Digital Transformation in Food Manufacturing

Scottish seafood supplier Aquascot has digitalised production and quality assurance in under 12 months.

This article was originally published on the FluidIT website.

The fish processing firm responded to the challenges of coronavirus by accelerating their ambition to become a smart factory. Aquascot brought in digital partner FluidIT Consulting to help them improve efficiency and productivity through delivery of a series of strategic projects that will enable them to become a fully digitalised operation within a five-year roadmap.

John Housego, Managing Director at Aquascot: “By the end of this year the whole of our IT infrastructure will have completely changed. This offers up a wealth of new opportunities for us, not only with our customers but our business tracking and awareness, and product positioning. In a highly competitive market, we will have the data to be able to focus on improvements and then meet the need.”

Aquascot in partnership with FluidIT have transformed the factory in less than a year. The benefits to the business are:

  • The production areas are paper free
  • Quality assurance is fully digitalised with a new quality management system Q-Pulse
  • The commercial data dashboards with PowerBI show actual versus forecast on sales and orders in real time. Time spent on manual processing and reporting is significantly reduced.
  • M365 is fully implemented across the organisation including a communication portal using Sharepoint
  • Aquascot has selected a new ERP/ MES system from software provider SI (Systems Integration) which will be implemented within the next three months
  • The business now has a digital roadmap, setting out a step-by-step process to achieve full digital transformation over the next three to five years.

“FluidIT had experience in delivering digital transformation for manufacturers, and the capability to do the kind of rapid automation we needed. And having the IT Director as a Service was attractive, someone who would get to know us and guide us, and who we could call on whether five hours a week or whatever was needed. It meant we didn’t have to hire someone full-time or learn it ourselves.”

Aquascot’s IT estate of legacy systems had evolved to include lots of manual workarounds, paper-based processes and difficulty in getting visibility of data. The business was at a crossroads, whether to keep investing in their current systems or look to buy new ones.

They engaged Yorkshire-based consultancy FluidIT to use their IT Director as a Service offering, as well as benefitting from the wider team’s mix of capabilities, from project managers to business analysts and software developers. The two companies worked remotely throughout the entire transformation programme. They used online collaboration tools and sharing platforms to deliver the projects. Due to COVID restrictions they were not able to meet face to face.

SME businesses in manufacturing and food processing are driving an increase in demand for this partnership model of support from digital consultancies. It’s seen as a cost-effective way to bring in both IT leadership and project delivery resource.

Follow Aquascot on LinkedIn for the latest news, recipes and information from the Scottish seafood people in Alness.

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