Derbyshire vegetable processing company AB Produce, which employs about 170 people at its 70,000 sq ft purpose-built factory, received expert technical consultancy to map processes and pinpoint ways of reducing waste and saving money.
AB Produce, which prepares potatoes and other vegetables for retail, wholesale, processing and food service, wanted to make efficiency savings by reducing the amount of vegetables it lost during washing and preparation.
They saw a barrier to future growth and the development of the business in the work flow problems within their prepared produce department. At the time they were packing over 500 lines with varying levels of demand and were suffering bottlenecks in the slicing, dicing, packing, weighing and picking sections.
Food and Drink iNet support
The iNet provided an innovation support grant of £3,160, which the company match funded. This allowed them to call in experts from The Food and Drink Forum and Food Processing Faraday. In order to create a smoother and more efficient flow they mapped the firmís processes and devised more efficient ways of operating, including how to make the best use of the space available and to re-train their staff accordingly.
The company gained further iNet support in 2011 and completed a project with the University of Nottingham to research the problem of discolouration in prepared vegetables - to further improve their yield and efficiency.
Following the work, AB Produce cut the amount of waste by around 50% - saving the company hundreds of pounds every week.
Martin McQuaide, operations director at AB Produce, pictured, said:
ďItís probably saving us several hundred pounds a week, so itís significant. The Food and Drink iNet support has been very useful. Obviously we have made efficiency savings but itís also enabled a forum for our own workers to come up with ideas themselves.Ē