Aptean Food & Beverage ERP Case Study: Baird Foods (UK)

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Baird Food Services Integrated Data Approach


Food & Beverage


» Unable to scale fast enough to meet increased demand

» Limited insight across operations to meet specific traceability, QA and process control requirements


» Detailed yield, margin and mass balance reporting provided to customers every day

» Paperless QA and traceability delivering audits in seconds not hours

» Flexible system to support scalability and growth

» Make ‘in the moment’ decisions with real-time data visibility

Founded in 2005, Baird Foods Group has more than 40 years of experience within the meat and food industry, including owning and operating slaughterhouses, cutting plants and centrally prepared retail packing plants.

In January 2017, Baird Food Services (BFS) took just 12 weeks to turn an empty warehouse in Crewe, into a unique and fully integrated outsourced meat processing operation, delivering 25 tonnes of processed product in its first week in operation.

Less than two years later, thanks to its innovative business model, the company’s processing capabilities had increased to more than 400 tonnes of meat products a week, for high profile pork processors and retailers, and a range of key customers.

Baird Attributes Success from Day 1 to Full Integration of its Food Services Business

Nick Baird, managing director and founder of Baird Foods, spearheaded the creation of this new business concept that would offer meat processing services directly to its customers. Based around a business case for improving the yield, margin and overall levels of butchery, the success of its operation relied upon the development of a tailored and tightly controlled processing environment.

Taking on the challenge to get the site up and running within 12 weeks, factory manager, Kevin Horner had to plan out every aspect. Everything from water, electricity, telephones and machinery, through to a skilled workforce and systems had to be put in place. But with the ambition to achieve the highest possible levels of customer service at the heart of its KPIs, identifying a technology partner and solution that would centrally control the whole operation, was critical.

Aptean Food & Beverage ERP SI Edition

Identifying the Right Technology Partner

Kevin Horner explained the requirement: “With decades of experience rooted in the meat processing sector, both Nick and I had a joint vision for the type of traceability, QA and process control levels our customers would require.

“We applied our knowledge to specify a factory operation that would be managed with state-of-the-art processing equipment, a skilled workforce, and a software solution controlling every aspect of the end-toend processes.

“Throughout my career, I’ve had experience of using a wide variety of MES and factory software packages, and I knew where the gaps within these systems lay. As we knew of Aptean’s reputation within the food manufacturing industry, we invited them in to talk through our challenging requirements and timeframes for getting the factory operational.

Based on Aptean’s reputation for providing specialist software to the meat processing industry, combined with the team’s expert knowledge of the meat processing industry, we selected the company as our technology partner. In addition, we could see how the system’s built-in flexibility meant it would be straightforward to scale up to cope with increased demand and inevitable changes. With an innovative business model and clear vision for the requirements of how its traceability, QA and process control should operate, Aptean took on the challenge to deliver a complete solution for Baird Foods Services new factory within 12 weeks.

Baird Foods Services supply chain solution was developed in partnership with its suppliers and customers, using technology and shop floor data capture, to control every part of the pork butchery processes undertaken. For the technology partnership, the culture fit between Baird Foods Services and Aptean worked well from day one. Kevin described his impression of the relationship; “Aptean’s team talked the same language as we did, as they understand both the industry terminology and the cuts of meat we were going to be processing.” “This common understanding allowed us to move through the specification process very quickly; in fact, it only took a week to scope out a fully integrated solution - from raw material input, right through to despatch.”

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“By having this clear vision of a technology-driven service operation and through the recruitment of some very experienced people to help make it possible, meant that we were able to develop the concept very quickly.” Nick Baird, Managing Director, Baird Foods.

Shared Understanding Delivers Remarkable Results

“Again, this shared understanding, together with a robust specification, meant we were able to swiftly move to the implementation phase. Remarkably, Aptean completed this work in just 10 working days, ready for the first week in April, our target “day one” for the business.”

To support the go live date, Aptean’s technicians were on hand to train our new staff on how to use the touch screens and intelligent scanners, that would manage the key operational tasks in the individual process stages.

These processes included:

› QA for raw material intake

› Issuing product to stock

› Issuing raw material to one of the four production lines

› Conducting daily stock checks

Following completion of the processing phase, robust touchscreens and scanners were installed to manage product labelling, pallet build and despatching finished products.

End-to-End Digital Traceability with Full Mass Balance Weight Calculations

Aptean Food & Beverage ERP SI Edition designed a completely paperless solution with full traceability for Baird Foods Services, utilising real-time shop floor data capture, from intake to despatch. Aptean’s integrated solution manages every process, including weighing for mass balance calculations at the start and end of the production lines, and feeding the labelling solutions. “As all of our raw material is customerowned, total process control and transparent reporting are essential,” Kevin continued. “By choosing to integrate at every stage, we benefit from real-time monitoring right across the business - from intake to production and despatch.”

“When any product leaves our site and returns to the customer, there are three core principles which we always adhere to: yield, mass balance and traceability. These three principles provide our customers with the confidence that we always follow the highest standards, processes and procedures.”

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“We selected Aptean as our technology partner based on the company’s reputation for providing specialist food manufacturing software,and its team’s expert knowledge of the meat processing industry.”
Kevin Horner, Factory Manager, Baird Foods Services.

Daily Reporting, Complete Transparency

For complete transparency, at the end of each day, Baird Foods Services sends a fully compiled report to each of their customers detailing everything that has been processed on their behalf. The reports include data on raw material stock availability for the next day, WIP, and finished goods that are either in storage or have been despatched. Kevin Horner, factory manager, explains how every day Baird Foods Services is able to perform a full site audit in minutes thanks to Aptean’s stock controls and labelling technology.

Delivering Industry-Leading Yields Every Day

Aptean designed a set of focused customer reports for Baird Foods Services, containing complete traceability information for all work carried out, including yield and mass balance data achieved from each batch run. As Kevin explained, “We work to very tight tolerances to deliver according to the agreed customer yield and specification.”

“Our customers need to be confident that we will always deliver their orders on time and to the highest standards. In addition, they expect better results than they would achieve at their own factory, otherwise they wouldn’t have a reason to use our services. For each customer, we sign up to meet their individual designated standards on yield and mass balance, together with financial penalties if any standards aren’t met.

“The data doesn’t lie; our comprehensive, customised and automated reports, detail everything our customers need to measure our performance. In addition to yield and mass balance data, further detailed reports can be generated at any time for auditors. This provides our customers with full traceability and complete peace of mind.”

“One Version of the Truth”

Throughout the day, Baird’s line managers can use the data from Aptean Food & Beverage ERP SI Edition to analyse production in real-time and make changes to achieve targets, such as speeding up the line.

“In real-time, we can see exactly what is happening on the line and therefore make ‘in the moment’ decisions to ensure we deliver the best quality product to our customers, continued Kevin.

“We rely on Aptean’s integrated solution to collect, validate, collate and report on every part of our production process - from intake to dispatch. And by eliminating manual inputs and the possibility for human error to enter into the process, we are assured of ‘one version of the truth’ every time.”

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“We provide a service that delivers industry-leading yields. Thanks to the combination of our skilled team and our technology, we achieve yields of >98.5 %, all mass balanced at the end of each day.”

Complete Audits Delivered on Demand, in Minutes

With digital process control at the heart of its operations, audit delivery for Baird Foods Services is straightforward and swift. “We are able to audit ourselves every day and provide information to outside auditors in a matter of minutes,” said Kevin. “Our governance means that products cannot move from one process to the next, without appropriate intelligent labelling. In addition, everyone is empowered by information to continually improve productivity and quality.

Kevin continued, “For our business model to succeed, it’s essential to have a system in place that digitally records and recalls all of our data, in real-time. Using Aptean’s modular software solution, we can perform a mass balance and traceability report within the space of 10 minutes. This reporting delivers full visibility of every step of the process. “As an example of just how well it works for us, for our first BRC audit, we were asked to carry out a full trace, right back to intake. Whilst the auditors observed the process within a few minutes.

The auditors were shocked! They told us that they’d never seen a trace carried out so quickly, so completely, and with a mass balance built in!”

Driving Supply Chain Efficiencies

Baird Foods Services also uses its data driven insights to inform its continuous development programme and expansion. By analysing data, the processor maps trends as the business developed and customer needs changed. Analytics have also enabled Baird to share intelligence with its supply chain partners and develop solutions to improve the business. Whether altering equipment, or adding new labelling machines and technologies, this ongoing process has been vital to its success.

“We have even integrated beyond our four walls. Our customers can now login to the Aptean system to upload orders and review raw material status, allowing to schedule delivery of more stock as and whenever it’s necessary.

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A Partnership Led By Innovation and Customer Service

Commenting on the project, Aptean said “Baird Foods Services is a very innovative and forward-thinking organisation, that really understands their customer and their individual service requirements. In fact, their processes and service levels have to be superior to their customers, otherwise they wouldn’t have a viable business.”

For our team at Aptean, working with Baird Foods Services on this challenging project was incredibly exciting as the deadlines meant that decision making had to be swift and decisive. From specification to implementation, and right through to go live, Baird trusted our team to deliver the project, and from day one, they made it part of their day-to-day operation.

Since 2017 we have continued to work closely with Baird Foods Services to further develop the solution and the reporting, that has proved to be so crucial to the success and proof of the business model. They are now a shining example of how a business can be created by reaping the benefits of our real-time integrated solution and the tight up to the minute control and full traceability it delivers.’’

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