February 21, 2024 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm Statehouse Convention Center Little Rock
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Tiffany Mattzela
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CAT Squared

CAT Squared
Category II (31-55 Employees)

More than 26 years ago, the founders of CAT Squared emigrated from South Africa with a few suitcases and a dream to apply their process-control and automation experience to the food industry.

Founders Stefan Schoeman, Mike Sardinha and current CEO Vernon Smith landed in Arkansas, the heart of the American poultry industry.

“Our company has grown to support customers across the globe,” Smith said. It now has close to 50 employees and counting.

The company has been integrating software and hardware for poultry and meat processing companies for more than 25 years, including longtime work for poultry giant Cargill Inc. of Minnetonka, Minnesota. Cargill stands to save more than $1 million this year at two plants in China after implementing CAT Squared’s systems last spring.

“We are a continuous improvement company,” said CAT Squared Marketing Manager Kathy Barbeire. “We improve operational effectiveness and make our customers’ plants more profitable by giving them real-time visibility into plant-floor processes.”

A key to success has been CAT Squared’s employees and their “unique understanding of how to drive continuous improvement in food manufacturing,” Barbeire said. “Our customers often comment that our staff understands their business better than some of their employees do.”

The pandemic has created new opportunities as the manufacturing industry turns to automation to address its own staffing issues. “CAT Squared is actively working to help our customers achieve Industry 4.0 readiness with our IoT [internet of things] capabilities,” Smith said.

CAT Squared is the first manufacturing execution systems provider in the food industry to become an onboarding partner with IBM Food Trust, a trademarked and blockchain-enabled global network of food chain participants. It is also pioneering its own tracking platform designed specifically for the meat and poultry industries. Called CAT Squared FoodTrace, it offers full traceability to fulfill regulator and consumer demands, plus full transparency end to end.

“The technology we pioneer with our partners and customers contributes to a safe and wholesome food supply,” Smith said.

Previous Arkansas Business of the Year Honorees