Achieving a Fast ROI with Autocoding

Whenever you are considering making an investment into your business, a key deciding factor is how long it will take to see a return on your investment. Wayne Johnson, head of the OAL Connected team, gave us an insight into how to speed up the ROI (Return on Investment) with Autocoding.

What is the typical ROI for Autocoding?

 At Ornua Foods they have OAL Autocoding installaed across 24 lines

At Ornua Foods they have OAL Autocoding installaed across 24 lines

While it’s difficult to give an average ROI as there are so many variable factors, from my own experience I saved £30k in the first year I implemented an autocoding system when I was a technical manager within a small factory.

Factors such as how many production lines you introduce autocoding on, the systems you already have in place, and the complexity of your setup will influence how quickly you see an ROI, but for most customers, you should see at least a 5% reduction in operating costs.

How do these factors influence ROI?

Firstly, the number of production lines you implement autocoding on will affect your ROI, as will the number of printers on each line. With autocoding, not only are you saving the manual time setting up each printer, you reduce the number of errors introduced into the system, as well as saving on paper and ink costs. An automated system can be deployed across as many lines as needed and updates are entered once from the central system for all the lines.

Also, the operating systems you currently have can affect your ROI. Moving from standard, paper-based quality checks to a paperless system will increase your ROI by saving time, paper, and archive costs. If you archive your paperwork off-site, you’ll make savings as your data will all be stored electronically in a central, on-site database.

The cost of saving and storing packaging samples over all your production lines in a year soon adds up, as does the space required to store them all. With autocoding, you can use hand scanners to take a picture of the packaging and remove the need to save samples.

Finally, reducing errors in your system and any product recalls will make the biggest impact on your ROI. A product recall can cost £60k or more, depending on the product and the fines the retailer charges.

How are OAL customers speeding up their ROI?

 Link and control your check weighers as part of your OAL Connected system

Link and control your check weighers as part of your OAL Connected system

Many customers are adding more functionality to their Autocoding system, which links up with checkweighers, weigh scales, metal detectors and other equipment to provide efficient control over all areas of production.

Whether it's saving the checkweigher information on a database for future audits, or expanding autocoding into the High-Care side for better ingredient and allergen control, the OAL Connected system can help further improve your efficiency. Wagg Foods added the OEE data capture module and had a 30% increase in OEE.

Another way that customers are accelerating their ROI's is by embracing support contracts with OAL. This gives them access to the OAL Connected experts who can help with anything from packaging and coding checks to advice on using the system.

Any other helpful tips for autocoding systems?

Checking the packaging at the artwork stage is absolutely crucial to getting the most from your autocoding system. Your autocoding system can only read what it is programmed to, so if you are getting lots of errors and stoppages, it’s worth investigating whether the 2D code is correct.

However, the biggest factor of all is getting buy-in for your new system from all members of your team. Experience shows that when engineering, operations and technical teams work closely together to use the new automated system, significant savings can be made.


About Wayne Johnson

Wayne Johnson.jpg

Wayne Johnson has worked in the food industry for over 20 years’, with experience on both sides of the retail fence as a technical manager for First Milk and a supermarket auditor for Somerfield. He now heads up OAL Connected helping manufacturers eliminate label and date code errors with our market leading Autocoding system

Deborah Stokoe