It’s well known in the manufacturing sector that increased efficiency and productivity are key to maintaining a competitive edge in a tight market. But more often than not, it’s easier said than done and getting it right can be a long and convoluted process.
With this in mind, Meadow Foods is undertaking its own ‘Journey to Excellence’ programme, with the aim of achieving manufacturing excellence and cementing our position as the UK’s premier independent dairy company.
So, what exactly does achieving ‘manufacturing excellence’ entail? Well, the ultimate goal is to create a way of working that sees zero accidents, produces zero waste, records zero failures with regard to service and delivery, sees zero defects in quality and has zero negative environmental impact.
The best way of working towards this level of excellence is by creating a culture of continuous improvement within the business, whereby all employees support and seek opportunities for improvement.
With the ideas coming directly from employees, the programme of improvement is more evolutionary than revolutionary, creating value through incremental and cumulative improvements over a period of time, as opposed to radical change. By chipping away at small challenges, the little steps and gradual progress add up to compound real improvement that make a real difference.
An example of one such improvement was the innovation made to our packaging for our Sweetened condensed milk & Skim. Replacing plastic bottles with a bag in box format allows the product to be filled without any air inclusion, increasing the product’s shelf life from eight weeks to around six months. The product is also simpler to extract, meaning that less is wasted and the bags are easier and cheaper to dispose of bringing environmental benefits too.
Yet, whilst people will be the main driving force, we continue to invest in our manufacturing sites as another essential means of advancement. Most recently, investments have included a £2.8 million injection into our Peterborough site to significantly increase the plant’s capacity, improve product quality, decrease waste and increase efficiency. We are also working hard to achieve ISO18001 for the whole business as part of our programme.
By making continuous improvement integral to the way that we work and by investing in our people and manufacturing facilities, we aim to continue to grow whilst continuing to improve. We appreciate that it’s a long road but we’ve already made some great strides in our Journey to Excellence.