Regional Food Groups are supported by Scotland Food & Drink and local authorities across the country to support and promote the wonderful food & drink products and businesses we have. Great Perthshire is run by GrowBiz who can bring their experience of creating strong peer networks to support the food growers, manufacturers, specialist retailers and hospitality businesses in the area.
As work at Innovate continued but with an end beginning to come into sight, it was refreshing to engage with a new client and a very different project. Supply Chain Scotland will be working for Finnebrogue Artisan, supporting the implementation of a new Sales and Operations Planning process and providing mentoring to a key staff member transitioning into a new role. Great to get involved with a new business, meet the staff and begin to find out how it works and the opportunities to create improvement.
The requirement for business support at Innovate Foods remained consistent during this period, covering logistics, stock control and procurement as the team there was stretched thin. There was also remaining follow up and improvement activity for the SAP project, such as implementing EDI with key customers and integrating to the SAP system.
October – December 2022
It was expected that the Innovate Foods project would come to an end during this period, but in fact it remained a full time engagement, between supporting the business as SAP became embedded, and also taking on an interim role managing the warehouse and logistics team as the company sought to recruit into the position permanently.
Innovate Foods went live with SAP Business One at August month end and launched into a period of “hypercare” for the first month supported by the external software consultants from Be One Solutions and also with some assistance from the Frostkrone Germany team. There was a steep learning curve as staff across the business got up to speed with performing their work using SAP, particularly in operational areas of the business that hadn’t been covered by the previous system. As is often the case, reporting had been left aside so there were some challenges as people learned where to find the information they needed, but on the whole the go-live went smoothly particularly considering the small team.
March – August 2022
Work continued apace on the Innovate Foods ERP project with system configuration and data preparation the main focus in the earlier months, then equipment set up, system testing and training. The go live date had been set for June but the decision was made to push it back to the end of September to allow more time for staff training and readiness. As is usual in projects like this, there was a huge amount of focus required to ensure the new system would work as intended and that the company staff were ready to switch to using it.
Other work was necessarily limited during this time, with just the completion of the NHS Scotland project on LFD distribution in March and a small project on export administration in May with Starrett UK, which I was able to bring in an associate to deliver.
Another month split between Innovate ERP, Heriot Watt course writing and NHS work – plus a week on vacation. Pushed out of my comfort zone by appearing in front of the camera being filmed for the online course this month, but as always I was very well looked after by the Heriot Watt media team. Finally wrapped up the final modules at the end of the month, writing the course has been a fascinating experience but also a lot of work. It feels like a considerable achievement to have delivered all of the content.
Straight into a hectic month of ERP workshops and system definition and configuration at Innovate Foods. The workshop attendees were somewhat disrupted by Covid but a core of consultants and staff were able to attend to identify gaps between the Frostkrone SAP template and Innovate’s business processes. Continuing to fine tune the final modules of my Heriot Watt course, and begin another short NHS Scotland project meant there wasn’t much spare capacity!
Although activity eased up on the Innovate Foods project as their focus was on delivering the key Christmas trading period, it was another busy month completing the NHS Scotland work on PPE distribution, and pushing towards completion on my Heriot Watt / Edinburgh Business School course creation with three more modules finished off ready for publication. Merry Christmas to all readers!
More of the same this month with most time spent on Innovate and Edinburgh Business School activity. Enjoyed another foreign trip, to Portugal to visit Be One Solutions, the SAP implementation partner for the Innovate project. And towards the end of the month, the opportunity to do a short investigative project for NHS Scotland came up. A busy month!
The month started well with a trip to Germany to visit Frostkrone’s manufacturing plant in Rietberg, near Paderborn. After such a long time without travelling, it was really nice to visit a different country and experience another culture again. The rest of the month was mainly focused on the Innovate project and continuing course development for Edinburgh Business School.
Another new project started this month, which will be my main activity for the next few months, working for Innovate Foods on their business systems replacement project.
Innovate became part of the Frostkrone Food Group last year and the project is to roll out their implementation of SAP Business One currently being launched at their German sites, to Innovate and their other companies in the UK, France and USA. This promises to be an interesting project, and this month the focus was on induction and working out how the business currently operates.
