Revelation NT Service and Advanced Revelation Provide Complete Foundation For Elite Spice’s Process Manufacturing Information System

Elite Spice finds the right blend with Revelation Software -- Thanks to Revelation NT Service and Advanced Revelation

Spices - they’re the common cooking staples that we use every day to make our meals tastier. Whether it’s a dash of paprika, a pinch of oregano, or even a couple of shakes of pepper, each cook uses his/her own intuition to add the right amount of flavor to a recipe and create the perfect dish.

However, during the processing and manufacturing of spice products, a far greater level of precision is required. Take, for example, black pepper. Numerous variables - flavor, granulation size, appearance, oil content, and more - combine to create a highly customized finished product with dozens of permutations. With more sophisticated spice blends and seasonings, the complexity is exponentially greater.

Elite Spice headquartered in Jessup, MD, is one of the leading industrial spice and seasoning producers in the country, supplying its products to the commercial food industry and private-label spice reseller/retailers. In business for 10 years, Elite Spice has earned a distinguished reputation as a full-service supplier of spices, spice blends, and seasonings, employing nearly 200 people at two modern manufacturing plants in Jessup, MD and Sparks, NV.

Precise Formulas and Specifications from a Seasoned Team
"Our products are highly customized," said Bob Cloney, director of MIS for Elite Spice. "Few - if any - are ‘off-the-shelf.’ We have to perform to our customers’ exacting specifications and provide for all of the subtle differences that they demand. Elite Spice’s manufacturing processes require extraordinary knowledge, planning, and coordination; and, Elite’s spice experts are its biggest asset. All of our products go through numerous processes before they are available for shipment to our customers. Our raw materials are mostly agricultural products, imported from third world countries, that must be cleaned, sterilized, and processed. Many combinations of grinding, blending, and additional processing are possible in order to produce a finished good." 

Providing IT automation for this custom process manufacturing environment was not simple, either. According to Cloney, typical packaged solutions weren’t viable options. "Since our business is so highly customized, finding a packaged solution that could accommodate Elite was nearly impossible," he said. "We needed a custom-developed solution that would tightly integrate with our unique and successful business processes. With traditional commercial off-the-shelf software, you are often forced to alter your processes to fit the software. You can incur considerable frustration and expense while trying to adapt the software to suit your needs."

Elite turns to Advanced Revelation
Elite Spice selected Advanced Revelation from Revelation Software to develop its management information systems. Advanced Revelation is a comprehensive environment for creating efficient, powerful character-based applications using a native linear hash DBMS that is ideal for managing variable-length data and text-intensive applications. Its unique multi-value data structure means that a field can store a varying number of entries, without any pre-definitions of field sizes.
"The multi-value architecture of ‘ARev’ was ideal for helping us implement information systems that support our production model," Cloney said, "because our products are ‘multi-valued’ as well. A seasoning, for example, might have a blend of spices or sub-seasonings."

According to Cloney, any finished product is capable of having many sub-products, components, and compounds. "When developing a product, we may not know what the final composition will be, so a dynamic and flexible database like Revelation’s linear hash is perfect for us. Compared to other alternatives, I was able to build more manageable solutions with fewer tables and less complexity. Virtually every automated process in this company has been built with tools from Revelation Software - customer service, manufacturing, accounting, product development and sales are all supported by a variety of integrated software modules developed with ARev and most recently OpenInsight. More than 50 users in both manufacturing locations currently access these applications."

Faster Performance with Revelation NT Service
Recently, Cloney migrated the ARev system to a Windows NT server. Since Advanced Revelation was developed well before Windows NT was released, Revelation Software created The Revelation NT Service to enable ARev applications to run more efficiently on a Windows NT Server. The Revelation NT Service increases application performance 30-50 percent and virtually eliminates Group Format Errors. Best of all, it is a "drop-in" solution, requiring no changes to the ARev application.

"Elite has enjoyed considerable growth and we are now processing millions of pounds of spice products each month. To alleviate the strain on our information systems infrastructure, we deployed Windows NT Server, Symmetrical Multi-Processor Hardware, and Revelation Software’s SMP-aware NT Service. We’ve been getting some terrific performance increases with the NT Service," said Cloney. "We’ve seen anywhere from three to four times better performance - and that increase in performance has held steady even as the number of concurrent users was increased. The NT Service also offers us the opportunity to scale our ARev and OpenInsight applications to a level that would not have been possible before. It was well worth the investment."