Whitepaper available for download
The food and drink sector is facing an inordinate amount of change at the moment. How the sector gets to grips with things like the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, labour shortages and rising costs will be fascinating to watch, particularly given the sector’s position as the largest manufacturing sector in the country. The impact of these changes on everything from supply chains to worker relations and productivity are likely to be huge.
This is why this is an important sector for Clarion and at our most recent roundtable we were lucky enough to gather in one room experts from across the food and drink sector, representatives who brought with them huge amounts of distinctive and disparate experiences, ideas and challenges from their specific corners of the industry, to demonstrate how they have embraced what is going on, and what they are doing to improve their productivity along the way.
The one key theme to emerge from the event was that if you want to improve your productivity, or make any significant changes to your business at all, you must bring your staff along with you, ensuring you either include them closely in any decisions that are made, or explain comprehensively why said decisions are the right ones. Otherwise you might find any improvement programme ends up having the opposite effect.
Opening the roundtable event with discussion of his family business, was Daniel Whittle, CEO of Whitby Seafoods. Already one of the top scampi manufacturers in the UK, Daniel discussed the enviable problem of where you take your business when you’re at the top of your game – what do you do next? Daniel was interested in introducing some form of automation to the fishing fleet, to make life a little easier for those manning the boats. However, to do this successfully, Daniel recognised the need to work with the crew from one boat who bought into both the idea of automation and the different ways it can improve operations.
Another guest speaker, Jeremy Praud, Managing Director at LI Europe, which specialises in working with manufacturing businesses to improve performance, drive profit or prevent waste, agreed with Daniel. He says, “What drives productivity? People do. It all comes down to people.” Studies have shown that high employee engagement levels lead to higher productivity. And, as Jeremy showed, the UK is in actual fact a lot more productive than we give ourselves credit for – we’re the 8th largest manufacturing nation in the world, which given our relative size, isn’t half bad.
And our final speaker, Waleed Shihadah, a change management consultant for FluidIT Consulting, demonstrated how businesses can make the best use of their data to improve their productivity. Waleed explained that data collection shouldn’t be a chore or an after-thought, but should be at the very heart of manufacturing processes, as it can help manufacturers make the focused changes that are needed to improve productivity. Waleed also highlighted the fact that, once the focused changes needed have been identified, they should be done as a series of small, short mini-projects, rather than suddenly and all in one go. This is done to ensure any changes made don’t go over-budget, take too long or carry too much risk, but it’s also done to ensure staff are properly included in the change journey and don’t feel alienated or disincentivised by big changes they didn’t know were coming.
After all, as Jeremy Praud says “Productivity…all comes down to people.”
We have used the insights gained from our events in this sector to produce a whitepaper. If you’d like to read more about how the food and drink sector are facing up to changes in their industry, please download our ‘Food for thought’ whitepaper now.
Whitepaper available for download
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