A self-help guide incorporating a philosophy taken from the motor car industry could help cut costs in the red meat supply chain by 10%.

The report, launched this week, is by the Food Chain Centre and the Red Meat Industry Forum, and identifies 10 key opportunities which could transform the industry.

The theme is ‘lean thinking’ - a philosophy used by Toyota to turn its business around by optimising its production processes and cutting out costs. The concept basically revolves around doing more with less.

Jon Woolven, a director with the FCC, said: “It sounds simple, but often the simple ideas are difficult to put into practice. However, we’ve found there’s the
potential to make 10% cost savings. We want people to use the report to take that 10% and turn it into savings. It’s possible to get better prices and bigger profits.” The report, ‘Cutting Costs - Adding Value in Red Meat’, is an evolving work which will be added to over time. “The idea was to map out the entire chain to see the inefficiencies and unnecessary costs.” Three case studies are included in the report. A further five studies will be completed next year.

The 10 areas for improvement are: reducing product variability, better managing of carcase balance, improving product quality, streamlining administration, reduce handling and movement, improving layouts, optimising equipment, reducing physical faults, improving staff productivity and reducing damage and theft.

The pack identifies how each issue applies to each area of the supply chain.

Dr Martin Grantley-Smith of the RMIF said: “We want to make UK red meat more competitive. We can’t compete with some low cost rivals but we can compete by having the best value chain management.”
Ed Bedington