Quoin is engaged on a series of application development projects for McCall Farms, a major food producer and processor, as part of a strategic initiative to modernize their operations. Our team provides full lifecycle development of McCall’s process control systems. We have supported new and expanded functionalities for enterprise web applications and digital management tools, and continue to maintain these systems as needed.
In 2020, McCall Farms, a major food producer and processor, engaged Quoin in order to transform the enterprise systems for process planning and management. Working with client stakeholders, our engineering team works on key operational systems. The objective for our support is to help McCall Farms implement new and improved systems for data collection, analytics, and reporting practices; and, transition the systems portfolio to a modern technology stack based on C# and AngularJS.
McCall Farms is a leading producer of farm-fresh canned and frozen fruit and vegetables based in Effingham, South Carolina. The family-owned company runs a dynamic and ever-expanding operation: it grows its own products on 2,000 acres of family farmland, with an additional 25,000 acres contracted throughout the Carolinas and Georgia. Its 1.1 million square foot manufacturing facilities utilize state-of-the-art equipment. More than a thousand employees work across a variety of roles at McCall Farms, ultimately processing over a million pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
Our first project targeted needed improvements to a safety and incident reporting application, where McCall recorded incidents and monitored their safety performance on a day-to-day basis. In 2020, McCall Farms introduced new procedures that would make their safety and health management system more proactive. This included investigating every incident that resulted in a worker injury or illness - including near-misses - and immediately taking corrective action. However, the safety application software in place had rigid, confusing workflows, and limited opportunities to capture and follow-up on data early in the reporting process. McCall therefore wanted to fundamentally transform their data entry process with a new safety application. In addition to improving how incidents are captured, managed, and tracked, the new software needed to track the corrective actions taken - as well as display all information in a user-friendly interface. Analyzing this wealth of data would help management make more informed decisions around safety, thus preventing future incidents from occurring and reducing the risk of potential lawsuits.
The existing application was built on a Microsoft technology stack using AngularJS and Bootstrap with JQuery. However, we noticed that they were using older versions of many of the tools, with outdated documentation, which meant that a simple upgrade could potentially break the code. Our engineers recognized that restructuring would be a delicate matter, and, when deciding on strategies for improving McCall’s processes, took precautions to avoid breaking anything.
A main goal for the new Safety Application was to streamline the workflow and make the system more user-friendly. We started off the project by combining several incident types into a single flexible category called an Incident. Each Incident subtype - Near Miss, First Aid, and Accident - represented varying degrees of severity. In contrast to the old system where the incident type could not be altered, our changes allowed managers to escalate the Incident up or down as the situation played out. We then built a single data collection UI to display only the information relevant to the level of severity of the incident, and refactored the PDF reports into a single report type to further eliminate extraneous material.
The Quoin project team also improved the layout and functionality of incident notification emails that are automatically sent to management of the safety department when an incident is entered into the system. This improvement will assist management in responding faster and more appropriately to an incident. Finally, we improved the post-incident process by adding a corrective actions list page - a new feature which will allow management to quickly review and follow up on the status of actions that need to be taken.
Quoin also undertook a major revamp of the software system used for managing production materials. McCall’s food processing depended on two main streams of input products: those purchased from third parties and those harvested from their own farms. The legacy application the company used for materials planning had focused only on data for purchased materials, but management wanted to update the technology to give a more comprehensive overview of production input. Our technologists worked to eliminate the inventory variance and enhance the pages regarding material planning for their production runs. Among the new features added was an input feed that enabled managers to enter harvest data in real time.