Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Sensor Technology Empowers Food Manufacturer

Nutrition science concept. Data analytics of foods.
Credit: iStock/metamorworks

At the root, Food For The Sole's philosophy is simple – make the best tasting and most healthy portable foods for people headed out on adventures. As avid hikers, Julie Mosier and her son Henry didn’t like the boring and repetitive tasting products on the shelf, so they made their own. Food For The Sole makes healthy, dietary restriction friendly food that is different than what was on the market. Most importantly, customers tell the Mosiers their offerings taste like something you’d eat in a restaurant.

Our experience with OMEP has been exemplary. The counsel we've received has been invaluable.

— Henry Mosier, Co-Founder

Food For The Sole sought support from the Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP), part of the MEP National Network™. During the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for outdoor products as well as food and beverage products skyrocketed. Food For The Sole was operating out of a co-op kitchen and was challenged to keep up with demand. Along with the rapid growth came many challenges including capacity constraints, productivity, equipment failures, supply chain and inventory management, and team leadership.

Applying Lean Principles

OMEP worked with Food For The Sole on applying principles of lean to address its capacity and productivity issues. The manufacturer’s team embraced the process and the improvements stacked up quickly in production. OMEP also observed the inventory management and order fulfillment processes and recommended a pull system based on a Kanban system.

Food For The Sole quickly realized the benefits. Prior to implementing the Kanban system, the team was sectioning inventory off by distribution channel and would often end up with one channel out of inventory, and other channels with excess. Now the company has more space and the inventory is more manageable, making the process much easier and reliable.

Implementing Advanced Technology

Consistent dehydration is critical for Food For The Sole’s product. Dehydrator batches often had problems due to dehydrators overheating at night, which wasted ingredients and labor. The manufacturer sought a way to easily monitor the dehydrators and make changes before losses occurred. OMEP identified an advanced technology opportunity and set up real-time monitoring using thermocouple sensors in the dehydrators. The sensors send data through a Wi-Fi gateway to a cloud database once per minute. Visual dashboards and event triggers report dehydrator performance, making reports available even from offsite. Alarms trigger when temperatures are out of range, allowing leadership to address issues immediately. Sensors also provided actionable data to continuously improve production and in return boost morale for staff. The kitchen team puts energy and love into creating food and no longer suffers the lost efforts due to dehydrator issues.

Results

  • $200,000 in increased or retained sales
  • 3 jobs created and retained existing
  • $25,000 in cost savings

Could your company benefit from assistance with implementing new technologies? Connect with your local MEP Center for more information.

 

The Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership (OMEP) is the official representative of the MEP National Network in Oregon. The MEP National Network is a unique public-private partnership that helps small and medium-sized manufacturers generate business results and thrive in today’s technology-driven economy. The MEP National Network comprises the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (NIST MEP), the 51 MEP Centers located in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

About the author

Oregon Manufacturing Extension Partnership

OMEP is a team of individuals located across Oregon who share a common mission of bringing results to Oregon's manufacturers. Our staff have distinguished themselves in all aspects of manufacturing...

Related posts

Comments

Add new comment

  • This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions. Image CAPTCHA
    Enter the characters shown in the image.
Please be respectful when posting comments. We will post all comments without editing as long as they are appropriate for a public, family friendly website, are on topic and do not contain profanity, personal attacks, misleading or false information/accusations or promote specific commercial products, services or organizations. Posts that violate our comment policy will not be posted.