Food & Drink International shines at PPMA Show

Food & Drink International made a huge impact at this year’s PPMA Show.

Hosting a seminar on the opening day on lean manufacturing, entitled ‘Lean & Learn Together’, Food & Drink International’s Becky Darnell introduced Craig Mochrie, Bottling Operations & Supply Manager at Morrison Bowmore Distillers and Roy Green of Harford Control who revealed the benefits and results from a comprehensive case study on bottling line operations at Morrison Bowmore’s distillery.

Craig Mochrie revealed the overarching reasons behind improved efficiency at their headquarters in Glasgow, where blending, bottling and warehouse operations are carried out. Citing an all-encompassing approach to get everyone at the company involved in streamlining processes and making sure adequate management, traceability and processing operations were adhered to on every level, he told the audience about the levels of success experienced. Although fantastic results have been experienced since work started in 2006 by MBD, Craig explained it had been a real challenge. Making sure of a persistent and consistent approach to quality and transparency meant operational performance was significantly improved.

Roy Green also explained how Harford’s tool kit helped facilitate overall improvements by turning data into accurate real time information for Craig’s team to act upon, but stresses that even the best system is only a system. It still needs disciplined and dedicated teams like Craig’s to take those actions in order to drive performance improvement. MBD have also integrated automation into their existing operations, where appropriate, in order to facilitate their already impressive overhaul of their production operation.

The initial aims set out by MBD were to sustain its high quality standards, whilst improving efficiency and performance and to introduce and train all operational staff in lean methodologies, including total productive maintenance (TPM).

This unified approach made sure everyone involved in the blending, bottling and warehouse processes became an integrated part of the improvement process, given constructive feedback and a chance to voice concerns and suggestions, having an influence on final outcomes. Total Productive Maintenance, or TPM, Craig suggested, can also be short for ‘Today People Matter’, placing people at the heart of performance improvement and sustainability.

Craig said: “You have to understand that no system can deliver the lean manufacturing environment on its own, you have to have that essential buy-in from your team. You also have to be fully committed and up for the challenge.”

Persistence, patience and effort were three key values that Craig believes to be essential in order to effectively make changes of this nature and to recognise that, by definition, Continuous Improvement is never ending.

He adds: “We cannot afford to relax our drive towards Operational Excellence. There is always something more to be done whilst maintaining the substantial gains already made.”

Following a complete process review in 2006, several phases of automation from Harford Control, as well as investment in infrastructure and an emphasis on efficiency and quality improvements, meant that by 2014, huge improvements in both bottling speeds and profits were made. Craig also points to the support, expertise and encouragement which he has had from the parent company Suntory in delivering such impressive results over this period.

Implementing these changes, as well as evolving them with continued support and the latest technology from Harford Control, including adding touch-screen technology and hand-held tablets to the lines and the luxury products areas, meant MBD achieved many benefits.

Again, Craig emphasizes the importance of full operational buy in and teamwork at every stage: “Touch screens and Tablets are great enablers and eliminate most paperwork, whilst giving us good operational discipline and traceability. These devices alone, great as they are, cannot drive the extent of beneficial change we have seen. On the other hand, it would also be inaccurate to trivialise the extent of support and knowledge transfer we have seen from Harford Control.

“We often hear the word partnership used and abused, but Harford have been real partners on our lean journey. Apart from support and training on their fully integrated system, we simply know that if any member of our team hits a snag they can call the Harford team at any time and get the help they need.

“As stated in the presentation it’s the ideal tool kit in driving performance improvement towards manufacturing optimisation.”

Benefits to date include:

• A highly efficient and quality-driven bottling operation.

• Specifically-defined operational KPIs, covering quality and cost management

• Management empowerment

• Development and ownership for production operators

• An evolving employee training and development schedule

• A sense of quality in every facet of the business

• An overarching sense of consistent improvement and not resting on achievements made so far.

• A truly supportive partnership with the Harford team, whose support goes far beyond supply, installation and equipment service.

To find out more about the case study, or to discuss similar matters, email Craig Mochrie ( or Roy Green (