As a third generation family business founded in Brooklyn, NY (by Salvatore Nicolosi), Nicolosi Foods, Inc., now located in Union City, NJ, has been servicing the New York tri-state area since 1952. Today, it continues to produce and sell products for the food service (retail and wholesale) industry on a nationwide and international level. Its focus is on high quality meats with careful attention to details—from sourcing ingredients to making artisanal produced products in small batches.
Nicolosi fully expects the industry to continue to evolve and that his company is ready and willing to adapt.
“I’m always excited to come to work and continue growing our business,” he says. “I’m also excited about our strong partnerships we’ve formed nationally and internationally. Two things have helped us grow over the years—using current technology and finding the right partners to keep us strong amidst big competition.”
For Nicolosi, technology and finding the right partner often went hand in hand. One example of that is its scale technology. For years, Nicolosi Foods was working with an old scale company. However, when traceability and technology changed, the younger Nicolosi says that it needed to find a new and more innovative partner.
“We were unsuccessful with our first partner, since they were focused on the medical industry, and were still trying to understand the meat industry,” explains Nicolosi.
Fortunately, about a decade ago, Nicolosi found the right partner.
Meeting the Challenges of Large Meat Processing Plants Through Traceability
Like Nicolosi Foods, Progressive Scale and Software Solutions, based out of Bethel, CT. Progressive, is also a family-run operation. Started over 40 years ago by John Russo, Sr., it was originally a scale company but Russo was an innovator and quickly saw the need for systems and integration. Originally most of its systems were in the manufacturing realm selling counting scales with barcode printers. Then it moved on to scanning those barcodes and collecting the information to pre-Windows computers. As technology advanced, so did Progressive.
“We eventually started doing the same in the meat processing industries and Nicolosi became one of our first customers,” says John Russo, Jr, integration specialist for his father’s company.
Progressive coined its meat processing software the Provision Processing System (provisionprocessingsystem.com or meatsystem.com) and it grew to the full ERP (enterprise resource planning) software that its sells today. The software now seamlessly integrates with Quickbooks and tracks slaughter and production for meat and fish processors all over the country.
“We control inventory, production, yields, orders, receiving, recall and much more,” explains Russo. “We have over 30 installations nationwide and this year looks to be a great year with about seven new clients ready for the first of the year.”
Nicolosi says that it was because of Russo’s knowledge, understanding and experience that he decided he was the right strategic long-term partner the company needed.
“This is something I highly value as it is our long term partnerships with our customers, vendors and employees that have allowed us steady growth and diversification,” he adds.
There were several things Nicolosi Foods was seeking from Progressive: traceability, yields, efficient invoicing and accuracy.
“They were originally using pieced together equipment from their previous scale company and were having a lot of troubles,” recalls Russo. “They called us and we replaced and retrofitted some of their equipment. They needed to know what meat went to who, how much as well as what did they have. This was their original need and it grew from there.”
As a result of using Progressive’s software solution, Nicolosi Foods can now reliably ship with traceability to the countries’ largest meat processing facilities and retail chains while meeting their stringent traceability requirements for our quality control and our customers. Today, they handle all of their inventory, production, ordering, receiving, shipping and scaling.
“They now have an accurate inventory from which they can run their business,” says Russo.
“They couldn’t be happier.”
Nicolosi can certainly attest to that.
“As a small family business with a limited budget, John worked with us and retrofitted our scales, changed hardware, implementing their scale program with our hardware and helped us with a payment schedule,” he says. “Our return on our investment far outweighed any risk due to increased efficiency. It strengthened our position with full traceability, our third party auditors, and USDA inspectors and most importantly, gained trust from our customers.”
Creating Smarter Weighing Solutions
As the scaling technology aged, Progressive wanted to be sure that Nicolosi had the latest and most innovative product on the marketplace.
Russo had wanted an indicator that it could fit into the wash down enclosures and had enough intelligence that it could send a Tare weight as well as read it back. Through a simple Google search, they came upon Australia-based Rinstrum, Inc. a global manufacturing company specializing in scale electronics. Rinstrum opened a U.S. manufacturing office in Troy, MI, in 2008.
“We called Rinstrum and they sent us a X320 indicator as a trial unit,” says Russo. “Once we got an interface figured out, it worked great. The technical support at Rinstrum was awesome; they helped me with everything without any qualms. We are very pleased. The indicator has everything we needed including wash down protection.
Because Nicolosi has always been an innovator, Russo says that they recently updated them with Rinstrum indicators in their enclosures.
“John wanted to find a more reliable and more durable device for a wash down processing application,” says John Lawn, vice president and general manager for Rinstrum. “They were having scale problems, specifically keeping the scales maintained and reliable. Their previous costs were excessive and beyond the scope of their budget. Not only did they want something more reliable and could handle the cold temperature cycling environment but also something that had the intelligence which allowed it to interface to their Provision Processing System.”
According to Lawn, Dan Fons, inside sales coordinator at Rinstrum, recommended the Rinstrum X320 indicator. The X320 is an instrument ideal for use in food processing, automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical or other applications that require reliable operation in extreme and harsh environmental conditions.
Several features that make the X320 stand out is a double ‘o’ ring seal and composite enclosure which provides superior performance over traditional stainless steel enclosures. The materials used in the X320 are non-condensating, optically clear, thermally stabilized and impact resistant. Equally important, they will not react to bleach or other aggressive cleaning agents used to sanitize wet food processing plants.
“Many people would look at the X320 and say that it has a poly-carbonate front which is optically clear but is just regular plastic,” says Lawn. “When we went through the design process, we decided not to use poly-carbonate because we knew it would react with bleach which is a common cleaning agent in food plants.”
Other features of the X320 include:
• Single front panel to protect the display and avoid leaks
• Capacitive keys therefore no moving parts
• No glued membrane to fail
• No traditional keypad to damage
• No external parts using adhesive
• Sturdy design with enhanced wall strength
Lawn notes that Rinstrum recently made improvements to the X320 with the addition of Waterproof bulkhead connectors and an encapsulated power supply which makes the X320 the most bullet proof wash down indicator in the industry.
“Both the electronics and the power supply are independently sealed to IP69K standards within an IP69K enclosure,” he says. “If for any reason the IP69K housing leaks due to water wicking up a cable, a loose strain relief’s or improper reassembly on the plant floor, it doesn’t matter because the power supply is now encapsulated and independently water proof. Additionally the electronics are independently sealed in a waterproof chamber inside the IP69K housing.”
This is a double layer of protection to make the Rinstrum X320 one of the most sought after indicators for the most demanding applications, according to Lawn.
Nicolosi adds that working with partners such as Progressive and Rinstrum has allowed his company to become more mobile, improve sanitation and offer better reliability. “It is people like John Russo and his dedication to always improving his product such as recommending Rinstrum’s high quality indicators as well as learning from each other and working together that distinguishes us from other companies.”
For more information on Nicolosi Foods, Inc., visit www.nicolosifoods.com. For more information on Progressive Scale and Software Solutions, visit www.scaleprogrammers.com and to learn more about Rinstrum, Inc., visit www.rinstrum.com.