10/09/2009

Meat Company Saves £470,000 Through Invest NI Programme

Invest Northern Ireland has helped Cookstown company Vion to save over £470,000 through a programme aimed at cutting costs and increasing profitability.

Vion provides a wide range of pork products to customers in retail and foodservice sectors throughout the UK and Ireland.

The company employed a Business Improvement Agent (BIA) for a three-year-period, with salary support from Invest NI, part financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

After evaluating processes throughout the business and identifying areas for improvement, the agency implemented new measures and exceeded his aim of generating savings of over three times his total salary for the duration of the project.

Commenting on the success of the BIA programme at Vion, Niall Casey, Invest NI's Director of Business Improvement Services, said: "A strong ethos of process innovation is particularly important during the economic downturn, when demand is relatively low and profit margins are being squeezed for many businesses. This achievement at Vion demonstrates that local companies which continuously assess their practices and make improvements can reduce their costs and increase productivity.

"By introducing leaner and more effective procedures now, Northern Ireland companies can continue to benefit from cost reductions and improved product quality in the longer term."

Mr Casey continued: "Our meat industry is well established throughout Europe, and by consistently improving their operations, companies such as Vion can ensure that foreign food buyers continue to seek superior products from Northern Ireland."

Seamus Carr, Managing Director of Vion, said: "As part of this Invest NI programme, we monitored energy usage levels closely and made a number of improvements to reduce fuel costs in areas where it was being wasted.

"Other unnecessary expenditure was avoided in relation to refuse disposal by refining our waste management procedures. We also introduced better maintenance processes, resulting in a significant reduction in equipment downtime."

(KMcA/GK)




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