Not too long ago, “tracking” meat meant sharpening your spear, getting your tribe together and following a wooly mammoth for what felt like an eternity until it dropped its guard. After catching your prey, you’d drag it all the way back home through mud and bramble, then feast for many moons.
Call us crazy, but we prefer a more modern approach.
These days, industrial meat companies have traded the hunting and gathering for the latest technology, like innovative scales, label printers and intuitive touch-screen terminals. These workstations provide employees with insight into materials, production status, shipping logistics, and yield analytics, as well as help them optimize their operations to get the job done faster, with fewer mistakes and a lot less paperwork.
Today’s butchers and meat manufacturers in the U.S. have some pretty high volumes to maintain to continue feeding carnivores across the country. In 2013, 25.8 billion lbs. of beef, 38.4 billion lbs. of chicken and 23.2 billion lbs. of pork all went to market, according to the North American Meat Institute. Technological updates to meat industry assets can help keep production up and reduce costly waste. However, when considering digital workstations for an industrial setting like a meat processing plant, what features should decision-makers account for that are often overlooked?
1. Digital compatibility
Seamless integration requires equipment investors to ensure products match their operations and don’t cause more problems than they solve. Part of the joy of purchasing out-of-box solutions is in how quickly investors can begin using this technology once it arrives.
“The inability to freely transfer data presents a major efficiency dilemma.”
However, we’ve all experienced instances where different brands of software or hardware wouldn’t talk to each other because of format compatibility issues. For a company still utilizing spreadsheets in its day-to-day resource management and accounting, the inability to freely transfer this data as needed presents a major efficiency dilemma.
Before committing to a piece of hardware, be sure the interface will generate usable e-forms and collaborate with legacy systems.
2. Easy-to-clean and repair
We can’t sugarcoat it – the meat industry isn’t known for being all that clean. Hygienic? Absolutely, but cutting slabs of beef or grinding pork for sausages is undeniably messy work. And since equipment operators won’t always have time to hit the showers before handling touch-screen terminals, they’ve got to be easy to clean and capable of withstanding anything an active meat processing plant throws at them.
Products with stainless steel design or available protective casing can help businesses get more out of the technology they invest in. Don’t settle for devices that can’t keep up with the rigors of your unique industry – it’ll only end up costing you more in replacements.
That said, it may also be worthwhile to seek out an equipment dealer with attractive maintenance packages included in the cost of the hardware purchase. When businesses hire service professionals to regularly check the assets most important to production and perform preventive maintenance, they ensure reliability and support uptime.
3. Available printables stock
Touch-screen data management terminals are typically modular devices, capable of combining with ancillary technology to create a workstation that fits the needs of the investor and his organization. However, if decision-makers at a meat processing plant look to add devices like label makers to their workstations, they’ll need uninhibited access to a label supplier.
Before signing on the dotted line and relying on printed products for greater inventory visibility and traceability, ask your equipment dealer about how your facility can adequately procure printables stock for the future.