Imagine a mixing container that can hold up to 6,000 pounds and measuring system so precise that it notifies you if your recipe ingredients are either too little or too excessive. This equipment and software, the 3-Ton Compound Double Ribbon Mixer and Beta Raben Batching Software, are what Stephen Wilds, Mixing Operator at BioZyme® Inc., uses each day to make the high-quality products that you market to your customers.
Stephen has been the second-shift mixing operator for nearly one year and said that close attention to detail is given to every batch of product mixed.
“If we mess up, the product is messed up, so we must be very diligent whenever we are putting ingredients in,” Stephen said. “Getting the correct amount and getting the correct ingredient is very important. The Batch Report pulls all ingredients except the hand-adds, and our scale is so precise that it tells you if you have too much or too little that you’ve added by hand. I have to certify everything is accurate. It’s mixed up and sent over to the bagging line.”
Although that run-down of tasks might seem simple, it really is quite complex. Stephen reviews the run list each day to make sure he has the ingredients needed to make all the products that need made for that day. Then he starts production of product, which is all driven by sales as warehouse space is limited. The mixer holds up to 3 tons per batch, or the equivalent of 120 bags per batch.
Stephen says he typically makes multiple products per day, but if he is making all the same product, he can sometimes mix as many as 30-35 batches per day. Once the product is mixed, it moves to the bagging line. BioZyme invested in a state-of-the-art fully-automated Concetti bagger two years ago, which can bag, load and wrap and pallet at a rate of 1,200 bags or 24 pallets per hour.
Once the product is made, and dealers have placed their orders, Brian Funk starts pulling the orders together. He checks the orders each morning when he arrives, prioritizes the orders by due date and makes sure there is inventory to fill each order. Then he starts “picking” or putting each order together so it is ready to ship once the trucks arrive to take the BioZyme products to the dealers.
Brian typically fills smaller or mixed pallet orders first thing in the morning before the delivery trucks start arriving to ensure accuracy on the mixed pallets that he must hand pack. Once trucks arrive he said it is easier to work with full pallet orders – those that contain 50 bags of the same product.
“It usually gets pretty hectic, but I stay very organized,” said Brian, who has been with the company nearly three years.
He typically fills 15-20 orders per day, depending on order size. He said he has picked as many as 31 orders in one day. Truckload orders are 17-18 pallets each.
Attention to detail and accuracy are top priorities for both Stephen and Brian, but they also appreciate the respect the management gives them to do their jobs.
Sam Norton, Director of Plant Operations, commends both Stephen and Brian for being self-motivated workers who do their jobs well. He also said they spend a lot of time cleaning when there is down time, which doesn’t go unnoticed, as many who have toured the plant have commented on the cleanliness of a supplement plant.
“We all work hard at getting the customer what they ask for, what they need and what they are paying for,” Sam said. “We can’t have a bad day because if we have a bad day in production, we all have a bad day. We do everything as efficiently as we can, and we are always looking at ways to be more efficient.”
Brian reminds the dealers to always check their orders for accuracy when they get delivered. He said even though he works to make sure every product and the correct quantity is sent to the correct destination, sometimes with multiple trucks arriving at the same time, there is room for human error.
From research and fermentation to drying, mixing and picking, there are a lot of people that keep our company running. We hope you have enjoyed getting to meet just a few of the behind-the-scenes folks that are the heart of our company.