Cottom Foods manufacture sausages and black pudding from their factory in Widnes, Liverpool City Region. The business employed 11 people in 2017 with an annual turnover of £1.2m
The business was eager to expand into new markets. Will Munro, Managing Director approached the Liverpool City Region Manufacturing Growth Fund for support. He said:
“Our products were performing well in our existing supply chains, but we were looking to start supplying OEM and major supermarkets. This would only be possible if we achieved the British Retail Consortium (BRC) standard.”
Will met with Phil Anders, specialist Manufacturing Advisor for the Liverpool City Region Manufacturing Growth Fund to discuss Cottom Foods growth plans. Phil said:
“The business was performing well but would need support to prepare them for BRC accreditation, which would help them to meet the exacting standards of the top tier supply chains. They would need support changing some existing processes, embedding this within the workforce and implementing a culture of continuous improvement.”
Phil worked with Will to develop a project scope, to bring in a process improvement expert to ready the business for achieving the new standard. 30% of the project value would be paid for with a grant from the Growth Fund.
Cottom Foods were awarded a grant of £3,060 and worked with Phil to appoint the best provider to deliver the project. The business achieved the accreditation in 2018. Will said:
“The support we received from Phil to get this project off the ground has been invaluable. We did not have the knowledge or resource available to implement a project on this scale. The investment that we received has been enormously helpful, but the guidance from Phil to bring in the right provider for the job was just as important.”
“A process improvement project can be a daunting project for a busy SME. Finding the time to review and implement processes can be impossible for a busy manufacturing firm that cannot afford time away from production. However, the benefits of improving these processes, whilst bringing the team with you are vast – improved efficiency, greater understanding and improved communication for the team, as well as the opportunity to win new business.”
Since being awarded the BRC accreditation Cottom Foods have won a new contract with Morrison’s to supply Squig (square sausages), a Cottom Foods Brand and increased sales by £230k.
“The growth that we’ve made since securing our accreditation is fantastic. This presents us with the opportunity to start supplying the big retailing firms and growing our brand with the end user. The future looks great, and I hope to see us introducing new products and increasing headcount by the end of 2018.”