Upgrading equipment at Aberdeen & Northern Eggs
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The grant assistance was greatly needed to help a small family business likes ours grow into a successful company supplying a quality Scottish product to Scottish stores and venture into the North of England to gain new markets.Quote source:Aberdeen & Northern Eggs
What are the aims of your project?
To be able to supply the major supermarkets, we need to upgrade the packing facilities, and machines to be able to cope with the increased volumes required by them. Prior to the project, the grading machine was a secondhand machine which we had for approximately five years, and was at least ten-years-old when we bought it. The technology on it was not up to the required standards for supplying the supermarkets, and wear and tear was causing down time issues when with the machine needing more and more maintenance time spent on it to keep it running. The project was mainly for the purchase of a new grading machine, and associated additional machines.
How did your project achieve these aims?
The project included an extension of the existing grading shed to allow for additional room for the new grading machine, and storage space for the additional packaging and eggs needed to approach the supermarket accounts. To meet the standards of the supermarkets, new egg printing machines were purchased to enable direct printing onto the eggs.
Project manager was Robert Chapman, who is the company Managing Director. He untook this role himself, as he was the person with the vision of what was to be achieved. The Financial Director, Jennifer Hurcombe was also responsible for the management of the finances and sourcing the quotes, for example, for the application. Both directors where very hands on and 100% contributed to the success of the project, as first one supermarket account was secured and then a second one within a year.
How was the project funded?
The funding for the project was a mixture of own funds, bank loan and grant award money.
Where did you go for help and advice?
The Scottish Government provided any assistance needed, and were always available to help answer any questions.
What has been your greatest achievement so far?
The project has delivered two new major accounts for the business. Coupled with this is the expansion that our contracted farmer producers have been able to undertake to supply us with enough product to meet the ever increasing volumes demanded by the supermarkets. Egg consumption is growing approx 5 percent year on year, and obviously production has to keep ahead of the demand. To be able to do this, we needed the additional eggs produced by our own farms, and producers, a project which can take up to a year to complete.
And the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge, as always, is the time scale factors and keeping to the deadlines set. These were monitored closely, and the claims were as agreed with Scottish Government.
Any tips for those setting up a similar project?
Prior to making an application, ensure that all requirements are considered, and time scales are achievable. Assisting or being hands on with the project management will ensure that everything is achievable for the project. The project was a success, and we are pleased we made the undertaking to expand with the help of the grant.
What’s next for your project?
We are already planning the next project, as the supermarkets are expanding at a fast pace. Additional storage areas, and more automation is required to meet their ever changing and exacting standards.