Beacon Foods Redefining UK Food Manufacture with Swansea University

August 30th 2016


Here at Beacon Foods Ltd we supply a large range of specialist cooked ingredients to major food manufacturers, food service industries, and small independent companies across the UK and overseas.  Indirectly our products are supplied into every food retailer in the country.  We have over 250 live product lines, producing 120 different products a day from a 36,000 square foot BRC Grade AA factory set in the heart of the Brecon Beacons. 

We take in a range of raw ingredients including spices, fruit and vegetables arriving every week.  Efficient operations are essential in consistently providing high quality products, on time, every time.

In September 2015, Jas Singh and Kim Trilloe from our management team signed up for the Swansea University led Skills for Innovation in Manufacturing (SIM) Wales programme.  They spent 10 months working on a continuous improvement system that provides real time manufacturing performance reporting direct to a wireless device.  The system allows us to increase efficiency by reducing downtime and waste, increase throughout to maximize capacity, manage seasonal and forced capacity issues, improve reliability and quality, accurately cost jobs and drive a culture of continuous improvement through the provision of accurate operations data here at Beacon Foods.

Jas Singh, Head of Operations commented:

“Traditionally operational reporting was a paper exercise, where it would take several days, if not weeks, to write up, analyse and review information from the factory floor, making it impossible for us to react quickly to production inefficiencies.  The new system has completely changed the way we work, sending live reports straight from the factory floor to my mobile tablet.  I’m no longer tied to a desk and can spend more time on the factory floor supporting operations on the ground.”

“The SIM Wales programme taught us, in a hands-on, practical manner, how to implement the changes required within our business, in order to embed the new system, with great success.  The skills we learnt were instantly applicable to our business – there were no exams and it was delivered using everyday business language, with very real industry examples.”

Gary Walpole, Swansea University SIM Wales Programme Manager, commented:

“The SIM Wales programme gave participants knowledge and skills around developing and implementing real time continuous improvement projects and I was delighted to see the impact we it had at Beacon Foods” 

In the first 13 weeks the system was in operation, here at Beacon Foods we saw a 6% increase in efficiency on the factory floor. 

Kim Trilloe, Head of Technical& New Product Development commented:

“This ‘Lean’ way of working is often seen as a threat to staff levels – in fact, we’ve managed to increase our turnover as a result, and are looking to take on more employees.  We currently employ 130 staff, and invest heavily in training our staff, all of which are employed on permanent contracts.  We pride ourselves on having a workforce with a willingness and appetite to learn, and be a part of a successful future with Beacon Foods.”  If you want to join our team check out our join us page.

Here at Beacon Foods we are also working with Professor Nick Rich, a specialist in Operations Management at Swansea University’s School of Management on a wider project to bring lean manufacturing to the UK Food Ingredients industry.