In the egg business even the smallest change in the cost of an egg has a dramatic impact on the financial result of the producer or processor. For that reason they have to monitor the cost of all inputs day by day. Moreover, customers have strong demands about the entire history of the eggs delivered. The combination of all this information in one computer programme proves to be very effective in planning, tracking, tracing and cost control.
By Wiebe van der Sluis , Rooster 45, Doetinchem,the Netherlands
Running an egg business is more than just feeding hens, collecting and selling eggs. It’s a real business requiring an intensive control of all inputs and outputs, including tracking and tracing as well as the provision of all information regarding production and product quality.
Many companies in the world recognise this need and make use of feed and flock management systems based on the powerful Microsoft Dynamics. The core values of this software programme are simplicity, adaptability and ease-of-use. An independent study largely based on Software Usability Measurement Inventory (SUMI) showed that this programme has had a positive effect on end-users productivity and business performance due to its high scores on the following six SUMI factors:
1. Usability – ease of use, user command of application and user enjoyment with software
2. Familiarity – ease of learning, intuitiveness of system, user comfort with application
3. Transactional Efficiency – user effectiveness in executing repetitive tasks, efficiency of user interface, speed and reliability of system
4. Flexibility – agility in handling unexpected issues, ease of completing infrequent or unusual tasks, system adaptability to business needs
5. Business Insight – ease of comprehensive reporting, real-time access to information, visibility across departments
6. Collaboration – ease of collaboration with colleagues, efficiency of application workflow, ease of communication with suppliers, partners and customers.
Full insight to all costs
The positive values have not only been recognised by SUMI but also by more than 1,350,000 users around the world. Every day they log in to Dynamics to run their businesses. Among them there are a fair number of poultry companies that make use of this software programme to maintain their strong financial foundation. Some of the largest egg producers in Europe as well as the USA have become familiar with Dynamics through the Dutch software company Qwinsoft.
Qwinsoft combined Dynamics with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) programme in the upgraded version of OVO-vision (Figure 1). Initially, this programme used to be a financial logistic aid for egg packers and processing companies, but over the years it has evolved into a complete egg production and processing management system.
The founding father of OVO-vision is Jack Jenniskens, who has a lot of experience in the egg business and knows in detail which issues egg producers are dealing with. Many years ago he started developing OVO-vision to solve some of the major logistic and financial administrative issues of egg packers. While working with egg packers he recognised the need of adding information and expanding the programme. Today the market requires a full insight in the history of every single egg released to the market. This includes flock management, feed mill and veterinary/flock health information, information which often used to be available through separate management programmes.
All in one egg programme
Jenniskens acknowledged the problem with using different systems for every department in the company and linking into the production chain. Through integrating various existing Windows based software programmes and adding software to let these programmes communicate, he made OVO-vision to be more than just the sum of its parts. It has the ability to manage grow flocks and lay flocks with a complete integration to the internal or external feed mill.
Also included is a complete house setup and the capacity to adjust flock standards to the producer’s own ideas to improve productivity and management control. In addition, it allows the user to see its egg inventory which may be spread over many companies or houses at different locations.
Since its inception in 1998, OVO-vision is able to handle all types of legislation. This means not just putting a stamp on an egg to determine the origin, but also to know where the specific eggs end up in the marketplace. OVO-vision can print on the egg, on the box and SSCC labels used on the pallet, and save the connected data. This gives more transparency of the stock in the warehouse(s) of packing stations, processing plants, boiling facilities, and painting operations, including all in-transit goods.
It does what it has to do
Today’s version of OVO-vision covers all production elements of the egg business from pullet production and flock management up to pricing, documenting and logistics of every single egg (Figure 2). Mobile devices like scanners or smart phones can be connected to transfer inventory and production data.
Thanks to combining all links in the egg production chain it provides insight into performance figures based on flock age and allows the producer to manage flocks to maximise the financial output. Functionalities like depreciation as well as grow and moult costs are visible in one mouse click. The system also offers the unique option to visualise various entities like creditors, creditors balance, products, production, and stock per company as well as the total group of integrated companies.
The order to cash system has the capacity to work with many electronic data interchange (EDI) systems available on the market. This prevents paperwork and errors during the input of hand written information.
Customer pricing is very flexible and can work with all types of unit of measure, market prices and price agreements. The multi-lingual setup supports the data transfer between workers and customers using different languages.
Transparency was a keyword for Jenniskens when developing OVO-vision. He was and is not only looking at what information the company management needs, but also what customers want to know when purchasing eggs. Supplying farmers with relevant information to optimise production.