Good Foods is a leader in the fresh ready-to-eat (RTE) product market. An early adopter of high pressure processing (HPP), Good Foods has developed an extensive line of clean label offerings, including guacamole, dairy dips, protein salads, cold pressed juices, plant-based dips, and plant-based dressings.
HPP has been revolutionary for advancing food safety and quality. But, because it’s done in a batch process, it can also create inefficiencies. “The most significant bottleneck within the processing step is the HPP machine,” said Josh Kosmala, Good Foods’ Senior Director of Operations. “The line is paced at the cycle time with which the HPP machine dispenses product.” That, plus the fact that products coming out of the HPP machine are packed by hand, meant that pallets of work in progress (WIP) would quickly start to accumulate. “It created challenges across the board, including heavily saturated manual labor, sandbagged margins, and inefficiencies in timing.”
To enable more effective and efficient pack-off, Good Foods installed a Garvey Infinity Accumulation System as part of an automation solution. “We sought Garvey’s help to strategically accumulate and align various products coming off of our HPP to enable us to pack off more effectively and efficiently,” Kosmala said.
A strategic partnership with trusted vendors
The goal of automation was twofold. First, Good Foods wanted to increase the efficiency of their packoff process so that they didn’t have so many pallets of WIP waiting to be finished. In addition, they wanted to decrease their labor footprint.
“The Garvey team came in and assessed what was going on, ran some numbers based on theoretical run rates, and designed a system to help us reach our goals,” Kosmala said. The full solution comprised a Garvey accumulation table and conveyors, followed by an X-ray machine and an automated capper system supplied by other vendors. “The accumulation equipment was the first step in the process, and then we layered the others in behind it.”
As that first step, Garvey took the lead in interfacing with the other two vendors to design an appropriate solution. They also collaborated with the other vendors to answer questions, validate information, and ensure the CAD drawings were up to spec.
“As an engineering team, we went back to the drawing board a couple of times. These discussions showcased Garvey’s commitment to putting the customer first.” ~Josh Kosmala, Good Foods’ Senior Director of Operations
A focus on food safety
Food safety is a top-of-mind issue for all food manufacturers today. So, it’s crucial that the equipment suppliers they partner with have a solid understanding of hygienic design.
“In this ever-changing world, safety continues to be a high-priority focus not only for regulatory agencies and processors, but for customers as well,” Kosmala said. “Garvey equipment has minimal contact points and is easy to clean. These features help us achieve high safety standards.”
“As we were speccing out the equipment, it was clear that the Garvey team has food safety in mind.” ~Josh Kosmala, Good Foods’ Senior Director of Operations
Increased efficiency and decreased labor costs
The results of implementing Garvey’s solution were immediate and impressive. “We’ve been able to increase efficiency by about 30% in pounds per man-hour coming off the backside of the line,” Kosmala said. “We also decreased our direct labor footprint. On a weekly basis, we’ve shaved off about 1,000 hours in direct labor costs associated with the packoff process.”
Those weren’t the only benefits. The solution helped Good Foods save money on materials as well. “From a material handling standpoint, when product was going into WIP, it was being double- or triple-handled, potentially compromising the seal integrity,” Kosmala explained. “The automation solution has allowed us to save money by minimizing the material cost variance within our job packets.”
“The engineering solution Garvey designed has worked well for us since installation. The project went off without a hitch.” ~Josh Kosmala, Good Foods’ Senior Director of Operations