Epicor Tropos Helps The Authentic Food Company Grow Into New Facility In Dundalk
Location: Manchester, UK and Dundalk, Ireland
Industry: Manufacturing – food and drink
The Authentic Food Company is a family-run company which supplies authentic world foods to retail and foodservice clients across the UK and Europe. Starting from humble beginnings in the mid 1980s, The Authentic Food Company now boasts two sites in the UK and one newly acquired state-of-the-art meal facility in Dundalk, Ireland.
With 30 years of experience, the company has built an extensive portfolio of own brand premium quality frozen ready meals and snacks, all of which are created by its team of award-winning development chefs. In addition, after acquiring its Dundalk facility from Heinz, The Authentic Food Company also works alongside Heinz® to manufacture Weight Watchers® frozen ready meals.
Focusing on authentic world food, the company places a strong emphasis on Indian and Chinese food products, continuing to innovate and develop these ranges to ensure its products are fresh and on-trend. In this constantly evolving and saturated market, it is vital that it has access to the right data to ensure that they can look forward and continue to innovate accordingly.
Incorporating all business functions
Before adopting Epicor software five years ago, the company was using SAP software and relying on bolt-on functions when it came to developing its IT systems. Whilst these systems were adequate at the time, the company began to realise the potential capabilities that a full ERP system could offer, especially when considering plans for growth in the UK and throughout Europe.
Supply chain controller Mandy Seabrook says, “A key factor for us when it came to choosing a new ERP system was ensuring that we had a system that could provide accurate real-time data. We needed to establish greater transparency throughout the business and whilst our previous systems were adequate at the time, spreadsheets had become a habit and we needed to streamline our processes.”
After researching the market, The Authentic Food Company chose Epicor Tropos to provide them with the end-to-end business solution they required to help with inventory and warehouse management.
Aligning manufacturing processes
After purchasing its new meal facility in Dundalk, Ireland, The Authentic Food Company decided to align its systems across all its sites and implement the Tropos solution at the new facility. The company felt that this alignment would ultimately increase cohesion throughout the business and increase data visibility, which was especially important considering the subsequent increase to over 300 different products.
With its increased productive capacity and over 350 members of staff now using the software at various levels of the business, aligning systems meant that the users could access one database in which everyone could feed into. Considering The Authentic Food Company increased its workforce to over 400 with the acquisition of the new site, the company can rely on the vertical specific functionality in the Tropos software as well as its shared database to ensure that each member of staff can gain an insightful overview of the company’s operations and inventory.
Seabrook says, “The Tropos solution has provided business benefits for the last five years and has continued to help us streamline our business processes. With this in mind, it seemed only natural to continue this at our new site. Whether that is through its barcoded location system, or improved data access, the increased visibility throughout the business is key to helping us improve both our customer service and our general productivity.”
After implementing the Tropos solution in its new facility, The Authentic Food Company benefits from increased cohesion which is especially important when it comes to preparing batches of orders and ensuring that any processed orders can be easily located and monitored across its sites. This was especially important when integrating the new facility as production and supply schedules needed to not only be cohesive, but visible to all relevant members of staff.
Seabrook explains, “What was really important for us was simplifying the whole system and increasing access to decent data in real-time. We now have increased traceability throughout our whole manufacturing process, which not only impacts our internal communications and efficiency, but enhances our perceptions when it comes to looking forward and planning.”
With ambitious growth goals for the future, The Authentic Food Company has the capability to monitor production levels and develop more accurate growth plans. Looking to become Europe’s largest manufacturer of frozen meals, the company can continue to rely on the Tropos solution to provide them with the data needed to react fast to any unforeseen events and assess their processes more effectively. Seabrook concludes, “With the Tropos solution in place we feel we have the support to help us achieve our goals of breaking into the European market where the supply of world food is relatively low. The alignment of software across our sites has helped transform our inventory and warehouse management. This is a progressive step towards sustaining a high level of customer service and ensuring that our processes are as streamlined as possible. We are already looking to Epicor to help us develop demand planning into our system and hope that this will be another progressive step towards achieving our goals.”