Whitby Seafoods: a fresh approach to IT

Whitby Seafoods activated a stalled ERP project and in five months the revitalised change programme delivered £500,000 in business benefits.

Whitby Seafoods' activated their digital transformation in Digital Review workshops facilitated by Fluid. The leadership team gained consensus and traction on priority initiatives across data, business systems, IT and resources.

"There was a lot of enthusiasm and people came away with engagement in the process and the commitment to implement it. It moved up people's priorities, it became a project with a timeline, there was real traction. I wasn't expecting that level of enthusiasm for an IT project."

                                                                 Daniel Whittle, MD, Whitby Seafoods

 Whitby Seafoods got results in five months

The revitalised change programme freed people to focus on the important stuff - making delicious seafood products for their customers.  The Fluid and Whitby Seafoods project team worked together to:

  • Align digital and IT spend to business benefits and priorities

  • Give the business confidence to make the right IT investments

  • Establish a clear priority for IT with one vision and missions shared across the business

  • Rescue the stalled WERP implementation

  • Free up £500,000 of raw material funding


The biggest scampi manufacturer in the UK

In 2019 Whitby Seafoods were the fastest growing coated seafood brand in the UK, thanks to their ethos of continuous improvement and investment in their products, factory and people.

Over the last 10 years, they have more than doubled their turnover, reaching £60m in 2019. As the company outgrew its IT systems and support, Managing Director Daniel Whittle recognised there was both a gap in strategic IT leadership and a need for hands-on help with IT project delivery.


Challenges in activating digital transformation

MD Daniel Whittle was looking for solutions because business growth was becoming increasingly held back  and their ERP project had stalled. The sales team was frustrated by poor visibility of data. The Sage Business Intelligence reporting tool took forever to open and performed poorly while working remotely. HR processes and factory data were still largely paper-based.

Financial Controller Mark Teasdale had responsibility for IT but this was on top of his core Finance responsibilities. No one in Whitby Seafoods had experience in IT or project delivery. The sales team were focused on their customers. Their IT systems provider was focused on servicing Sage and the business wanted to move away from Sage.


Why Whitby Seafoods chose to work with Fluid

Daniel approached several consultancies, one offered fractional IT Director as a service, which looked attractive but lacked the project delivery element needed to get stuff done. Others looked like they had areas of specialism that didn’t align to the challenges Whitby Seafoods had. Daniel got the impression they would sell ‘what they do’ rather than thinking about what the business needed.

 “When we talked to Fluid they seemed to speak a similar language. They explained things in plain English, and we liked the fact they’re solution agnostic, and didn't come with a hidden agenda.

We had confidence they wouldn't want to just sell us what makes them the best commission, but would do what's right for our business and offers the best value for our needs."

Daniel Whittle, MD, Whitby Seafood


Gaining traction with a digital review and team as a service

"We couldn't employ just one person with all these skills and abilities, our payroll would go through the roof. Obviously we could try to look for all these people but it's far better for us that Fluid does it. We trust everyone at Fluid for their expertise and judgment."

Mark Teasdale, Financial Controller, Whitby Seafoods


Fluid started by listening to the leadership team in a series of interviews. They recommended and led a visual strategy workshop with the senior management team, where they started from Whitby Seafoods vision to leverage systems and processes to 'wow' their customers.

The Digital Review drove out agreement on four company missions around data, business systems, IT systems and project delivery resource. Together they identified strategies, business objectives and prioritised IT tactics necessary to achieve them.

"We had several eureka moments. We got to see everyone’s pain points and we had a healthy debate around prioritising IT investment, and that was really important. We came out of that room with an agreed list of priorities for action. Everyone understood what we were doing and everyone understood the backdrop to what was happening.”

Mark Teasdale, Financial Controller, Whitby Seafoods


Fluid team as a service includes a mix of roles from IT Director to Project Manager, Business Analyst, and Software Developer. Whitby Seafoods needed this full spectrum of delivery capability to deliver their digital transformation roadmap.  It means Whitby Seafoods tap into exactly the right resource at the right time, at a level of expenditure that was affordable and appropriate for them.


 £500,000 in business benefits and people’s lives are easier

In the five months since the engagement began the finance ERP has gone live, which allowed Whitby Seafoods to divisionalise the site at Kilkeel and freed up £500K of raw material funding. Daniel Whittle said there have been all sorts of spin off benefits including making people’s lives easier – not just within the finance team but everyone who interacts with them.

Whitby Seafoods partnership with Fluid continues, together they’re working to complete a 12-month manufacturing ERP project, and on the horizon is a hardware refresh and some business intelligence dashboards.


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