Reducing the impact of variation for consistent quality

De Graafstroom is an independent dairy company that produces Gouda cheese in a region known as the ‘Green Heart’ of the Netherlands.

Overview

De Graafstroom is committed to producing high quality cheese with a perfectly balanced moisture, fat, protein and salt content. As the fundamental ingredient (milk) is a natural product, the variance in its characteristics must be proactively regulated right from the very start of production through to the end product.

De Graafstroom uses QIS as a company-wide resource to monitor production. Right from the very first step in the production process, information is continually gathered and analyzed in order to actively reduce the variances in subsequent stages. Firstly, QIS helps operators to manage the production process. The data enables them to take immediate action in response to the natural variance and react to other causes of variance inherent to any manufacturing process. Secondly, the large volumes of data in QIS are tremendously valuable after the production process. The analysis options provide the basis for further improvements in quality and productivity (Overall Equipment Effectiveness/OEE), and data relating to De Graafstroom’s CSR objective is also visible.

Since its implementation in 2004 De Graafstroom has stepped up its commitment to quality by fully integrating its ERP, MES and QIS information systems. QIS now plays a business-critical role in data collection, the supply of relevant real-time information for quality control purposes, and continuous improvement. All logistically relevant information is gathered from the production process in QIS and subsequently forwarded by QIS ProcessLink to Infor M3.

The Result

QIS supports the efficient manufacture of cheese with a reliable and consistently high quality. It significantly reduces the impact of downtime, waste and CO2 emissions. Nowadays, virtually all production processes are managed in QIS, allowing an integrated data flow between the MES, QIS and Infor M3. The result: efficiency and control.

“With QIS, information from the earliest production steps is used to actively reduce variation down the line. As milk is a natural product it comes with seasonal variation in its properties. QIS helps us respond to these variations and manufacture cheese with a consistent quality”
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