There are big things happening in the town of Ellsworth. Known to many as the “Cheese Curd Capital” Ellsworth is home to one of the nation’s premier dairy cooperatives. This Wisconsin based operation is the home to over 400 dairy farms scattered across the state and neighboring areas, operating two facilities that produce a variety of cheese and whey powder. Their main facility in Ellsworth, is dedicated almost entirely to their world famous cheese curd production – something that has spawned their own community “Cheese Curd Festival,” bringing in cheese enthusiasts across the Midwest.
Their other facility located in Comstock, Wisconsin focuses on smaller artisan batches with over 80 different varieties produced, which are marketed and sold under a variety of brands. These cheeses include their award winning Red Muenster, Wisconsin Brick Cheese, and Hot Pepper Jack varieties. Consumers are likely to find Comstock cheeses under a variety of brands: Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery, Blaser’s, Antonella, and Ellsworth Valley are some of the more widely distributed names.
Demand for their products has created a continual growth pattern for the cooperative – something that is evident in their purchase of Comstock several years ago, and the constant pattern of construction at their main location. The growth the cooperative has experienced over the most recent 10 year period has changed the way they run their operation, as processing roughly 2 million pounds of milk a day has increased their need for efficiency and accuracy.
Through a combination of process changes and technological projects, the cooperative has seen gains in product visibility, tracking, costing and various other improvements. They’ve been able to streamline processes in areas while still continuing their day to day production. As anyone who has been through a software implementation will tell you, the process wasn’t always easy, but it was worth it.
“We wouldn’t have been able to grow the way we did with our previous software solution. Our relationship with DSI has helped us get a clearer picture on our operations and procedures both here in Ellsworth, and at our Comstock location.” Paul Bauer, CEO Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery
Ellsworth’s growth over this time period has increased pressure on doing things more efficiently. Their operations are moving so quickly to produce their famous cheese curds and other products that often milk that is unloaded from a delivery can be in a cheese vat in an hour or less. The need for speed and accuracy has been met by tying their DSI ERP system to plant equipment including scales, labeling, and their usage of DSI’s barcoding system.
This integrated data collection replaced a variety of spreadsheets and hand written production notes to create a more succinct system, freeing up employees to concentrate on producing quality product, rather than spending time logging information or keying information into a computer. It has also given management more visibility from a higher level with respect to inventory, production and costing information.
“We’ve had a great relationship with the group at Ellsworth over the last 10 years. It is amazing to see the transformation they’ve gone through as they’ve expanded and continued to grow the cooperative. We’re proud to be a small piece of the puzzle up there and look forward to working with them over the next 10 years.”
Ryan Mertes, President Data Specialists Inc. (DSI)
Real Time Traceability Throughout Your Plant
DSI's manufacturing software modules are designed to follow the dairy manufacturing process from customer orders, scheduling, making product, through storage and distribution. The system accounts for all steps of traceability throughout the manufacturing process and is designed with dairy concepts in mind. The system tracks component level values throughout the entire process, allowing for shrink and costing accuracy not seen in other systems.
Save Time, Eliminate Errors
DSI’s Order Entry module is designed to save your team time and reduce errors. Your order takers can enter information more accurately, helping deliver orders with accurate, timely information. It allows users to copy old orders to increase speed on repeat orders, and view order history directly on the order entry screen.
Schedule Production, Raw Material Orders, and Manage Upcoming Demand
The Production Scheduling application is aimed at plant managers and purchasing agents trying to get a better handle on when demand for raw materials and salable items is going to require action and how that demand should be fulfilled. Based on user criteria, Production Scheduling calculates demand for each item and taking into account several factors such as on hand inventory, transit stock, expected receipts, and safety stock. This can be setup to conform to a variety of business models including make to stock, make to order, and hybrid production models.
Real Time Production Data Provides Smarter Business Decisions
The Production Control module is designed to fit the needs of the dairy and food industries by delivering real time production data, activity based costing and record components at all levels. This module gives management total recall and traceability at a moments notice anywhere in the plant when integrated to the floor systems. Real time data provides management the reporting it needs to make sound business decision at all stages throughout the plant.
Providing Valuable Detailed Sales Reporting
The Sales Analysis application provides various reports detailing sales history information. This system provides the user with sales and cost data, and gross margin and gross margin percent of profit for selected sales data. The information can be selected by date ranges, territories, items, and/or sales categories. Information can be presented in detail or user specified summary formats. Every line item of every invoice is available to this application to get your management team the data they need in a quick concise format.
Costing that Provides Detail Reporting and Accurate Cost of Goods
The dairy industry can offer unique challenges when costing components throughout the plant. Actual Costing helps you calculate raw materials, production, shrink, labor rates and figuring WIP from production runs through finished goods. This module gives you the reports necessary to calculate real product margins and how it will affect the bottom line, and will provide the most accurate dairy costing information available in a software system.
An Inventory System with Integrated Lab Features Aimed at Dairy
DSI’s, Inventory Management System is designed to make tracking and shipping your finished product easier, more efficient, and less time consuming. As production rolls off the line, inventory is created and tracked to a location within the warehouse. The integrated Lab System allows easy access for the lab to move product onto QA holds, and lab results can be seen on individual products. This system can be used with DSI's MobileDSI Wireless Barcoding system, for increased accuracy and control of your warehouse personnel.
Take Control of your Distribution to Reduce Shipping Errors
The goal of DSI's Distribution Management System is to ensure the highest possible level of customer service. Distribution Management provides for the recording of customer quotations and orders, as well as debit and credit memos. The system validates and supports bill-to, ship-to, terms, promotions, allowances, and virtually unlimited pricing schemes including random weights. DSI's Lab system is integrated into this to make sure you are shipping product that meets the customers requirements, ensuring quality product arrives to your customer's door.
DairyTracker Offers Wireless Warehouse Management and Production
DairyTracker is a wireless barcode solution that extends DSI’s software to handhelds in the plant. This system can handle anything from creating production to picking and shipping, in a durable, reliable mobile device. The handhelds provide the ability for pickers and forklift drivers to work more efficiently and more accurately by validating orders and giving instruction on the loading of trucks. DairyTracker also has the ability to generate shipping paperwork such as bills of lading and certificates of analysis right at the dock from a handheld device.
DSI's Systems Allow for a Wide Range of EDI Transactions
Offering fast, economical exchange of documents and information, Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is a core business process for an increasing number of companies. Our systems are compliant with many forms of EDI transactions including invoicing, ordering, order acknowledgements, and other functions.