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Etteplan helps Meyn Food Processing improve technical documentation

Meyn Food Processing Technology is a worldwide supplier of solutions for the poultry processing industry. Solutions range from Live Bird Handling to Packaging, consisting of a large number and types of machines for the entire chain of poultry processing.

“Asking the correct questions is key” 

“Etteplan makes a difference in the quality and lead-time of our technical documentation.” 

“Why we make a difference? We don’t see each other as a business relation but as one family working together”, says Viji Ann John. “Meyn was one of my first projects as a technical author at Etteplan. As project leader I coordinate and lead the documentation process. It wasn’t a lot of coordination in the beginning. That gave me the opportunity to learn about the machines and be in contact with the engineers on the Meyn side. It has been quite challenging to understand the technicality of all the different lines and it is this understanding of technical information, along with knowledge of the documentation process, that makes you a better technical author.”   

It grows big 

Nina de la Motte, Team leader Manuals at Meyn, joined Meyn in 2014 as a technical writer. “I was also responsible for the content management system. Before that Meyn was creating content in conventional editors but from that point we wanted to create all documentation in a content management system. With a variety of machines and lines we are still working on that. Each machine has a user manual and often the machine has different configurations. It grows quite big. Most of the manuals are transferred but it is still a continuous project to make sure that everything is in the database. Together with Etteplan we increase the quality of our technical documentation and reduce the lead-time and costs.” 

Meyn operates in more than 90 countries across the globe but the development of poultry machinery started near Amsterdam, in Oostzaan, where Meyn’s head office is still situated. “We are a global company but with a strong family business history”, explains Nina de la Motte. Although the company has been part of the US company CTB (owned by Berkshire Hathaway) since 2012, it still has a lot of family spirit. There is a great willingness to look at what the customer really needs and to make a customized solution.” 

“Technical writing has an image of being a lot of dry writing and drawing”, says Viji Ann John. “But if you look at what is really going on into the design, what the engineers are doing and why, that makes it more interesting and enables us to provide real added value as technical writers. Most of us aren’t engineers ourselves, but when we actually get the whole view into the engineering world of Meyn we are, in turn, able to offer tailormade solutions for documentation.” 

Remarkable partnership 

“There is a close contact between the technical authors and the content owners at Meyn”, adds Nina de la Motte. “And the technical authors are skilled in asking the correct questions. That is key. Etteplan asks critical questions that helps Meyn to create high-level manuals. It is this type of collaboration that makes our cooperation so successful. It is more a partnership and that is quite remarkable for a relation between a client and a supplier. There is a flexibility with both parties and an eagerness to always achieve a good result.” 

“Technical documentation has undergone tremendous development in recent years”, says Viji Ann John. “Etteplan is moving more and more towards the digital world. When a mechanic has to install something he does not have to necessarily have a book in front of him. He uses a tablet and just clicks on what he needs. We try to reduce text and make it more visual. It is all about creating high-quality technical documents with clarity and reducing lead-time and costs. We let the specific question Meyn has to lead the composition of the team. We look at each project to see what capacity and skills are needed. Everybody can work on different machines but also collaborate together as a team, internally at Etteplan but also with the engineers at Meyn.”  

“The Technical Authors that we work with at Etteplan are professional users of Simplified Technical English, and of creating content in a content management system. That together with a well working partnership results in a high-level documentation produced in an efficient process”, says Nina de la Motte. 

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