Griffith Foods

Griffith Foods wins 10% of production capacity with AI-driven scheduling tool

“The collaboration with Arinti is going well and the tool is working fine. That translates to a roll-out across all our sites. Currently, two other factories in Europe are already planned for the next test. Ultimately, all our 21 locations across the globe are planned.” Oscar Sluiter, Senior Director Global Supply Chain at Griffith Foods

An answer to our continuous growth

Griffith Foods produces all kinds of customized food products for their customers. Rising demand led to a search for innovative solutions and tools to boost production capacity. The cleaning of the production lines quickly came into view, says Oscar Sluiter, Senior Director Global Supply Chain at the company: “To guarantee the quality of each product and to ensure, for example, that there is no unwanted transfer of allergens, color, taste and other product properties take place, the lines have to be cleaned between the production batches. Absolutely necessary, but on average we lose about 165 production days per year, across all lines. the idea came to see if we could reduce the number of wet cleanings, because they are not needed between each batch. Sometimes a faster, dry cleaning is sufficient.”

Difficult parameters

It was decided to use algorithms to determine more accurately when cleaning with water and detergents was required. Arinti was called in to develop the algorithms, fine-tune them after several testing phases and develop the user interface. The Griffith Foods site in Herentals would become the home of this pilot project. “It was not an easy job,” Oscar Sluiter continues. “A number of iterations have been done to see what works best. We first started from a model that works based on allergens, odor, taste, color per recipe, among other things. Some of these parameters turned out to be difficult to quantify, so we switched to use the ingredient lists with data from our ERP system as a basis for the algorithms.”

Algorithms save time, water and detergents

Choosing to focus on the ingredients turned out to be the right way forward. After training the models and developing the front-end, the planners at Griffith Foods received a simple, useful tool that allowed them to optimize cleanings. They also use to tool to assess the impact on the rest of the planning when an urgent order has to be squeezed between the normal schedule. “It used to take many hours to calculate all cleanings for a day without compromising the quality of our products,” explains Oscar Sluiter. “Now that happens in a few minutes, it is more accurate and the planner gets a clear suggestion. As a result, we already have five percent fewer wet cleanings and we want to increase that to at least ten percent. We have already gained back 17 production days per year with the current version of the tool. In addition, this already saves us 1000 m³ of water every year and we use less detergents, which is great for the environment. That was also an important parameter for a successful project. ”

Fluent collaboration leads to international roll-out

Through a former collaboration with Crosspoint-sister company Kohera, Arinti came as a possible partner. The references of Arinti convinced Griffith Foods to work with them. “Arinti did not just dump a lot of technology into our organisation. They listened to our demands and developed a tool that works for us. Our planners find the tool easy to use. In addition, there is an app that helps our employees control which batches are produced on which machines and that we can use to change dependencies ourselves when databases change location. That the collaboration with Arinti and the tool they developed works great, translates to further roll-out plans for all our sites. Currently there are two other factories within Europe on our schedule for the next test. We’ll use their findings to improve the logic of the algorithms and to increase the time savings possible even further. Ultimately, all our 21 locations around the globe will be using this tool, “ concludes Sluiter.