Frozen Food Manufacturer Expedites New Product Development Using an Integrated Software Solution

In 2005, Rich Products Corporation celebrates “60 Delicious Years” as a family-owned company. Rich’s is known around the world as the founder of the non-dairy segment of the frozen food industry and a leading supplier and solutions provider to the food service, in-store bakery and retail marketplaces.

In 2005, Rich Products Corporation celebrates “60 Delicious Years” as a family-owned company. Rich’s is known around the world as the founder of the non-dairy segment of the frozen food industry and a leading supplier and solutions provider to the food service, in-store bakery and retail marketplaces. As one of the world’s premier family-owned food companies, Rich’s posts annual sales exceeding $2 billion.

Rich’s manufactures and markets quality products including: toppings & icings, breads and rolls, finished desserts and cakes, pizza dough and sweet goods, beverages, Italian specialties, barbeque, seafood and appetizers.

To continue to drive toward aggressive growth plans, Rich’s needed the systems to support the processes that enabled growth. However, Rich’s older IT systems could not interoperate with platforms and applications among departments. This prohibited a single, centralized view of the product development process, limiting collaboration among departments, while adding time and complexity to new product development.

A Real-Time Innovation Engine
Based on its requirements to integrate and accelerate its product lifecycle management (PLM) process, Rich’s selected Formation Systems’ Optiva platform to enable departments to leverage a centralized resource to expedite product introductions, reduce material costs and improve overall product quality. Specifically, Rich’s incorporated Optiva to support research and development, formula management, labeling, and other business-critical departments.

“To meet our business and product goals, centralizing all of our product information on Optiva was an imperative and will ensure accuracy and timeliness of new product launches,” said Anne Schneider, Sr. Business Analyst – R&D. “Optiva is our real-time innovation engine. It enables us to work seamlessly across multiple departments to create, modify and deploy new products, while also streamlining the management of existing offerings.”

“Requiring centralized control of the R&D process, while providing each department with the tools and flexibility that they need to succeed can be a difficult balance. We were able to use Optiva’s workflow capabilities to ensure complete visibility without stifling creativity,” continued Anne.

Committed to maintaining its reputation for product excellence, Rich’s growth strategy is to select product introductions that have a high potential for success, rather than rapidly introducing a number of products and hoping that some products take hold. As such, it was critical that Rich’s be able to identify which new products in development would have the highest potential rate for success. Just as importantly, Rich’s needed to quickly pinpoint projects under development that would not be viable in the marketplace due to excessive ingredient costs, limited market appeal or other variable factors to success.

“By providing visibility across multiple departments, Optiva enhances our insight into product viability early in the R&D process, enabling us to make informed decisions to continue with development or reallocate resources to focus on new projects that have high potential for success,” noted Anne. “Our comprehensive view of research data enables us to increase ROI on product development and accelerate time to market for key offerings.”

In addition to expediting product development, Rich’s is better able to reduce direct material costs by more effectively collaborating with manufacturing and sourcing. Providing visibility across the entire product lifecycle process enables Rich’s to make informed decisions about resource allocation and product launches. Using the Labeling module, Rich’s is able to automatically use existing ingredient formulation information for product labeling. “Utilizing core recipe information for labeling, guidelines and restrictions, and other product development processes provides significant time and cost savings while further assuring product quality,” said Anne.

To further support its sales and customer service, product information can be retrieved by both the company’s “Helpline” Team and Marketing Associates. The system provides them access to product information that enables the company to give customers and prospects quick, detailed information about Rich Products’ offerings.

Growth Strategy Met Using Optiva
Rich’s Buffalo, New York headquarters is using Optiva as well as 13 of its production plants. The company continues to extend the platform to recent business acquistions. Currently, more than 100 associates use Optiva. By enhancing its information technology infrastructure and using Optiva, Rich’s has the additional agility to bring new products to market quickly while minimizing ingredient cost - without compromising quality. With increasing success, Rich’s is on course to continue to serve up popular new products while meeting its aggressive corporate expansion goals.
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