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Seafish Brings Pioneering New Techniques to UK

UK - Seafish, the authority on seafood, has brought pioneering Lean Sigma techniques to the UK seafood industry for the first time with the first two companies to receive training reporting excellent benefits for their businesses.

The Lean Sigma programme gives companies the tools and techniques required to accurately identify and progress areas for improvement and provides a framework and statistical tools to create rapid transformation.

Foodvest-owned businesses, Young’s Seafood and The Seafood Company, have both achieved major savings and increases in production after taking part in the Lean Sigma training programme.

The specialised training has helped Young’s to increase sales volume of its fast-growing coated fish ranges by an extra 1,000 tonnes a year. The company has also improved production efficiency at a key line at its South Quay site in Grimsby by 35 per cent.

Within The Seafood Company’s Marsden Road site in Grimsby, improvements in consistency and accuracy of pack weights has significantly reduced the company’s wasted product. While in Fraserburgh, The Seafood Company has made substantial savings by increasing the capacity and production quality of the kilns used to produce smoked fish.

Paul Williams, Research Director of Seafish, said: “Seafood businesses had not been well catered for in terms of business improvement support and we knew that there were specific issues that could be successfully tackled. We provided match funding for this training in conjunction with the Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance organisation (FIFG) and also made our own personnel available to join the project teams.”

“It’s all about transferring knowledge into companies. If any other seafood companies would like to learn more about continuous improvement techniques we will be pleased to hear from them,” he added.

Pete Ward, managing director at The Seafood Company, endorsed the Seafish initiative and commented:

“The Lean Sigma projects have brought substantial improvements to our business and we wholeheartedly welcome this initiative by Seafish. The training of our staff ensures that the learnings are captured and can be utilised at our other sites.”

Employees carried out the Young’s and The Seafood Company projects as part of their training to Lean Sigma ‘green belt’ standard, and the first employees to successfully complete the training received their green belt certificates on March 18.

Seafish provided further help for the projects by seconding two of its staff to the project teams. Gillian MacLeod, Process Excellence Adviser, led the Fraserburgh kiln project and has become one of the first Six Sigma ‘black belts’ in the seafood industry. Richard Neligan, also a Process Excellence Adviser, gained a green belt after jointly leading The Seafood Company team’s work on pack weight accuracy.

Steve Lidgett, Operations Director of Young’s, said: “The Lean Sigma training and the projects undertaken clearly demonstrate that when you give people the tools they will take them back into the workplace and achieve tremendous results.”

The results have been so positive for Young’s and The Seafood Company that both companies are currently training their second wave of green belts.

A total of 40 employees have now gone through or are currently undertaking Six Sigma training at various levels, with the first certificates being presented to the following: Young’s: Steve Webb, Project Manager; Mike Tuplin, Manufacturing Manager, Kevin Hamilton, Engineering Manager. The Seafood Company: Andrew Couper, Quality Manager. Seafish: Richard Neligan, Process Excellence Adviser; Gillian MacLeod, Process Excellence Adviser (black belt).

the Fish Site Editor

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