MES solution delivers improvement for coffee company

31 March 2008

Ahold NV is the largest private label coffee roaster in the Netherlands, and is a market leader in the production of private label coffee pods that produce coffee more conveniently and efficiently than conventional vending machines.


Currently the company’s objective is continuous improvement through integrating and bringing transparency to all production activities. Integral to achieving these objectives are modules from Citech’s Ampla MES system. These have been implemented and connected via B2MML (Business to Manufacturing Mark-up Language) to Ahold’s FlexProces ERP system.

The Ampla Planner module allows local visualisation and optimisation of process orders; while the Ampla Downtime, Production, and Metrics modules aggregate information from the plant systems and present it as real-time intelligence through dashboards. As a result, various managers can now ‘drill down’ into the key inhibitors to production, quality and labour utilisation and take action to improve efficiencies.

The operations staff has become more performance- oriented after the MES system was implemented, resulting in a decrease in the number and duration of line stoppages.

Ahold’s Operations Manager, Jeroen de Jager, is now able to objectively identify the most readily achievable goals (the ‘low hanging fruit’) which should receive the highest priority, and also manage the resources for eliminating waste and stoppages more efficiently.

He can also provide evidence of the relative profitability of various products that the company produces. Some products, due to factors such as packaging, are relatively inefficient to produce and carry higher labour and high downtime costs. By identifying these poorer performers, he is able to give more insight in actual production costs.

The ability to drill down and obtain real-time intelligence through dashboards has enabled maintenance staff to confirm that preventive maintenance does increase OEE (overall equipment availability), and is worth scheduling. As a result, ACC has implemented a more strict preventive maintenance schedule.

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