Premier Foods in efficiency drive as SAP roll-out gathers pace

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Premier foods, Lean manufacturing

Premier Foods in efficiency drive as SAP roll-out gathers pace
The rollout of a fully-integrated order-to-cash system at Premier Foods’ grocery division is set for completion early next year.

The ‘full visibility for finished goods stock management’ implementation – outlined in the latest issue of Premier Foods’ staff magazine Being Premier​- will transfer several processes to SAP including stock control, picking and despatch at factories and ambient distribution centres, and proof of delivery.

By managing all of its finished goods stock in one system, efficiencies would improve, said head of logistics for grocery Chris Chaplin: "Following the successful implementations of SAP into our Rugby warehouse and Thomson’s warehouse at Okehampton, we have now agreed this roll-out.

“Once completed it will provide a fully-integrated process across the grocery division from order capture right through to invoicing."

Irish roll-out

The ‘Fusion’ programme to bring all of Premier Foods’ systems and processes onto a single platform based on SAP software has also extended into its Irish operations, said Premier Foods Ireland commercial director Steven Jones.

"To have alignment in our systems and reporting with the UK business will greatly enhance our operational capability."

Key benefits include integration of Irish sales within the main grocery forecast; replenishment of Irish stocks controlled by Premier's central supply planning and logistics teams (driven by UK and Ireland stock visibility); and financial processing managed at Premier Business Services on SAP, he said.

OEE drive

Meanwhile, the roll-out of Idhammar software across all of the company's manufacturing sites is also enabling bosses to capture and compare OEE (overall equipment effectiveness) and reliability data in a consistent manner, said group manufacturing excellence manager Graham Paterson.

Operational efficiency gains highlighted in the December issue of Being Premier​ include an improvement in OEE on line R at Premier's dry soup, pasta and gravy plant in Ashford from 35% to 65%; focused improvement programmes that drove OEE at Hovis in Erith from 60% to 76%; a 10% reduction in downtime on the Battenberg line at Manor Bakeries in Carlton; a 10% improvement in extruder efficiency at Worksop and a 23% waste saving and a 4.6% OEE gain at Hovis Glasgow.

The 'attack loop' approach to continuous improvement

Meanwhile, a new cross-functional approach to continuous improvement dubbed the ‘attack loop’ has also been rolled out company-wide in a bid to establish and share best practise on lean techniques across the group, said head of manufacturing for cake, Graham Cluer.

“Our manufacturing people have made this initiative their own. They have shown how, by getting people engaged and sharing best practice, we can fully exploit the expertise that we have in-house.”

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