noax Technologies and Portland French Bakery Collaborate to Allow for Paperless Picking

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Portland French Bakery is committed to delivering the highest-quality bread with superior service to their customers. noax Technologies is proud to work together and provide industry-trusted industrial PCs to a company who is focused on employing modern equipment to ensure fast service and deliver consistent products to their customers.

noax industrial touchscreen computer monitoring products in bakery application

A Portland French Bakery employee uses a noax S15 industrial touchscreen PC to monitor products and print labels in real-time

We quickly realized that staying with noax was the obvious choice.

The glow from noax Technologies industrial PCs can be seen from the shipping docks as trucks line up to make deliveries. At 2 am every morning, freshly baked breads begin their journey from Portland French Bakery’s facility, to hotels, restaurants, grocery stores, and retail outlets throughout the Oregon and Washington areas. Portland French Bakery’s goal is simple: to provide the freshest products possible to their customers. Portland French Bakery, a wholesale Portland based baking company, uses an authentic, hands-on baking process for all of their products and relies on a 120-year-old sourdough starter for their signature “City Sour” products. When the company began in 1985, the primary focus was based on an unheard of concept: handcrafted breads delivered to customers seven-days-a-week. Soon after beginning operations,the concept was quickly validated in the form of a distribution agreement with wholesale giant,Costco. Today, Portland French Bakery is now a family-owned and operated, regional powerhouse that produces over 400 customized sourdough, French, Italian and high-quality artisan breads at their Portland facility. The facility combines current noax industrial technology with proven baking methods.

Before noax

Prior to using noax industrial computers, Portland French Bakery worked strictly with pen and paper to track their production and distribution schedules. During the daily staging of delivery routes, the company was required to print a ream and a half of paper and place route information in separate binders by hand. Each product had a section in the binder stating where and when it needed to be delivered. Due to the sheer volume of products and delivery routes, the binders often became laden with mistakes and handwritten changes making it difficult for the employees in the packaging areas to read and decipher. With these challenges in mind, Portland French Bakery eventually decided that manually staging each route was becoming exceedingly time-consuming. As part of their constant effort to improve lead times and customer experiences, they began searching for a combined hardware and software solution to optimize their order and product picking processes within their facility.

Paperless picking

In 2007, Portland French Bakery found an international software company specializing in order picking and distribution solutions for the baked goods industry. The software compromises of a central software solution, capable of completing all picking processes in an accelerated, but straightforward approach. When it came to hardware, the software company chose noax Technologies, their preferred hardware partner in Europe for more than 15 years. noax Technologies, a German original equipment manufacturer (OEM) of industrial PCs, offers rugged and reliable hardware guaranteed to withstand harsh environments and hygienic conditions. noax was also considered to be the ideal vendor of choice thanks to the additional full service and support they offer at their Charlotte, NC office. Shortly after making the decision to begin implementing the software in combination with noax hardware, Portland French Bakery took delivery of their first S12 stainless steel industrial computers. Manufactured with industrial-grade components, the S12 features a fully stainless steel construction, IP65 protection rating, 12-inch TFT display, a wide variety of interfaces, and easy-to-use resistive analog touchscreen display. The S12 industrial PCs had no issues withstanding the constant flour, dust, and mineral oil present in Portland French Bakery’s production facility. Once implemented, the noax industrial computers made an immediate impact, allowing Portland French Bakery to drastically increase their efficiency and accuracy associated with packaging and distributing products by each route. Due to the real-time information offered, Portland French Bakery has been able to reach new heights in regard to distribution quality and speed. They can now stage and review product distribution routes and information, quickly implement changes as necessary, and offer their customers significantly shorter lead times, including next-day delivery. 10 years with noax After more than 10 years of continuous 24/7 operation, Portland French Bakery began to consider upgrading their industrial touchscreen PCs in late 2016 to gain the additional performance necessary to run more modern operating systems. Prior to updating their hardware, the IT department contemplated evaluating other industrial PCs on the market. It was during these initial discussions that they began to realize the extent of the reliability and dependability they had enjoyed from noax industrial computers over the past decade. According to Portland French Bakery’s Operations Manager, “We realized that the noax PCs had lasted us 10 years, which in the baking business is a very long and useful life. During that time, the industrial PCs were in operation every single day. Based on this fact, we quickly realized that staying with noax was the obvious choice.” Thanks to noax industrial touchscreen computers and the optimized picking software, Portland French Bakery now operates with a completely paperless distribution system. Due to the increased efficiencies offered by noax hardware and the software solution, Portland French Bakery is now able to take orders until 10 am for next-day deliveries. Accordingly Portland French Bakeries’ Operations Manager, “Every loaf off the line has a home the next day.”

Information at your fingertips

As the upgrades were completed in late 2016 and early 2017, Portland French Bakery added new S12 and S15 industrial computers to their operations. The S15 features a slightly larger 15-inch touchscreen display allowing for the product picking and distribution software to be clearly displayed for workers on the facility floor. In addition, both the S12 and S15 industrial PCs contain the latest noax N11 generation all-in-one proprietary mainboard. The N11 mainboards have improved performance and feature Intel Core i3 and Core i7 CPUs. With multiple interfaces and expansion options available including DVI, USB 3.0, RS-232, fullsize PCI or PCI Express, and onboard mini-PCI Express slots, the new units are easily integrated with Portland French Bakery’s existing peripherals while offering the ability to adapt to future needs if necessary. With the additional performance, faster interfaces, and expandability options offered, Portland French Bakery is confident that their new rugged noax industrial PCs will survive another 10 years.

Advanced technology

The challenge of communicating data across several areas of a company can be simplified with the appropriate hardware and software combination. By working with noax industrial PCs and the appropriate order picking software, Portland French Bakery is able to eliminate the tedious use of pen and paper, and automate processes to improve distribution quality. While Portland French Bakery may use old-fashioned baking methods, they strive to consistently innovate their facility and equipment using cutting-edge technology and reliable noax hardware.

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