Meet the finalists 2024: Site Team of the Year

By Bethan Grylls

- Last updated on GMT

The finalists for Site Team of the Year 2024 are...
The finalists for Site Team of the Year 2024 are...

Related tags Food manufacture excellence awards me & my team Business

Six companies have been selected as finalists for Site Team of the Year 2024 – but who will be the ultimate winner?

Introducing Food Manufacture’s 2024 finalists for for the category of Site Team of the Year…

Charlie Bigham's – London Kitchen

Over 27 years ago, Charlie Bigham set up shop, inspired by his travels and love of cooking.

Today, the business has three core purposes:

  • To make delicious food
  • To build a business that people love to work in
  • To contribute to a more sustainable world

Over the last 12 months, the London kitchen team has not only embraced these purposes but taken it to the next level.

The London kitchen is Charlie Bigham’s Innovation Centre, based in Park Royal, Northwest London. Having been a part of the Charlie Bigham’s journey since 2006, it’s the birthplace of all the company’s recipes. In the last year alone, it has made more than 7m meals.

The kitchen has 200 full-time team members who boast a combined work experience of 1,436+ years. The whole site works together to ensure delivery of strategic activities to a high level. The team is made up of 11 senior managers; 32 middle managers, who run day-to-day operations; and 195 team members spread across goods in, despatch, preparation, packing, engineering, hygiene, and bakery departments.

Fuel Hub

Created by husband and wife Michelle and James Laithwaite, Fuel Hub was born from a joint appreciation that convenience and nutrition should be available in an on-the-go format.

From their own experiences with nutrition, with Michelle’s career requiring lots of travel and James as a former professional rugby league player, they realised there was a gap in the market for people that were focused on their macronutrients but didn’t want to compromise on taste.

While a relatively young and small business, this close-knit team have been hard at work on several projects, including its rebrand, site expansion and zero-waste transformation. Following its transition from a much larger production facility, the team has increased to 30-strong, with all operations houses under one roof.

On top of all these changes and significant investment into new machinery, the company has achieved a 5-star food hygiene rating. This has been a result of providing staff with extra courses to enhance their health and safety skills and introducing higher quality safety standards that go beyond the government’s own guidelines.

Moy Park – Dungannon

The Moy Park Dungannon site team says it’s on a mission to become the best poultry processing site, having completed one of its largest projects to date – a complex reorganisation and installation of the poultry cut-up lines.

The execution of this £6.8m operational investment was likened to ‘open heart surgery’ due to the complexity of the task. ‘Project Focus’ drew in team members from supply chain manager, the supply/demand management team, operations plant teams, general manager, factory manager, commercial colleagues coordinating with customers.

The team grew together during the project, which involved intense collaborative working and enhanced a special set of skills forged under pressure.

The plan was designed to have no impact on customer supply whilst delivering the installations. The project was completed over 16 weekends, was on plan and is now delivering the expected payback.

Pilgrims Food Masters – Attleborough

Pilgrims Food Masters are pioneers in chilled and frozen food development. It is part of the Pilgrim’s company which employs an estimated 60,000 people.

At its site in Attleborough, a team of 10, divided into roles of research & development and new production development, recently demonstrated great collaborative work during a major portfolio relaunch for a customer.

The development window was extremely tight, with only 13 weeks allocated to complete the work across 79 SKUs. This included the launch of four new tertiary brands, 43 new products and 36 product improvements across a range of categories.

The team went above and beyond to deliver on the project and set out clear areas of ownership and accountability which helped drive its success.

Regular meetings and a project ‘Master Schedule’ were put in place to ensure that site operations, planning and technical teams were also completing actions in line with the critical path.

Princes - Long Sutton

Long Sutton is Princes’ largest food production site in the UK, producing a range of canned products including baked beans, vegetables, fruit, pulses, pasta and meatballs. The site, located in rural Lincolnshire, is a major purchaser of locally grown British produce from independent farms for branded and customer own brand products. Long Sutton produces a wide range of can sizes to meet customers’ needs.

This year has seen the site teams within Princes Long Sutton focus on ‘canned ready meal line product / process waste project’, to increase line yield and reduce raw material wastage.

To meet this challenge, the team of seven invested time in good data analysis coupled with local experimentation challenging ‘status quo’ thinking. They identified opportunities within the value stream, which were then exploited with a combination of changes in standard working methods and technical improvements in the line.

The team's strength lay in their integrated approach; fostering an environment where cross-functional teams were working together, breaking down silos and opening up communication.

Solina UK Trading

The Solina brand works with over 18,000 customers in more than 75 countries, who hail from many different corners of the food industry. You can find the company in 18 countries, including the UK. Solina UK Trading is part of that umbrella and a manufacture of condiments and seasonings.

Its 14 team managers truly embody the meaning of teamwork, understanding each other’s strengths and recognising that they are united in the same goal despite department or shift.

This team has demonstrated resilience in difficult situations, coached and supported each other through personal and work challenges, and shown the power of collaboration with a growth mindset.

In March 2023, this group of managers embarked on Solina’s new ‘Insite Leadership’ programme, a bespoke development pathway mapped to a Level 3 Leadership Apprenticeship and aligned with ‘The Solina Way’.

Within six months, the business saw a massive shift in levels of self-awareness and proactive leadership, with communication and trust among teams strengthening.

Save the date: FMEAs 2024

The winners of all categories, including Site Team of the Year will be announced at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards 2024 in London on Thursday 8 February.  

Tickets are available to purchase, here.

The Food Manufacture Excellence Awards are proudly sponsored by our headliner Menzies, alongside event sponsors Quor, HSBC, and CAS Recruitment.

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