted cream in her farmhouse kitchen in Scorrier, Cornwall. Rodda’s has since become an iconic Cornish brand and still makes clotted cream as it did all those years ago. The firm only ever uses milk from Cornish farms based within 30 miles of their creamery in Redruth and the business now produces 220 million servings of clotted cream a year, and exports  to restaurants, cafes and hotels across the globe. Throughout their 125-year history, family values have remained at the heart of the business.

Today, Rodda’s are the market leader in a range of premier Cornish cream products that include Cornish clotted cream, farmhouse butter, custard, crème fraiche, pouring cream and milk. Their Cornish clotted cream has been awarded the European PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) which is designed to protect traditional, regional foods against imitation and guarantees the ingredients (milk) are 100% Cornish.  In  March 2016 Rodda’s were awarded a double A standard from the BRC (British Retail Consortium) Quality Assurance auditors. The highest level of QA accreditation.

Rodda’s have a wide ranging customer base that include major supermarket chains, West Country retail outlets and cafes, hotels, chefs, the Wimbledon Grand Slam championship, as well as many overseas customers. Orders from this wide customer base are received by a number of intake methods including EDI, Telesales, customer calls and an online shop with the majority of customers requiring delivery the following day. The traditional ‘cream by post’ is still popular with retail customers.

The Issues

Rodda’s previously used a number of packages for financial control, fleet and inventory and an in house developed production planning system using Lotus Approach. To service the needs of the varied customer base with fresh food products requires a responsive production planning and logistics system. A number of issues were recognised as needing attention to enable the company to expand and move the business forward:

The existing Production Planning systems based on a Lotus Approach database had become time consuming to maintain with support for Approach  being withdrawn.

Financial systems were not integrated with other platforms and also needed upgrading.

Different departments had bespoke databases and minimal data was integrated across the organisation.

Significant seasonal variations in demand, major events like Wimbledon and unplanned supermarket promotions were placing a major strain on existing planning systems.

Our Solution

Medatech provided a complete Priority ERP solution to cover all areas of the Rodda’s business, integrating their departments within one single database. The solution consisted of the full Manufacturing suite including integrated CRM and Financial modules. Several parts of Priority were developed or customised to support efficient telesales ordering, EDI orders and fleet maintenance. Integrated hand held shop floor data collection (SFDC) was deployed for inventory picking onto delivery vehicles whilst PDA’s were deployed to van drivers to inform them of their actual deliveries and to print delivery notes and invoices. A full production forecasting and planning module, again integrated within Priority MRP and Purchase Planning was developed to model short and medium term forecasts prior to releasing the daily production plan to manufacturing. Rodda’s systems administration also used Priority’s user tools to customise forms and menus to the needs of individual staff while the Priority BPM tools were used to enforce formalised information flows and to trigger alerts via Priority’s email to relevant managers.

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The Results

The implementation of Priority has now provided:

A single integrated database for business data so that all departments now have access to a single source of live data. As Telesales, EDI and telephone orders arrive, planning can assess the impact on their anticipated production plan. As the packing department report the completion of work orders into the warehouse, stock availability and potential shortages can be monitored and addressed. As SFDC terminals pick goods for the following day’s delivery, available inventory is immediately updated. As delivery vans return, PDA’s update the shipped goods with actual deliveries and invoices provided to the customers.

Reduction in inventory levels in packaging have been achieved by more accurately forecasting future production needs and to better plan seasonal changes in packaging design. The MRP planning parameters have also enabled reordering to be phased in line with economic quantities from European suppliers.

Flexible production planning is enabling planners to fine tune final product configurations throughout the day to make best use of the milk as it arrives. MRP is often run twice a day to convert new demand from the telesales team into work orders for production and final packing.

A flexible user interface has enabled Rodda’s to deploy the most appropriate terminal devices to various areas. So whilst many staff use a traditional PC’s,tablets are used in the warehouse to record inventory checks, ruggedised touchscreen terminals in production areas subject to daily wash downs and hand held barcode scanners for picking and checking.

Integrated documentation scanning is another module from Medatech that has enabled Rodda’s to scan in customer signed delivery notes  which are automatically attached to the correct shipping transaction and are available online for proof of delivery. The ability to open an attached signed delivery note from the customer’s shipping transaction has increased the efficiency and professionalism of departments involved in all aspects of CRM.

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Integration of Finance with all other areas of business data has improved efficiency and is helping to assess the real cost of production and fleet management. Our auto-email module has also reduced the time necessary to prepare and send (by email) statements and other financial documents to customers.

Customised report development by in house IT staff has enabled specific user needs like a daily packing sheet and delivery notes containing product quality assurance test results to be created without the constant need for Medatech help. Medatech provided the necessary development training on the open application software of Priority which allows users to copy and modify existing reports to specific needs.

Future Proofing

After two and half years of operation Rodda’s decided to upgrade by two versions to version 17 that offered the alternative of a modern web based Rich interface. The upgrade did not require a redevelopment of any customised software, first tested by Rodda’s on a test server, then deployed onto their live server during a restricted time slot during a weekend. Medatech assisted in project managing the upgrade and provided on site resource for the live upgrade to ensure the business could reopen during Sunday.

The Future?

Rodda’s have a track record of introducing new ways of working to improve their business efficiency whilst also improving their contribution to the green economy and the health and well being of their workers. The strategic information provided by Priority is helping the management board to assess the benefits of new capital projects and to model the impact from the introduction of new product lines or manufacturing methods.

The ability to promptly provide a full product traceability audit trail for a randomly selected product was key to Rodda’s recently achieving the highest level of QA accreditation.  The increased confidence in the accuracy and detail of Priority’s inventory and quality control data has inspired Rodda’s to embark on a traceability project to replace their current paper based records. This project will further improve the efficiency of Rodda’s traceability system and provide QA feedback to shop floor staff.

2015 marked the 125th anniversary of Rodda’s and Medatech are proud to be part of the solution that planned and executed the introduction of anniversary packaging and gave first class customer service.

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