In 55 factories of De Heus worldwide, one digital Quality Management System is used: Icologiq Elements
Koninklijke De Heus, founded in 1911, is an internationally operating supplier of animal feed. With more than 50 production locations in 15 countries, De Heus is among the top 15 of Animal Feed Suppliers in the world. These production locations are centrally controlled from Ede. “Before we started working with Icologiq, quality production sites operated as separate islands, which functionally reported to Ede,” explains Martin Rijnen, Global Director Nutrition at De Heus. “Some countries used quality management software, while others preferred Excel. With Icologiq, we have put an end to this fragmentation.”
More than 4,500 professionals make billions each year. Despite the size of the company, the farmyard holds a central position. “We are a large organisation, but the farmyard is always close to us,” says Martin. “Trust and reputation are extremely important in our industry. Farmers must be able to trust that we deliver top quality.” Ensuring this high level of quality in all countries De Heus operates in, places additional demands on quality management and the administration associated with this.
Chaos of documents
To realise this high quality, the company internationally operates in a standardized way. Working methods, standard procedures and instructions are anchored in the organization worldwide through a quality manual. There are hundreds of different documents per factory, from which a local quality manual is put together. However, the interpretation of the local manuals may differ from one another, based on local laws and regulations. This makes it more difficult to monitor the various local quality systems at an international level, to provide analysis and to make reports. Local data used to be served as separate documents with little coherence to be found.
In order to better coordinate local quality systems, it was necessary to restructure and synchronize the large amount of available quality documents, and to establish more unambiguous rules for uniform interpretation and local adoption options. The ideal situation involved a central location where all local quality documents are stored in a uniform way. This prompted De Heus to orientate itself to a new “quality data management” system.
“From the different countries we are active in, there was an increasing amounts of requests to create order in the knit of quality documents with an IT solution,” Martin says. “This was the moment when we said: now we are going to take this up worldwide. After a selection of different parties, we chose Icologiq for three reasons: its experience in our industry, the hands-on mentality and simply the good feeling the company gave us. This feeling was confirmed in a proof of concept that made it very clear what Icologiq could mean for us in concrete terms.”
According to Martin, the key to the successful implementation of the software, was the fast and direct communication. “In Enschede and with us in Ede, we assigned the final responsibility to two project leaders,” Martin explains. “From day one, these project leaders have directly involved their key users – QA managers from Poland, Vietnam, South Africa, Brazil and the Netherlands – to ensure that the project works well in practice. Icologiq has also provided training to these key users.”
By means of bi-weekly sprints and the so-called Story Mapping, new functionality was regularly delivered, so that the project remained alive for everyone involved. This was combined with full testing of their products. “If an incident occasionally crept in, Icologiq immediately had a huge commitment to fix it as quickly as possible. They were genuinely bothered when something like this happened.”
No more wasting time, more tasks for core tasks
The 55 factories of De Heus now use the same quality management system everywhere. “We no longer have to deal with the inconvenience of different systems and storage,” says Martin. “We have created order in the hundreds of different documents. Now we can run better reports, which allows us to make better decisions and our professionals to spend less time on peripherals. Icologiq has proven to be an indispensable link in the digitisation of our quality documentation.
About De Heus
De Heus is an internationally operating company whose core activity is the production and marketing of high-quality animal feed. Since its foundation in 1911, the company has grown from a small regional company to one of the largest players in the Dutch compound feed industry. Partly due to her rapid expansion outside the Netherlands, De Heus is now one of the top 15 animal feed suppliers in the world.
De Heus produces feeds in accordance with the guidelines of the GMP + quality systems. In addition, for the raw material procurement, SecureFeed participates in a partnership for the assurance of quality in the procurement of raw materials. De Heus’ head office is located in Ede. The Dutch production locations are located in Andel, Maasbracht, Meppel, Nijkerk, Ravenstein, Sneek, Utrecht and Veghel. Since then, the company has expanded from a regional feed company to a feed conglomerate with activities in more than 50 countries in Europe, Asia, Middle East, Africa and Latin America.
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