“During our initial startup, MES was really critical in helping us to pinpoint our problems, because at first, our problems were on the front-end of the line, which is in the process areas…and then our issues, the ones that were taking away available time, moved to the back end of the line. So we had a different set of problems around packaging. And all of that was highlighted by the information we got out of MES. It was able to point us in the right direction.” - Dale Ducommun, General Manager
Twin Falls, Idaho – For many, Clif Bar is a go-to energy bar for the trail or during the workday, but for 295 employee/owners in Twin Falls, Idaho, Clif Bar is much more than a brand on a shelf. The company was started by Gary Erikson with the goal to make a better tasting bar for sustaining energy. It was formally launched in 1992. Clif developed a business model guided by Five Aspirations: “Sustaining our Business, Brands, People, Community and the Planet.” The company headquarters is located in Emeryville, CA, and currently has manufacturing plants in Indianapolis, IN and Twin Falls, ID.
In 2014, Clif Bar made the decision to go into self-manufacturing to increase its capacity. Until that point, it had never been in control of its own manufacturing operations. Despite its inexperience, however, the energy bar manufacturer successfully went from manufacturing zero to about 75% of its own bars within a one-year span. That statistic is made all the more impressive by the fact that Clif Bar established both a greenfield and a brownfield facility within months of each other.
The road to self-manufacturing began with a greenfield facility in Twin Falls, ID, where Clif Bar operates three lines at any given time, 24 hours a day. Among other technologies, Clif Bar identified two key areas that were requisites for self-manufacturing: the ERP and the MES environment. As its leaders were scoping out the MES systems needed for a highly automated facility, they turned to AVEVA Endorsed System Integrator, Apex Manufacturing Solutions, for assistance.
The partnership with Clif Bar is a unique project because, in addition to being quite a comprehensive use of MES products, the solution initially requested for a greenfield installation in Twin Falls was able to be quickly adapted and implemented in a legacy plant acquired in Indianapolis.
The AVEVA solution works as well with green field development as it does with legacy manufacturing equipment. Clif Bar and Apex Manufacturing Solutions were able to quickly adapt and deploy the solution created for the greenfield site to a newly purchased plant in Indianapolis. This allowed for considerably less development time and also for solution standardization between facilities.
It’s not uncommon for companies to define a set of corporate values, but seldom do you encounter one that puts its values into action like Clif Bar. The company’s 5 aspirations help to guide everyone–from CEO to floor operator–to make more sustainable decisions, and one the most interesting aspects is how Clif Bar uses its AVEVA MES solution to measure progress towards its aspirations.
MES is also very effective in helping Clif Bar address the “Sustaining Our Brands” aspiration. By enabling production managers to better understand if they’re running the right weights, when quality checks done, whether its delivering against cost, Clif Bar is able to produce the quality product and experience that its consumers love.
Clif Bar continues to reap ongoing benefits from its partnership with AVEVA. While the MES Quality solution enables Clif Bar to see and meet specifications, both in real-time and historically, the MES Operations integration with Clif Bar’s ERP provides a link for vital material track and traceability.
Ultimately, the solution has empowered the company to setup a culture of continuous improvement.
By building a culture around using true data and information, Clif Bar wasn’t just able to launch concurrent manufacturing sites, they’re empowered
to more accurately plan capacity, prevent expensive recalls, make decisions based on real data and intelligence, and most importantly–support its 5 Aspirations in a way that was previously unthinkable.
“Gartner will tell you that any major system implementation has a 28% chance to succeed. That meant we had 28% chance here, 28% chance in Indianapolis. If you multiply that out, that’s less than an 8% chance of succeeding. And when we went live in May, we were successful” - Todd Wilson, Sr. VP of IT