Sensing growing opportunity in the dynamic bacon market, family-owned Quality Food Processors jumped in with both feet, converting their Denison, Iowa, RTE meat processing plant in 2016 to 100% bacon production. What a move that has proven to be!
In two short years their co-packing operation has evolved from one shift with 65 employees to 275 QFP team members processing 1.5-million pounds of bacon products during 5-day double shifts each week.
It’s amazing,” says Eric Kohler, General Manager. “Our phone literally never stops ringing.”
What’s been key to QFP success?
In part, it’s product quality. “People tell us that QFP bacons are some of the best they have ever tasted,” Eric says. He believes the rich flavors and colors result from “seasoned” smokehouses they acquired in 2004.
Eric also credits a disciplined approach to satisfying customer needs as essential to their co-packing success. “At heart, we remain a small family company that takes time to know our customers and understand their needs. In short, we listen.”
Eric also cites the company’s “flexibility,” both in their business model and in their new technology, as well.
“The flexibility of our new CashinEdge slicing system allows us to team with customers and address their entire portfolio of bacon products. Many processors only want to do the high-volume parts of the business, but we will happily work with customers help develop new products and produce their lower-volume and specialty products, too. Companies that enjoy doing business with one efficient and knowledgeable co-packing partner appreciate our broad capabilities to stack, shingle, L-Board and pack virtually any bacon product. Thanks to CashinEdge, we can do it all,” he says.
Hoegger and Cashin solutions help eliminate bottlenecks.
“Our management of capacity bottlenecks has been critical to our growth and the satisfaction of our customers,” Eric believes. “Our partnership with the Provisur team was comforting from the start and the solutions they proposed worked perfectly.
“When the slicing lines became our operations bottleneck, Provisur gave us confidence that the new CashinEdge slicing system would increase throughput, handle our anticipated growth and do everything we needed. They offered a level of production flexibility and speed that we could not put together with anyone else. We knew they were in it with us – a true partnership.”
QFP bacon production also relies on two form presses from the Hoegger brand, a recent addition to the Provisur portfolio of technologies.
”The Hoegger presses are great. We press and slice, so they have to be able to keep up with slicing lines, as well as the demand from customers who buy our pressed and smoked slabs. The ingenuity of their design allows us to run 12 or 13 bellies per minute. No one else does that.”
For QFP, Provisur delivered on promises.
“I was adamant,” Eric remembers. “I just wanted to walk in the morning, push the green button and walk away.” Cashin fulfilled that desire. “Provisur’s applications experts told us, ‘This is what the machine will do’ … and it does!
“ We’ve had no performance issues since the CashinEdge was installed,” says Eric.
CashinEDGE® HS Retail Bacon
Provisur service delivers benefits, too..
“From the start, we were in the game together, Provisur and QFP,” Eric remembers. “Installation of the CashinEdge was flawless and fast. Their technician expertly trained our people. And the follow-up was top notch.”
Today, a year down the road from delivery, Eric is even more impressed with Provisur’s commitment to customer service. “We have a great relationship, but seldom need to talk… and I say that as a positive,” he remarks.
“As I’ve told people here, you never want to be best friends with your mechanic,” Eric chuckles. “The less I talk to anyone’s service department, the better that means things are running and the better I feel,” he says. “Still, it is comforting to know that Provisur is always there for us. I can pick up the phone anytime, 24/7 and get tech solutions and fast answers to my questions.”
Bottom line results
Bottom line, "the purchase of our CashinEdge is allowing us to reach our potential," says Eric. "Nothing is holding us back."
"We added processing flexibility, slicing capacity and the ability to serve customers we’d been turning away," Eric summarizes.
Remembering the summer and fall of 2017 at QFP, Eric says, "We were running two shifts of 6 or 7 days a week. Our people were getting tired of the grind. After installation of our CashinEdge in spring 2018, we were able to cut overtime, based on our improved processing flexibility and slicing capacity. We were also able to better manage our product grading. We eliminated about $4,000 per week in overtime and trimmed our waste product by 2- to 3-percent."
"The true test is that everything performs exactly as it was described to us and that CashinEdge is allowing us to capture business we were turning away due to capacity constraints," Eric opines. "Provisur’s confidence in CashinEdge was warranted and the benefits are on display in our daily operation."