Final meetings this month with the 4 students whose research project I’ve been supervising on Heriot Watt’s MSc Logistics and Supply Chain Management course. It was a really rewarding experience to support them from initial idea, through research and methodology, to discussion and conclusion of their dissertation, and really see the work evolve and their ideas take shape. Work on content creation for Edinburgh Business School intensified and GrowBiz activity has reduced slightly.
Summer holiday time, so nice to take some time off work with a family visit to Abersoch and the Llyn peninsula in Wales and a few days fishing in Assynt. Some long travelling in between, which was an experiment in trip planning for the electric vehicle but went pretty seamlessly. Catching up on return with continuation of the same activities as last month.
A real variety of work this month with a mix of supply chain support for LS Starrett, content development for Edinburgh Business School and some Smart Village and Enterprise Facilitation work for GrowBiz.
Completing and presenting the LS Starrett Supply Chain Review was the main focus of the beginning of the month and it was very gratifying to be asked to continue to provide support in this area in the coming months. Work on delivering content for Edinburgh Business School‘s online courses also got under way which promises to be an interesting process, working with the content delivery and media production teams there.
Performing a review of supply chain activities for leading global tool manufacturer LS Starrett was a great project to be involved with this month. There were a few interesting aspects around planning and logistics to be considered. Data collection and analysis and process mapping workshops with key team members helped define the challenges and inform proposed solutions.
Another busy month, completing Expert Help assigments for Business Gateway Tayside ahead of the end of the financial year, as well as working on REDS, Smart Village and Enterprise Facilitation for GrowBiz and keeping academic activity going as well.
Exciting news towards the end of the month, securing a new project to review logistics for the UK arm of a global tool manufacturer.
Work on the Smart Village projects was to the fore this month, with the launch of Meigle & Ardler Smart Village and work ongoing on a few others that are moving closer to fruition.
It was good to get the Heriot Watt project under way and meet the international students, and get the first few interviews on the effect of Covid on UK Manufacturing Industry completed for Strathclyde.
Another new year begins, and who knows what this one will bring? It can be tempting to avoid planning when global / societal and market conditions are so uncertain, but I would argue that at times like these it’s more important than ever to stick to your planning cycles, set goals and objectives and put plans in place to work towards them. That means that when inputs change, you have a good baseline plan to measure from, and can review and adjust appropriately to respond to the changes.
The REDS networking and learning sessions this month focused on goal setting and were well attended, engaging events. That sense of community is really building among the REDS membership which is great to see. We’d still like to expand the membership so if you or somebody you know runs a rural business, please consider/encourage joining or if you’d like to know more, get in touch.
Two new projects started for me this month, with Edinburgh Business School/Heriot Watt University and the University of Strathclyde. I hadn’t really considered the academic sector as a target market for Supply Chain Scotland but these are both interesting projects to get involved in and contribute to.
Great to start working with another new client, to perform a review of the production planning process and tools at Broxburn Bottlers. Actually being able to work on site rather than remotely as most other work has been this year was a novelty, and it is always fascinating to learn about another business, find out about the common challenges and those that are more unique, and start devising solutions.
It was nice to round off the working year signing off the end of my contract with Appetite for Angus by attending their Festive Market at Hospitalfield in Arbroath. Good to catch up with the producers there as well as picking up some of their amazing food to enjoy over the holidays!
Another exciting milestone in the REDS initative this month, with the launch of the REDS rural gift card scheme. As well as creating the communications explaining the benefits and recruiting members to join up, there was some fun getting out and about with the giant card to get some publicity shots for the press launch.
November also saw the start of a new Business Gateway Expert Help assignment with Wilde Mode, a designer and maker of gender inclusive sensory friendly underwear based in Dundee.
Alongside continuing work on Smart Village projects, something new this month was working with associate Jamie Buchanan on a contract for NHS Scotland Supply Chain – a really interesting project with a high workload and a fairly short timescale. Lots of research and market assessment, analysis, drawing conclusions and reporting.
Scotland Food and Drink announced support for Regional Food Groups around the country and it was great to be involved in putting together the successful bid for Appetite for Angus as well as attending the Beer & Berries festival during #ScotFoodFort20, representing the group and spreading the word about what it aims to achieve.
