The following interview is taken from Meat&Co (August).

Following the sale of the wholesaler operations at the end of 2012, the Sligro Food Group has focussed entirely on the development of the snack and salad production.
In addition to snacks, the family firm also produces salads, chilled sauces and spreads at the extremely well equipped factory in Boxtel and the production location of De Kroon Salads that was incorporated two years ago in Oudenbosch.
During the transformation from wholesalers with production to a purely production company, Van Oers deliberately opted for the standard software from ReflexSystems in Almere in 2014.
For many years, the Van Oers Group has been known for its assortment of oven snacks that are presented in heated display cases at petrol stations. These snacks have been specially developed to retain their crispy crust in heated display cases. This keep-warm concept has enabled the family firm from Boxtel to be the market leader in the Netherlands.

Salads for bread and toast
In 2015, the Van Oers Group were producing (deep-freeze) croquettes, ‘bitterbal’ snacks, hamburgers, meatballs, fried rice and noodle snacks for petrol stations, theme parks, holiday parks and cafeterias. However, they were also producing Russian salads, salads for bread and toast, chilled sauces and spreads for retail at both the factory in Boxtel and the production location of De Kroon Salads that was incorporated in Oudenbosch in 2013.
The Brabant kitchen at Boxtel is the location where new snacks and salad products are developed in close collaboration with the customers, which fully meet their requirements. The Van Oers Group has been working with De Vries Snacks from Dordrecht since last June.
Up to now, the third generation of Van Oers is active within the family firm. Win van Oers is part of the three-person management team.

A boost
Between 2001 and March 2014, Nico Ippel was Manager Planning & Logistics at PET bottle supplier PET Power BV in Etten-Leur. Since last April, Nico Ippel is Logistics Manager at the Van Oers Group.
“After a few months as new logistics manager, I took over the newly started automation project from the current project manager together with ReflexSystems from Almere. My aim was to give the somewhat delayed project a boost and undergo a change as far as automation was concerned from essentially ‘nothing’ to focussing on the standard ERP package from ReflexSystems. Previous to this, the Van Oers Group was focussed primarily on wholesale operations and the entire production plant used JDE software and registration lists in Excel. After our wholesale operations was sold to the Sligro Food Group in November 2012, we made a switch from being a wholesaler with production to a being purely a production company.”

Standard software
In June 2014, a project team was set up consisting of Nico Ippel and five other colleagues at Van Oers within the framework of the automation project in close cooperation with ReflexSystems.
“In addition to their own work, these colleagues have dedicated a lot of time and effort into this project and learned about the Reflex 3000 software based on the information provided by Edwin de Zwart a consultant at ReflexSystems. The starting point was that the new production organisation had to be built on the opportunities provided by this standard software package. The implementation of this required a cultural change. Our staff was not used to working with an automation system or adhering to the required procedures, processes and production steps.”

Comprehensive traceability
Between June and September 2014, the systematic implementation of the Reflex 3000 software and the accompanying Flex 3000 hardware took place. After an initial focus on the automation of the production control, the entire Boxtel production location was automated. Whether it concerns the registration of the incoming salad or meat raw materials, from specific production charges or from the snacks and salads prepared for transport in various packaging.

“The traceability of raw materials and final products is now guaranteed from A to Z,” emphasises Ippel. “This comprehensive traceability is important with regards to our salad deliveries to retailers such as Albert Heijn, Jumbo and Lidl. The Reflex 3000 software and the accompanying Flex 3000 hardware now ensure an efficient production planning and a proper control of all the production steps. This enables us to work more securely and efficiently in our production company and eradicate any problems in our processes. Of course, the automation is based on broad support provided by staff and fortunately, partly due to the contributions by the project team, this is indeed the case. A few weeks ago, the Reflex 3000 software went live at the production location in Oudenbosch. The information about this software package provided by consultant Edwin de Zwart has been received and documented so well by our project team that they have taken on the implementation themselves.”

Further improvements
Now that the Van Oers Group has established a stable production structure in Boxtel and Oudenbosch thanks to the ReflexSystems’ standard software and hardware, the Brabant family firm will consider which benefits can further be drawn from this.
“This second phase will be partly about giving shape to ideas that will ensure further production improvements within the company within the realms of the standard software. The data arising from Reflex 3000 will take us as producer to a higher level.”