Customer StoriesFood and Beverage

South African Breweries Ltd.

By 8th November 2016 No Comments

Industry: Food and Beverage

SAB uses ArchestrA Workflow for quality deviation management from mobile devices

Goals

  • To shorten the decision-making time for the acceptance or rejection of production quality deviations
  • To provide the relevant personnel with the right information to make such decisions wherever they might be
  • To track the decision-making process and to trigger alerts for anomalies

Solutions and Products

  • ArchestrA Workflow

Challenges

  • Interfacing with the current quality management system
  • Interaction with quality management system from mobile device
  • To send deviations to only the relevant person responsible for that deviation

Results

  • Shorter turnaround time for the approval / rejection of quality deviations
  • No need for decision-makers to be connected to the SAB
  • network
  • Automatic escalation if no response to deviation in required timeline

Johannesburg, South Africa – Sustained and consistent product quality is the focal point of production at SAB’s seven South African breweries. But when a quality parameter strays above or below set limits, something needs to be done – immediately and by qualified personnel with the authority to do so and wherever they might be at the time. SAB found the answer in Wonderware’s ArchestrA Workflow.

Background

SAB uses an in-house solution called electronic Quality Management System or eQMS which logs deviations when a quality parameter breaches specified limits for a particular brand. There are four types of deviations: SL (Specified Limit), DCL (Divisional Control Limit), RCL (Regional Control Limit) and ML (Mandatory Limit).

When a deviation occurs, it needs to be approved or rejected. Various deviations have different levels of approval each involving a group of people who are involved in the decision-making process. Whatever decision is made, it still needs to be authorised. Previously, someone of the required level needed to log into eQMS to decide what must happen next. This could lead to delays if that person was not available and needed to be phoned to log into the system to either approve or reject the deviation.

Solution Requirements

“The goal was to have the system automatically notify the relevant personnel by e-mail when a deviation was detected since e-mails are generic to all platforms from phones to laptops,” says Henko Venter, Business Analyst C&A, South African Breweries. “Whoever was responsible could then review the deviation details in the e-mail which would not only specify the origins and causes of the deviation but also any action that had already been taken. Only with a complete information background can the decision-maker reply to the e-mail with either ‘approve’ or ‘reject’ so that the system can take the appropriate action.”

For this to happen, the eQMS database table would have to be monitored and all the relevant deviation details extracted whenever one occurred. The specified flow logic would then have to be followed including sending e-mails to the decision-making groups of users before executing the required workflow based on their response.

SAB decided to implement a Proof of Concept project based on Wonderware’s ArchestrA Workflow to verify the feasibility of such an approach.

Implementation

Because of the functionality involved in human-level process interactions and decision-making information requirements, Workflow needed to straddle SAB’s different domains, systems and databases. “It’s this necessary integration of different domains rather than any Workflow limitations that can make its implementation more challenging than other, more straightforward applications,“ says Venter. “For example, we needed access to Active Directory to get user names, Exchange to send e-mails and communication with servers or systems on different domains as well as virtual LANs. Due to how we implemented the solution we also needed to give Workflow read/write access to specific directories. That’s why it’s very critical to use the correct service accounts and security levels in the setting up of Workflow. This takes most of the implementation time – setting up a workflow thereafter is fast and quite easy, so much so that one could probably do ten or twenty a day.”

The next step was to decide whether a push or pull method of obtaining information from the database should be used. “We chose a push method so that the quality management system would initiate a workflow when a deviation was detected. Thereafter, the workflow will pull additional information from the eQMS database.”

The push method that was used was done by creating a stored procedure that would create an .XML file in a specific directory. Workflow FileWatcher then monitors this directory and uses the filename of any newly-created file as the actionID number to start the workflow. In the workflow, this actionID number is used in queries to obtain any needed information.

“It’s important to note that Workflow isn’t intrusive and lets people get on with their jobs as they would normally,” says Venter. “It operates in background mode while getting the information it needs from various sources. It collates responses from all concerned with regard to the actions that have been taken or still need to be taken regarding the approval or rejection of deviations. In this way, everyone is aware of what has or hasn’t been done and this saves a great deal of time, effort and coordination.”

Benefits

  • The POC project achieved the required result of facilitating rapid, coordinated decision making regarding the acceptance or rejection of quality deviations remotely
  • Positive feedback from users (convenient and fast way to respond)
  • Workflow is a powerful tool which brings together multiple systems and offers a wide scope of possible applications

About ArchestrA Workflow

Above the mechanical control of processes lies a parallel and human-level process control layer which rarely benefits from the well-thought-out procedures and automation of its shop floor counterpart.

ArchestrA Workflow software is an advanced workflow application that enables companies like SAB to digitise manual and automated processes that include people and/or systems.

This Business Process Management (BPM) application provides for the modelling, execution, analysis and improvement of processes inside and outside of organisations to drive higher levels of collaboration, productivity and innovation.

Using ArchestrA Workflow, companies can institutionalise work processes that manage normal, unscheduled or disruptive events within their operations environment.