Speaking to Food Manufacture editor Rod Addy after the awards ceremony, Zachairou said: "We've had a lot of hurdles to overcome and the team has worked really hard, so it's like the cherry on the cake," he explained. "We've managed to achieve a number of things we've been looking to do and [this award] is something I can take back to the team. The recognition is fantastic and the team really deserve it."
Zachariou went on to describe the family dynamic his team had and how it helped support the massive shift in production brought on the business in the wake of the pandemic, which saw production double almost overnight.
Staying true to values
"At the same time we were making sure we satisfied everything our customers want of us, but not [lowering] the quality," he added. "We're really working towards our values and my whole team, we walk through walls for each other and that's what's fantastic [about this award]."
Despite these challenges, Dalehead Foods has launched a number of new products while dealing with the struggles of limited labour and resources.
"We've rolled out a number of new processes within the factory, some developments completely new to us," Zachariou concluded. "So we've had to upskill and educate people as we went along while struggling with the restrictions of running out of space, less people and dealing with all the issues that COVID brought to everyone within our business."
The judges' verdict
Exemplifying cross-functional teamwork the company’s entry showed clear evidence of collaborative working and a hands-on approach to tackling COVID-19, power outages and a flood. This was achieved at the same time as maintaining service levels, boosting margins and improving health and safety.
“Great initiatives in the fields of sustainability, maintenance of customer service levels, increased output and NPD,” said one judge.
Meanwhile, Mondelez apprentice food technologist Kathryn Rose was named Apprentice of the Year at the the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2022. We spoke to her after the event in this exclusive interview.
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