Sunsweet Employs Software to Manage Planning, Forecasting

Producer of dried fruits streamlines plant scheduling, inventory control

Producer of dried fruits streamlines plant scheduling, inventory control

Wilmington, DE  July 26, 2004  Sunsweet Growers, a $250 million agribusiness headquartered in Yuba City, Calif., said it has selected Supply Chain Consultants' (SCC) Zemeter Software for the end-to-end management of all of its supply chain processes.

The wide variety of Sunsweet products requires a scheduling and planning matrix for its 825,000-square-foot plant in Yuba City. Whole and pitted prunes are transported by a network of overhead conveyors to 10 packaging lines for inserting into visible bags, stand-up pouch bags, cartons, bulk cases and cans. Automatically weighed fruit flows into packs ranging in size from one ounce to 50 pounds and labeled in 20 foreign languages.

Scheduling becomes even more dynamic in light of the fact that there are 20 different sizes and grades of prunes alone to be processed and packaged. The plant also processes dried apricots, peaches, pears and apples.

Harold Upton, vice president of strategic business process for Sunsweet, explained that, in the past, all planning, forecasting and scheduling for the company's products was accomplished in Excel.

"When we decided to identify a more efficient way of doing things we evaluated six potential vendor solutions," he said. "Our decision to go with Zemeter boiled down to ease of use, speed of processing data, and the cost of implementation." Upton added: "Using Zemeter will substantially cut our monthly planning cycle time. We anticipate a quick return on our investment."

Zemeter provides a wide spectrum of product functionality including demand planning, inventory planning, finite scheduling, production optimization, margin optimization and business intelligence. The Sunsweet deployment uses all of these Zemeter software components.