Challenge

Headquartered in Garner, N.C., Butterball is the largest producer of turkey products in the U.S. With a desire to further solidify their leadership position in the competitive poultry sector, Butterball identified a need to improve their premium product yield in the hand cutting, deboning and meat removal process. Existing processes, including manual audits and employee training, had not been generating satisfactory improvements. So, Butterball looked to Sealed Air and the CogniPRO® Focus  system for help.

Solution

By capturing digital imagery and performance analysis against specification in real-time, the CogniPRO Focus system alerts line workers to their success rate almost immediately by use of a stacklight. This visual indicator alerts production line workers how well they are performing to specifications within a few minutes of making a cut. Previously, line supervisors conducted manual audits that required corrective training days later. Now, Focus gives the production team the means to self-correct during the course of their shift. The workers stay engaged and find themselves motivated to stay “on the green” with the added benefit of feeling empowered and trusted by their management team to do what they have been trained to do.

Results

Because automation strategies and robotics for meat and poultry processing are unproven, and implementation costs remain steep, premium meat harvesting remains a hands-on job. In this environment, the only way to obtain yield improvement quickly and affordably is by leveraging current technology in such a way as to provide a competitive edge.  By implementing the CogniPRO Focus system, Butterball is able to capture a consistent premium yield increase of 1%, which translates into significant dollars that go straight to the bottom line.