CASE STUDY AINSWORTH PET NUTRITION

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1 CASE STUDY Ainsworth Pet Nutrition

2 CUSTOMER PROFILE Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, based in Meadville, PA, has been manufacturing and distributing pet food across the U.S. and Canada since America s oldest privately owned pet food company has been run by the Lang family for five generations, including the current CEO, Sean Lang. Ainsworth sells pet food to virtually every major retailer in the CPG market, including the brands Back to Basics, Enhance, VF Complete, The Source, Rachel Ray Nutrish, DAD s Pet Foods, the Better Than treat brands, and Kibble Select Complete. Ainsworth also manufactures private label products (in-store brands), and they do some copacking for other pet food companies through the Ainsworth Custom Division. Ainsworth employs more than 500 employees altogether at its head office, manufacturing facility and warehouses in Meadville, PA, a sales and marketing office in Sewickley, PA, and another manufacturing facility, more warehouses and an office in Dumas, Arkansas - the latter location since Ainsworth acquired Arkat Animal Nutrition in All manufacturing is done in the U.S., and the bulk of ingredients are sourced from local suppliers. 2

3 THE CHALLENGE When market demand doubled between 2000 and 2007, Ainsworth decided to purchase an ERP (enterprise resource planning) system to help them manage growth. They selected JustFoodERP and Microsoft Dynamics, largely because of the food industry-specific functionality built by JustFoodERP on top of the Microsoft platform. Ainsworth s initial implementation in 2007 included Finance, Sales, Demand Planning, Purchasing, Inventory, Manufacturing, Logistics Planning, and Quality Management. At the end of Phase 1, there were 30 licensed users of JustFoodERP at Ainsworth. In 2012, that number sits around 50, with 100 employees trained in the JustFoodERP system, says Jamie Hornstein, Director, Information Services, Ainsworth. Advance Ship Notice (ASN) can be complicated but necessary if you are doing a lot of case picking. The other day I looked at a large retailer s order where we used to sell them three or four items, we now have 30 items on the order... A lot of ASN comes down to training; we had a hand in customizing the ASN module in JustFoodERP Jamie Hornstein, Director, Information Services Ainsworth Pet Nutrition 3

4 THE SOLUTION Ainsworth has continued to add functionality to the system in the years since, says Hornstein. For example, in 2011 they implemented the Warehouse Management System (WMS) part of JustFoodERP at all their warehouses. While Ainsworth has always had 24/7 manufacturing and warehousing operations, the introducing of the WMS module put that around-the-clock functionality in place in their business software systems for the first time. They also implemented JustFoodERP Floor the mobile web interface that lets employees access the JustFoodERP system via handheld guns to scan barcodes for production output and movements at all nine of their warehouses. JustFoodERP Floor is being used by about 20 workers at three warehouses in Meadville, and another three in Dumas and other locations. Our warehouse tracking systems were antiquated, says Hornstein. We were happy to see the lower cost user licenses for JF Floor substantially lower than the cost of the regular Microsoft Dynamics license. Ainsworth also implemented the Advance Ship Notification (ASN) module within JustFoodERP in About 10% of their retail customers mandate them to use ASN a standard of documentation and labeling required by some mass merchandisers for how they want product to arrive on their shipping docks. It can be complicated, and necessary, if you are doing a lot of case picking, says Hornstein. The other day I looked at a large retailer s order where we used to sell them three or four items, we now have 30 items on the order! He continues: If you are using ASN, you have to re-think the layout of your warehouse, you have to stage everything. A lot of ASN comes down to training; we had a hand in customizing the ASN module in JustFoodERP. EDI, which is much more prevalent than the adoption of ASN at this time, is required by about 80% of Ainsworth s customers, says Hornstein. They use the Lanham EDI module within the JustFoodERP system. 4

5 THE BENEFITS Taking advantage of built-in ASN and EDI lets Ainsworth conduct more, and better, business with mass merchandisers. When it comes to the addition of JustFoodERP Floor, Hornstein says putting that wireless interface in the hands of their warehouse workers has resulted in improved inventory accuracy, visibility into inventory status, and management of quality holds in the system. The addition of WMS has been invaluable as the number of Ainsworth warehouses multiply at various spots around the U.S. with more likely to come in the near future. In fact, says Horstein, since Ainsworth purchased the Dumas, AK facility, they ve had plans to expand to other parts of the U.S. and we realized our demand planning systems through MRP were not integrated. As a result, working with a supply chain consultant, Ainsworth has recently developed a phased-in plan to integrate forecast and production planning systems, and do some cost-based optimization of where to manufacture products, says the consultant, Sumantra Sengupta, Managing Director, EVM Partners, LLC. Our supply chain optimization project uses JustFoodERP modules, open integration and data, including POS data feeds directly from Ainsworth s customers. The MRP and MPS modules of JustFoodERP are being customized to suit Ainsworth s needs, and sales forecasts are loaded into the ERP system for two-way integration with third-party forecasting software. 5

6 THE FUTURE Ainsworth plans to further automate lot traceability and recall functionalities within the JustFoodERP system; employees there have historically used manual processes to check production records to confirm raw material and finished product specifications, Hornstein says. With JustFoodERP, they can go to a single button and hit trace and they re done. Food safety is a top priority at Ainsworth; in fact, they are the first pet food manufacturing company in the U.S. to receive a Facilities Food Safety audit rating of Excellent from the Safe Quality Foods (SQF) Level II International auditing standard, in accordance with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). The Ainsworth Pet Nutrition Triple Check System, which includes internal audits and batch analysis and external testing by third-party laboratories, is how the company has stayed off public lists of product recalls, says Hornstein. The company also plans to roll out the Container functionality within JustFoodERP Floor; that will allow them to automate the processes of building, moving, picking, and consuming containers (defined as a pallet, case, bin, shipping container or any other combination of lots and UOMs). And Ainsworth intends to expand the use of the Quality Management module within JustFoodERP to more tightly integrate our quality management of products and traceability within the system, says Hornstein. Heading into its sixth year working with JustFoodERP, Ainsworth Pet Nutrition is dedicated to continuous improvement of its multi-site system to reach its business goals of being the leader in pet food manufacturing and distribution in the United States. 6

7 SOLUTION SUMMARY JustFoodERP and Microsoft Dynamics Locations: Meadville, PA head office, manufacturing facility, warehouses Dumas, AK manufacturing facility, warehouses, office Sewickley, PA sales and marketing office Other locations in the U.S. warehouses JustFoodERP Modules: Purchasing; Sales; Inventory Management; Quality Management; Logistics Planning; Finance; Warehouse Management System; JF Floor; EDI; Reporting 7

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