Improving Production Efficiency and Maximizing Yields at Peco Foods


CAT Squared Scoreboads Increase Plant Yields

Peco Foods Inc., Tuscaloosa, Ala., is a privately-held, family-managed company known for its high-quality poultry products. In fact, its family-style business and management practices help to employ many hard-working Americans in the southern United States.

Since the company began production, Peco’s quality assurance and production personnel, as well as plant management, have analyzed plant-floor data in an effort to continuously improve processes. However, Peco Foods realized that with traditional data recording and reporting options, their plant-floor operators had exhausted all opportunities to improve production efficiency. Manually-entered data was taking too long to compile, and human error further complicated the analysis. Instead of knowing as soon as a failure occurred or that a process was out of control, management would have to wait a day or longer to view the data, which sometimes revealed costly, avoidable problems.

Peco Foods’ management believed that empowering their individual employees would yield better results than any other strategy. That’s why Peco Foods needed a solution that would provide:

  • Reliable electronic data collection with threshold alarms that could instantly notify key personnel of problems.
  • Easily visible scoreboards to keep everyone on the plant floor fully informed.
  • Real-time reporting with statistical process control (SPC) analysis capabilities.
  • 100% return on investment in less than one year.


Peco Foods began looking for a solution and found that CAT Squared offered both the software and professional services required to overcome its challenges. CAT Squared could provide a complete turnkey solution using their food safety and quality management software (FSQM) as well as all the required hardware, training, project management and support services. Since CAT Squared could independently provide these solutions, it minimized financial risks and unnecessary liabilities.

After careful evaluation, Peco Foods determined that CAT Squared, Conway, Ark., was the best company to meet their needs.

The solution involved:

  • CAT Squared’s food safety and quality management (FSQM) and SPC charting software.
  • Plant-floor scoreboards: 55-inch flat-screen monitors encased in IP69K-rated stainless steel anti-moisture enclosures that provide plant floor associates a clear view of real-time data without compromising its high safety standards and its quality assurance in the food industry.
  • Onsite company training, weekly status analysis reports and 24/7 support.

FSQM focuses on proactively controlling production processes and preventing failures. As soon as a deviation occurs, the FSQM system notifies key personnel by email or text message, so that issues can be dealt with the moment they are found.

Any type of data can be collected in the FSQM system, including weight, size, temperature, defects, yield percentages, HACCP, GMPs, pre-operational sanitation, downtime and metal detection checks. Floor operators use handheld or stationary touch-screen computers to collect the data, eliminating paperwork and reducing labor costs.

All data collected using FSQM can be viewed and analyzed using real-time reports that include pre-shipment, failure ranking and compliance. Data can also be shown on charts and graphs enabled with SPC analysis and Six Sigma capabilities. FSQM turns plant-floor data into actionable, process-improving intelligence.

For the first time, Peco Foods could analyze extensive quality and production data in real time and respond as soon as problems occurred. It immediately transformed their business practices from reactive to proactive.

“Before FSQM, it was like playing a basketball game and telling your team, ‘Push hard! We can win!,’ but never keeping score,” says Tony Pierce, Peco Foods’ plant manager in Canton, Miss. “Now, we keep score from the beginning of the game.”

Specific benefits of the CAT Squared implementation include:

  • Management could report detailed intelligence about their processes in real time thanks to 1,000 additional data collection points.
  • Floor personnel could instantly see quality and production data such as piece weight results on the plant-floor scoreboards.
  • Floor personnel received direct feedback because of the scoreboards and were able to make adjustments to continually improve their numbers.
  • The company averaged 1.5% less downgrade product across their entire product line.

Peco Foods realized that by showing their hard-working staff the direct results of their personal contributions, they were empowering their team to perform at their highest ability.

Since implementing CAT Squared’s solutions, downgrade product percentages improved immediately by more than 1.5%. Because Peco Foods makes about 75% less revenue on downgrade product, the 1.5% improvement generated a 100% return on investment for the entire installation in only a few months.

Due to the ability to instantly analyze electronic data and provide feedback to their plant-floor team, Peco Foods now enjoys yields and productivity results that simply were not possible before the CAT Squared implementation.

Reprinted with permission from Refrigerated & Frozen Foods Magazine:

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