IT underpins Northern Foods' cost cutting


IT underpins Northern Foods' cost cutting

Warwick Ashford

Northern Foods, which supplies millions of pounds worth of convenience foods to UK supermarkets each year, said this week it was using IT to underpin its strategy to cut cost and improve efficiency across the organisation.

Stefan Barden, who took over as chief executive in February, said that the company's strategy was to align IT across its manufacturing sites and harmonise alignment between IT systems and the business.

"Having systems structured in different ways might help an individual site, but it means you cannot transfer skills and learning, and you cannot look at the business at an aggregated level," he said.

Announcing revenue growth of 2.6% for the first six months of the year, as the company continues with a business recovery and restructuring programme, Barden said he was looking for a cultural change in the way Northern Foods views IT.

This meant a shift from automating old business practices to regarding them as sources of information on how to change and improve business processes to gain competitive advantage, he said.

For example, he said real-time information enabled machine operators to review each shift immediately and recognise easily what needed to be done differently to improve performance.

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