A family-owned business based in Downpatrick, Northern Ireland, Finnebrogue is one of the UK’s leading food producers. They produce premium sausages, venison, bacon, ham, wagyu beef and premium vegan products across four state-of-the-art sites, supplying several major retailers. Learn how they digitally transformed their business in this case study.

As innovators in the food sector, Finnebrogue are always on the lookout for new approaches. Projects they have invested in include sustainable initiatives to improve energy security and a partnership with Ivy Farm to bring the first commercially available cultivated wagyu beef burgers to market. But perhaps their most significant transformation has been their decision to digitise the business. 

The new approach to supplier management has enabled:

  • The trending of data in real time on the factory floor, with no more failed audits

  • Efficient management of 300+ suppliers across 4 sites

  • The launch of a new vegan factory handling 200+ new ingredients, without additional resource.

A new approach to supplier management 

Before making the decision to go digital, Finnebrogue was managing its technical systems manually using Excel, relying heavily on manual intervention. For us,” explains Finnebrogue’s Head of Technical, Laura Robinson, “innovation isn’t just about food. It's about every part of the business – and how we can improve it. So, we want our systems to be the best. That's why we knew we had to digitally transform the way we worked.” 

"Innovation isn’t just about food. It's about every part of the business – and how we can improve it." - Laura Robinson, Head of Technical

Overcoming supply chain challenges 

One of the major challenges Finnebrogue was facing was the management of its supplier data. Using spreadsheets meant that data access was difficult, and since there was no centralised place to access up to date information. The business impact of this was time wasted on administration and resourcing. Reporting capability, data collection and trending were also slow, making it difficult to monitor supplier compliance. The result? Risk to their supply chain and their customer relationships. 

A step-by-step approach to digital transformation 

The end goal was to digitise Finnebrogue’s supplier management to enable automation of manual processes via centralised up-to-date data. The first step in this journey was to digitise the approval process for their 300-plus suppliers, removing time-consuming email chains. Next up was digitising factory floor audits, reducing human error and data double handling. Then the final step was introducing Foods Connected's Specification Manager to remove any back and forth on specifications. 

Working with Foods Connected to digitise, Finnebrogue has been able to implement processes that ensure their entire supply chain stays compliant and audit ready. Laura Robinson says this transition has been transformative. “Digitising has been a core benefit for the business. We've saved so much time and it's so much easier for us now to report and trend.”

“Digitising has been a core benefit for the business. We've saved so much time and it's so much easier for us now to report and trend.” - Laura Robinson, Head of Technical

Across the business, hours previously spent on paperwork are now available for other activities. Compliance reports can now be completed in a fraction of the time. “It frees up my team,” she explains. “ Data can be automatically produced using the Foods Connected platform, releasing people to concentrate on business performance and exploring how we can improve our offer.” 

Confident, consistent and connected 

“Everything is just easier now that we work with Foods Connected,” says Laura Robinson. “We have a new sense of confidence in the process. When we used Excel, it would break down or not save correctly. People could end up duplicating work. Now our reporting is consistent, tasks and alerts are automated to help manage compliance, and thanks to Foods Connected, we spend more time fixing issues than trending data – the platform does that for us.”  

Watch the video to learn more about Finnebrogue's digital supplier management journey: