Food Manufacturer is Digital Business of the Year

Digital transformation in food manufacturer wins Digitisation prize for Digital Business of the Year in the Scottish Highlands and Islands Rural Economy Awards 2021.

The accolade honours the business that is ahead of the game in an area where investment in the region’s digital infrastructure is changing the way new products and services are developed and delivered.

The fish processing firm digitalised production and quality assurance in under 12 months with the help of Yorkshire-based consultancy Fluid.

“Congratulations to Aquascot, this award is a superb recognition of their highly-motivated workforce, leading change, building partnerships with us and other technology businesses. The senior leadership team backed the business ambition and deployed a dedicated a team to support delivery. This was a critical factor for enabling success as it empowered people to own business processes and be the custodians for change and communication with partners.”

Rob Antich, Senior Project Manager, Fluid

Aquascot responded to the challenges of coronavirus by accelerating their ambition to become a smart factory. They brought in digital partner Fluid 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 of Aquascot, said, “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 Fluid, transformed the factory in under 12 months. 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.

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 Leeds-based consultancy Fluid 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.

John Housego said: “Fluid 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.”

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.

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