IRISH DAIRY INDUSTRY IS THE CREAM OF CROP
Irish food has long been synonymous with quality and the dairy industry is renowned worldwide as being second to none. So, it isn’t surprising that the technology designed to complement our top-class produce is also in a league of its own.
Based in Co Cork, SoftTrace provides software solutions which have been created to enhance efficiency in the global manufacturing space, with clients from all the major industry brands and co-ops across the island of Ireland, as well as some in the UK and the US.
Having been in business for two decades, the industry leaders take pride in the fact that they are still providing a faultless service to customers who have been using their products since the company began.
Of course, things have developed and evolved considerably in the past 20 years and SoftTrace technology has grown to cater for the ever-changing needs of its clients.
Anthony Connolly, SoftTrace CEO, says the fact that they are so invested in each and every one of their clients, is one of the biggest factors in the loyalty they enjoy in return.
“With SoftTrace, it’s not a case of putting in a software solution and walking away – we have an excellent customer care team and follow through with support for whatever clients need, throughout the lifecycle of the software design and implantation,” he said. “We are well respected in Ireland, the US, and the UK. In fact, one of our clients, Volac, which has several locations in Britain and one in Ireland, has found our systems so impressive that they have asked us to design and implement an agreed figures payment system for the control of approved supplier quality. We have successfully implemented the system and Volac now wish to roll it out to additional supplier.
“They started using our software because initially they wanted to have more control of their bulk liquid supplies coming on to site – and the SoftTrace technology can interface with the Weighbridge scales and capture all the data from the bulk liquid delivery – which is being weighed – do a quality analysis and reconcile that information together in real time.”
In addition to this, SoftTrace can identify the exact quantity and quality of the product which is coming in for payment – a feature which is very valuable to clients.
“If a client is bringing whey across the weighbridge which will be used in the production, the percentage composition of protein, fat, total solids in the bulk liquid is where the money is made or lost,” said Connolly. “Our technology reconciles the planned volume and content against the actual volume and content, so the client pays for what they actually receive rather than what they expected to receive.
“There are many benefits to using this type of technology – including cost, process efficiencies, quality control and speed – and SoftTrace captures all of this smart data and brings it to one visible transparent system, generating reports so clients can have the necessary information at the touch of a button.”
While SoftTrace captures everything in real time and follows it thorough the process until the final destination, they are not alone in this market space – but Connolly says they have the edge over their competitors.
“We know dairy very well and are very good on precision; capturing the precise volume at the end of the day, so the reconciliation is exact,” he said. “We go through a prolonged process to ensure the customer gets the best from our service. We listen to what they have to say and find out what they need to get out of the service before going through their user requirements – and if there is anything they want to add, then we design and develop the functionality to their specification.
“Ultimately, we want to make sure we give them exactly what they need – a user friendly, cost-effective smart software solution that provides visibility and transparency through every step of the manufacturing process.”
This is true for companies like Volac, who has been a customer of SoftTrace since 2016 and during that time, its software solutions has enabled the UK firm to reduce labour costs associated with manual data entry and improve the efficiency of their system. It has also seen an enhancement on the quality control of raw materials entering the plant and eliminating the challenges associated with agreed figures.
“We have a highly trained customer care team so there is never a situation where a system goes down and there is no-one to deal with it, so we have never left a customer high and dry,” said Connolly. “We have a proven track record with existing customers, both at home and abroad, along with a wealth of experience, knowledge, and expertise.”
Mark Large, Head of Business Systems Volac International Ltd, agrees:
“The solution SoftTrace implemented into our plant, enables us to eliminate incidents of human error and ensure a smoother and more efficient process at intake level,” he said. “The use of digital data entry has enabled us to have full visibility and control on agreed figures and payments, avoiding unnecessary waste, and ensuring issues regarding quality are addressed at the time of intake.
“Overall, these solutions have created many benefits including visibility, traceability and a more cost-effective manufacturing process.”