Patates Dolbec: A successful transition to 4.0

Founded in 1967, Patates Dolbec inc. is a Quebec family business that has grown from ten hectares of land, one horse and a plow to become a leader in its field. With 5% to 15% of its stock exported to Ontario and the United States, it is now Eastern Canada’s largest potato producer.

A major challenge

By focusing on diversifying potato varieties and sizes, Dolbec ran up against traceability and inventory problems. Thousands of products were identified by hand, and keeping track of inventory was a challenge. What’s more, the lack of information led to losses and multiple errors. So it was time for an innovative technological solution.

A fruitful collaboration with Epsilia

Dolbec therefore called on Epsilia to integrate the TRANSFO solution into its production line. Perfectly adapted to the vegetable industry, it has optimized the management of operations, from potato reception to warehousing, via the production chain, input consumption and shipment of finished products. From now on, all inventory (warehouses, refrigerators and production components) is managed in real time. The TRANSFO suite’s traceability modules also enable you to track all your company’s operations.

Thanks to Epsilia, Dolbec has increased the efficiency of its processes and logistics, and thus its productivity. Thanks to the data collected through traceability, its managers have also been able to make better-informed decisions, essential to the company’s development.

Towards 4.0

However, certain operational aspects still needed to be improved. The packaging center was very outdated. Production lacked flexibility and product quality was inconsistent. In addition, the quality of the inventory was not optimal. This situation was exacerbated by a high turnover rate in non-value-added positions. Epsilia therefore proposed to implement the TRANSFO suite of production and inventory management software.

Mobile devices, RFID chips, an automated case packer and packaging lines, an automated refrigerated warehouse and the implementation of production planning based on orders received versus inventory are just some of the modules that have remedied the shortcomings that were undermining the company’s performance. Subsidiary Noovelia has also implemented an automated warehousing solution to make production autonomous. This has made it possible to optimize inventory with accurate weights, create boxes automatically, take physical inventory at night, and set up stock rotation according to orders.

Remarkable results

In total, thanks to Epsilia’s intervention, Dolbec has benefited from :

  • Production flexibility: it is now possible to wash one variety of potato and pack three others at the same time.
  • Consistency of product quality: each box and each batch includes information on its quality and size.
  • Increased production and sales.
  • Sharp reduction in staff turnover.
  • Motivated team in a stimulating environment for continuous learning and improvement.
  • Decision-making with the right information in real time.

We’ve gone from zero computers to artificial intelligence, from scraps of paper to mobiles and screens. The whole team worked hard and couldn’t resist change, even if sometimes it was tempting to go back to what we knew. Today, no one would turn back the clock!

Josée Petitclerc, Marketing and Continuous Improvement Manager, Patates Dolbec