Icicle Delivers Automation and Quality for Ontario Pride Eggs

Christopher Foster from Ontario Pride Eggs

Ontario Pride Eggs is a proud business unit of NutriGroupe and has the mandate to provide its customers with high quality products that meet the high expectations of today’s customers and consumers. They recently created a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art egg-grading facility with the goal of producing eggs with the highest possible level of automation in order to deliver safer, better quality product to the market.

We recently sat down with Christopher Foster, QA Manager at Ontario Pride Eggs, for a case study interview on their adoption and implementation of the Icicle food production management platform. Here are some excerpts:

On Real-Time Reporting

Our immediate return on investment for Icicle is real-time reporting that can capture non-conformities as they happen. If you receive real-time information and alerts, then you can act on it within minutes instead of hours – and fix it before it becomes a problem. It’s all on my dashboard; I can access Icicle through my computer, my tablet, or my phone.”

On Trending Data

“Data on a piece of paper is useless unless you graph it over time. In order to do that, you need manhours. Once you’ve graphed it, do you trust the data? If you trust the data, you have to interpret the data! The whole system of compiling records, inputting, reviewing, validating, then coming up with a story – that’s days of work to do. An automated system uses your data for trending and the graph is never cut; there is never a last good check to measure against. There is so much more data available so your risk is dramatically diminished. In Icicle, I can pull up the last six months of records in the span of five seconds.

On Passing SQF Audits (with Flying Colours)

“Ontario Pride Eggs just passed our SQF audit with a high score of 91% and I can tell you, during an audit, you want everything in front of you. First, you discuss the program, then you dive into the monitoring, validation, and verification of said program. Icicle puts all of these in one simple place, eliminating the chance of delaying the audit while you try to find each element. From an auditor’s perspective, that’s perfect, and I can move onto the next thing that much quicker.”

On Quality Assurance Work

“The QA person is the most expensive person in the plant and with a traditional production model, they spend hours per day validating and verifying records – about 30% of their time. If quality checks are constantly being missed and an overloaded QA person is constantly putting out fires, this time grows exponentially. […] An automated monitoring system can be validated by anyone and the QA person just opens the record and makes sure it gets done (or gets an alert that indicates otherwise) and goes from there. As I said earlier, this turns hours of work into minutes per week. I could justify Icicle just based on the amount of time that it would save a large organization like Ontario Pride Eggs in QA time.”

On Efficiency and Sustainability

With Icicle there was actually an immediate return on investment through the reduction of manpower and of our carbon footprint. Ontario Pride Eggs has saved somewhere between 75 to 100 sheets of paper per day, not to mention ink, wear and tear from the photocopier, and the staff needed to maintain it. The truth is that it’s paying off in multiple dividends by having all that data readily available for audit and trending purposes.”

On Customer Support

“One reason Ontario Pride Eggs chose Icicle over other QMS providers is because of [Icicle creator] Steve [Burton]. I spent a lot of time with him talking about our company and what we do. He’s a phone call away and incredibly supportive in this new venture, which goes a long way. He’s a salesperson, technician, problem-solver, and food safety guru – all in one person. We had 15 different vendors on our rolodex, but none of them compared to the platform and support that Icicle offered.

“Utilizing Steve’s expertise ensures that companies can implement Icicle with a smooth transition. It was key for us to give Icicle Technologies Inc. all the details and allow them to assist with integration. On top of that, Icicle’s support ensures that employees can be trained and if they have questions, they can make a phone call, speak to a person (not a machine), and get help. Icicle is also constantly updating user manuals to make it easier for employees to learn.”

On Chris’ Favorite Icicle Features

“I’m really enjoying the fact that Icicle can seamlessly integrate with all of the PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers). Icicle is also able to manage incidents, so the system can tell me what’s going on –  even during downtime – and automatically introduce corrective actions. Since we can then use Icicle to trend these incidents, the system allows us to be more proactive through analytics, which of course ties into quality checks. Another of my favorite features is automatic mass balance calculations, which saves us a ton of headache and time when it comes to traceability.”

On Icicle Updates & New Features

“Every time I log into Icicle I find something new. But that doesn’t mean there are a plethora of new versions over the years. When Steve thinks of new functionality, he adds them in at no extra charge. While some companies send a bill for something as simple as resetting a password, Icicle builds towards a sustainable and mutually-beneficial relationship. And that counts for a lot.”

In Conclusion

“On my end, I can’t wait to add more facilities to Icicle’s system. Eventually I’d like to have it fully integrated across all facilities, coast to coast. What’s great is that here’s a system that can be replicated over and over, whether we have two plants or 90. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel at any facility but can also tailor the plan to any certification we want, be it BRC, SQF or FSEP.”

Check out our new case study with Ontario Pride Eggs and request a demo of Icicle today!

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