Bulla demands the perfect in pallets. Bulla Dairy Foods is somewhat of an institution for millions of Australians, who have tucked into their famous creams, yoghurts, ice creams and other healthy dairy products.
The company was established way back in 1910, by Thomas Sloan, and if it could be made from milk, then Mr Sloan’s company made it. In fact the method of thickening cream he perfected back in 1910 is still used today.
One of the show sites for the company, is their relatively new Colac
Dairy Factory that produces creams, yoghurts, cottage cheeses, sour creams and other products.
Operations Manager for the site worked his way up from pallet stacker more than 15 years ago.
When the site was being built some two years ago, it created a lot of interest in the town. Many people had never seen a greenfield site grow from a grassy paddock to a fully-operational factory.
Bulla Dairy Foods has another factory in Colac, which dates back to 1922, and they make frozen yoghurts, ice creams and icy poles.
When this plant opened, it gave that site the space to expand and a number of its people from there have transferred to the new site.
Product is boxed and then shipped out on Loscam pallets. Bulla has been a long-established client of Loscam, opening their original account in October 1987.
All products go into storage at Bulla’s Derrimut frozen warehouse and are then shipped to supermarkets, industrial food users, or exported overseas.
Bulla sends out between 10 and 12 trucks a day, and pallet quality is highly important.
Bulla has a robotic palletising system with four robot cells, and if the pallets are not 100% right, Bulla has real problems on the production line.
The robots were installed after the plant opened to satisfy both OH&S and cost issues and prior to installing them, all products were boxed and manually handled.
When it started using the robots it did have a few operational problems. If a pallet had a loose board, or a nail was not punched down correctly, it was picked up via the grippers.
If a board falls off, it can hang down and even rip off those grippers. So Bulla got its Loscam account people down and explained the problem.
They were good, quickly identified the problem, and in conjunction with Loscam’s local pallet manufacturer and depot, the problems were resolved. Bulla also had to train people to look more closely at the pallets going through.
It was a learning curve. Bulla receives high quality pallets from Loscam and when one compares the issues of establishing a manufacturing plant from the ground up, the pallet problem frankly, was the least of Bulla’s worries.
According to Loscam, Bulla’s parent company Regal Cream, had been an early user of Loscam’s Hire Management System (HMS), and this was seen as a real benefit in eliminating manual dockets from the system.
To reconcile an account like this would normally require manual checking of 20 pages of invoices with physical dockets, invoices, etc. H.M.S. allows electronic reconciliation which greatly reduces the time and expense required. This is a real cost saving to the customer.