I’ve started getting more involved in the Smart Village Scotland project at GrowBiz so this month involved a lot of work getting up to speed on that as the existing project manager steps back, and bringing the latest Smart Village, Perthshire Adventure, an innovative group of adventure providers in Highland Perthshire, to launch at the end of the month.
Whilst things are still very difficult in many areas of the economy, there are some green shoots of recovery in others as lockdown has eased and some semblance of normality has started to emerge. There is certainly evidence from within our own client base of organisations realising that for the foreseeable future this is the “new normal” and projects which have been on hold getting under way.
At Supply Chain Scotland, this has meant progressing a process and systems review for Ooni, the market leaders in outdoor pizza ovens, and providing some mentoring for a KTP associate at Abertay University.
The REDS project also continued apace with the Directory going live towards the end of the month. Check it out here.
Something a little different this month as we undertook a project investigating subcontract manufacturer options for a fast-growing sauerkraut brand. This involved firstly finding out the peculiarities of the manufacturing process, and researching the market to identify potential partners, before engaging with them. Then having established those with interest, capability and capacity, creating a tender/briefing document and collating the results before feeding back to the client.
As well as continuing work on the REDS project, with focus on the Crowdfunder activity, I also managed to have a week on holiday in Gairloch, playing my own part in directly boosting the rural economy!
All areas of the economy have been badly impacted by the Coronavirus crisis and lockdown of society, but the rural economy has been particularly hard hit, with a reliance on tourism business that stopped entirely, and a higher proportion of micro businesses and self employed than in the rest of the country.
GrowBiz launched an ambitious multifaceted project aimed at supporting rural organisations across Scotland which I have been project managing, the Rural Enterprise Directory Scotland (REDS) project. Lots of activity on that in June, along with supporting rural clients to access the available Covid funding schemes and adapt their businesses where possible.
The Coronavirus Covid19 crisis has disrupted global supply chains considerably, with high profile failures in global manufacturing, some consumer goods (notably toilet roll, flour and pasta) and PPE equipment for healthcare and essential workers.
As well as those high profile cases, large swings in demand and supply at local level are having considerable impact as some businesses continue to operate while others are closed. Consumer demand has also undergone massive changes as countries impose lockdowns and shopping habits change.
As lockdowns are eased and some form of normality resumes, demand fluctuations are likely to continue and some of the changes in consumer habits may not be reversed. Keeping closely engaged with customers and suppliers is crucial, and adopting strategies that allow you to be agile and respond quickly to changes will pay dividends.
If you haven’t already, now is a good time to review your supply chain resilience and perform some supply chain mapping. We can help guide you or facilitate that – get in touch if you’d like to discuss it.
Business Gateway Tayside asked me to host a webinar on the Supply Chain impact of the Coronavirus crisis. There were a wide range of attendees from across Scotland and further afield. I presented some content on supply chain risk and resilience, dealing with demand and supply challenges, and the importance of planning during times of great uncertainty, followed by a Q&A session. A copy of the slides is available here.
I’ve been working with Appetite for Angus, a new group advocating food producers, food tourism and hospitality in the Angus region. Some of this is brand awareness and marketing activity but there are also workstreams looking at shared distribution and shortening supply chains to engage local consumers and producers.
Something a bit different, I’ve spent a few days last month and this month with Clan Pods helping review their operations and advising on prioritisation, as part of Business Gateway’s Expert Help service. Interesting project and people, with some ambitious and innovative plans, it will be fascinating to see how they develop.
Also managed to squeeze in a great week skiing in the Alps 🙂
Happy New Year! Some new networking for the new year (and decade), joined the Perth 100 and attended some GrowBiz and Business Gateway events. Always good to meet people and make connections.
Surprised and pleased to be featured in The [Dundee] Courier this month, nice to get a bit of good PR!
Honoured and pleased to be asked to be on the panel for Sancroft International’s discussion relating to their recent report on supply chain disruption and sustainability, alongside Supply Chain leaders from the fashion and publishing industries. With a mix of attendees from the financial, sustainabilty reporting and other sectors it was a lively and varied discussion, really interesting to be involved and add my thoughts and experience to the conversation.
Also joined GrowBiz‘s award winning mentoring program this month, and upskilled myself on digital manufacturing at the University of Strathclyde National Manufacturing Institute Scotland.
Although it’s been in development for a couple of months, October saw the launch of Supply Chain Scotland – an exciting time!