As I write this, we are coming to the end of further investment.
In October 2013 the last unit in our block came available and the opportunity to own and control the whole unit was too great so we took this on. It includes more offices and warehouse space. We have been incredibly lucky as the other units we have taken over have not been used that much so little was needed to be done to integrate them into the plant. This has been racked out recently to integrate it into the goods-in warehouse.
We have further upgraded the line installed in 2012 to increase throughput.
We launched some 50 products last month. To achieve this we are streamlining NPD – although are still catching up with some products.
We are now focussing on further streamlining production and staff development. We are coming up to our triennial ISO 9001 and 22000 review which will make July busy with 5 days of Audits alone.
2010 has been quite a year.
Some larger new customers joined us throughout the year and the market remains buoyant. We have used the experience to improve our processes and disciplines. We believe our quality and service is second to none.
Protein prices remain challenging with increases in January and March. 2010 was looking better but some suppliers are looking for further increases in 2011. I personally do not think the market will stand it and with the consumers having less money to spend the market could well contract, effectively being hit at both ends. So we are driving for further production efficiencies to continue to keep us competitive.
We continue to strive to give better service. We hit a record this year – getting an urgent order at 5:45pm on a Friday night and it was delivered to third party warehousing at 7:00pm that night. We do not offer this as standard!!!
The number of enquiries keep increasing but we are not really set up for smaller start ups so we have focussed on building bespoke products for established or rapidly growing brands. This is where we excel.
2011 is looking challenging but we are looking forward to it. We have a lot of plans afoot but will report on them as they come to fruition. We have moved most of our computers to Linux now (Ubuntu) with only one left running Windows. We now run windows as virtual machines to run this web site software and our accounts package only. As we get used to it we find more benefits than drawbacks. The main ones being security, effective spam filtering and cost saving.
We have started 2010 with a number of New Products to launch for customers. Staff morale is very high. We are keeping on top of existing production and meeting deadlines for the new products. Re-orders are the biggest challenge as we try to keep enough in stock to meet our customers expectations – we have had some issues with the supply of tubs which have been delayed with the snow and production difficulties – but the knock on has been delays supplying our customers – but they have yet to run out, which is good.
We see our role as to help brands grow through innovation in products and pricing in 2010. We are well positioned to buy competitively in a market of rising whey protein prices.
We continue to invest in the company – we have four new machines arriving shortly. We also try to manage our spend on technology, using Open Source products where possible. Our positioning in the market means we have to keep our overheads low and manufacturing efficiencies high to remain competitive.