We're all in this together: Wyke Farms boss Business Leaders' Forum takeaways

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Dairy

A sense of togetherness and camaraderie, as well as the potential of automation to help upskill the workforce at the same time as boosting production, were key takeaways for Wyke Farms managing director Richard Clothier from Business Leaders’ Forum 2022.

In this exclusive video interview – filmed at this years’ event, sponsored by Columbus – Clothier explained that despite the chaos caused by the expanding number of crises, it was reassuring that all businesses in the food and drink industry were facing the same challenges.  

“We’re living in an inflationary environment and everyone is in the same boat,​ he said. “We’ve got to manage what we can the best we can, but at the same time it’s about working and using those relationships with customers to get all of our businesses and the whole food sector to a more sustainable place.” 

Automation potential  

Another one of Clothier’s takeaways from this years’ event was the potential of automation to help improve businesses. He explained how Wyke Farms had already implemented automated technology to help upskill the workforce while increasing production. 

“In order to do that we need to get our output per person up, so we’re investing in higher speed packing lines and technology so that we can do twice as much,​” he explained.  

“An example of that is we’re building a new butter dairy at the moment and we’re investing in lines that go anywhere from 80 packs per minute to 200 packs per minute, so we can effectively do twice as much with the same amount of people. 

Investing in people  

“That’s the kind of investment we’re looking at, but also looking at investing in further automation so we can cut down the training times to train people to do new, highly complex jobs.” 

Clothier went on to discuss the potential of robotics in the food factory, as well as give examples of how his business had been successful in their implementation at the end of lines.  

Meanwhile, challenges with the marketing of careers in the food industry, and the potential of artificial intelligence in food businesses were key takeaways for Columbus project strategy director Kevin Bull​from the Business Leaders’ Forum 2022. 

Related topics: Dairy, Operations

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