Founded in 2005, Fylde Fresh and Fabulous has grown from a potato grower to a processor with a £12m turnover and 70 staff.
Quality is crucial for the business, and in order to meet the specifications of customers it must adhere to stringent checks.
However, a reliance on a paper-based, manual system meant it couldn’t react quickly enough to problems and link quality issues to yields and suppliers, which impact the production and the quality going out customers.
Fylde also boasts sustainability and self-sufficiency credentials. Any rejected potatoes or peel goes into an anaerobic digester, which powers two CHP engines, producing electricity to power its factory and export to the local community. Meanwhile, the output from the digester is used as fertiliser for growing.
Simon explained: “Potatoes are an inconsistent product, so efficient QA checks are the backbone of our company and integral in the supply and performance for our customers.
“We have a list of 15 defects such as bruising, frost damage, and hollow heart, which can cause problems later in production.
“With largely paper-based and outdated quality checking processes, it took a whole day to realise there were any issues. By that time, it had gone through production and out to the customer.
“We strived to achieve very high standards but the manual data collection and spreadsheet-based analysis began consuming an incredible amount of time. Rising demand for quality and efficiency required more detailed data analysis. It became impossible to manage data without automating and digitalising the process.
“Without new technology to support our data-driven strategy the business would have started regressing.”