Located in Aewol-eup, Jeju, ECOJFOOD Co., Ltd. began operations in Room #502, Business Incubation Center of Jeju Tourism University in August 2014. CEO Jeong Seok-hwan, who worked in a U.S. bakery company in Seoul, realized during his travel to Jeju that there were not many products made with agricultural produce grown in the island and this fact helped him decide to start a company.
Most agricultural produce grown Jeju are shipped to the mainland.
I thought that if I could develop products using locally grown materials,
many high added values could be created.
Jeong Seok-hwan, CEO of ECOJFOOD Co., Ltd.
Although he had no connections in Jeju, he laid the foundation for the company with his colleagues. And ECOJFOOD has become a successful company by making products with locally grown and fresh materials such as carrots from Gujwa and nuts from Udo Island. The company’s products have market competitiveness by developing products with Jeju’s characteristics, like Mt. Halla cakes, Mt. Halla tangerine muffins, and Kanse symbol cookies. These products are supplied to 180 cafes, tourist destinations, and golf clubs. Recently, it successfully signed a supply contract with a famous franchise company, Coffee Bay, and has supplied its products to the chain since the end of 2020.
It achieved sales of over 1.2 billion won last year with “Jeju style bakery products” and has widened its business areas. Currently, ECOJFOOD is on a roll as it was designated as a venture company and HIT500 (Korea SMEs and Startups Agency) and obtained Jeju Island’s first HACCP certification for confectionery and baked goods.
Quality improvement through the implementation of smart factory MES
From the early days of operation, ECOJFOOD managed all production processes manually from order receipt to purchase, production and shipment. Because of this, small problems frequently occurred such as a mistaken shipment, delivery delay, recipe error, or production failure. Although those problems were accepted naturally in small and medium-sized bakery companies, CEO Jeong Seok-hwan had a firm belief that small companies should have smart management. To address this concern, he held many discussions, but the cost burden was great and no specific solution appeared.
However, like the proverb “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” Jeong Seok-hwan happened upon the smart factory support system. He went through the procedure one by one and received government support for constructing MES. Construction of MES could change the production system of ECOJFOOD dramatically. As production management became available through real-time monitoring, the company achieved good results and product quality improved. ECOJFOOD was the first company in Jeju that constructed a smart factory.
Smart factory is a better system for companies during their early period of operation or small companies with not many employees.
If it is introduced early in the factory operations, high performance can be expected.
Jeong Seok-hwan, CEO of ECOJFOOD Co., Ltd.
CEO Jeong Seok-hwan said his goal was to develop a system where giving an order and accepting an order could be performed at the same time and to integrate the system with existing operations. His challenge to become a small but strong company now begins.
Before and after the implementation of the smart factory system at a glance
ECOJFOOD has faced various changes as it constructed a smart factory that was suitable for the company’s circumstances. First, sales data that had been difficult to check became easily accessible through the implementation of
MES(Manufacturing Execution System)
A system that manages all production activities from
the start when the product order is received
to the quality inspection of finished goods
HACCP(Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point)
A system that prevents mix ups involving
harmful substances or contamination in each step from
the production of raw materials to consumption by end customers
certification process that had been made manually was changed into the smart touch system, which significantly reduced inconvenience. Also, production could be managed more smartly since the production schedule that had been made verbally could now be communicated through the public server.
Recommendation of customized products using sales data collected by MES
It was difficult to check the sales data since about 100 different bakery products were being sold. However, after the implementation of MES, we could check the data for sales volume and distributors for each of the many kinds of products. Through this, recommendations of products that customers liked were easy to visualize and development of new products reflecting customer trends became possible.
More convenient process management through smart recipe and smart touch system
Although we obtained HACCP certification, we had to manually check the documents step by step for maintenance. This process was not only cumbersome but also was the cause of many mistakes. However, since HACCP management was changed to the monitor touch method, things now go much more smoothly. Also, the use of the smart recipe system has made process management more convenient by greatly improving wrong mixes of materials.
Smart production management by real-time monitoring through public server
Previously, when an order was placed, the production schedule was notified manually or verbally. And, wrong information was provided or communication errors often resulted in production problems. However, these instances have been reduced since we now share production schedules through the public server. Processes are now monitored in real time and automatic mixing is possible according to products, so the production of defective products has also been reduced noticeably.
CEO Jeong Seok-hwan of ECOJFOOD reports,
“The Smart factory system has enabled us to achieve our goal of statistical management!”
QWhat made you introduce the smart factory system?
AI thought small companies could not compete with large companies in terms of prices. So, I thought our company should be recognized for its clean operations and strict quality control. Although we are a small factory, these goals became doable when we started using the proper system. Most of all, to overcome the difficulty of manually recording all processes from order receipt to purchase, production, inventory and shipment, I decided to introduce the smart factory system. Of course, there were opinions that the introduction was too early for the company size, but I proceeded, aware that it was important for workers to have a fair and convenient environment.
QWhat systems have you introduced and what are their effects?
AWe introduced the MES system to create an integrated production management. And we established an expanded MES by adding sales/purchase HACCP management while using the existing MES centered on production management. You can say that MES is applied to the stage just before shipment. This has increased productivity and product quality. And we can check data on what kinds of bread are popular and how much inventory we have. I think the biggest effect is that statistical management is now available.
QWhat are your future plans?
AI want to make an automated system where giving an order and accepting an order are performed at the same time To achieve this, advancements in MES are needed. To produce and supply over 100 kinds of products, inventory and expiration management as well as planning are important. And sales management should be performed well at the same time. Although the primary reason I run a smart factory in food manufacturing is to build trust with customers, smart management is the key. I will introduce robots or conveyor belts if necessary. So ultimately, I want to check out the production flow with QR code once customers place an order.
Effect of the introduction of the smart factory system at a glance
ECOJFOOD said they saw five effects through the introduction of the smart factory system. First, wrong shipments have been reduced by 50%. In turn, claims have also been reduced by 50%. Man hours have been improved by 20% and delivery compliance has improved by 13%p. This led to an increase in sales, so we could hire two more employees.
Field personnel of ECOJFOOD reports,
“Manual work has become convenient thanks to the smart factory system.”
What was the most noticeable change after the introduction of the smart factory system?
In the past, most work was performed manually or verbally,
but now, production quantity and production schedule are shared through the server.
Thankfully, we can now work with the system, not just with our senses.
Sim Won-tae, Executive Director
What about the smart factory system do you find most helpful?
Since data is entered automatically,
we can check sales data in real time. This is the most helpful point.
Using such data, we grasp the trends and can take directions for product development.
Kim Min-yeong, Assistant Manager
What about the smart factory system do you find to be personally most satisfying?
n the past, HACCP documents were all examined manually,
but now we can check them just with one touch.
Also, we can monitor the whole process from mixing to recipe in real time.
Im Gwang-wook, Director