Although Calbee UK was established in 2014, it forms part of a much bigger snack food dynasty. In fact, Calbee Inc. was first established in 1949 to address post-war malnutrition in Hiroshima, Japan, and has grown into a £1.2 billion global business operating across 12 different countries. Headquartered in Leeds, Calbee UK manufactures healthy savoury snacks from its production facility in Deeside.
Since 2014, Calbee UK has set itself ambitious goals with the key aim of increasing its company revenue to £100 million by 2020. The company plans to bring out a range of healthy snacks that are made with high-quality produce, and deliver on taste while contributing to healthier lifestyles. However, with limited staff and no existing manufacturing or business processes in place, the company knew it needed to maximise its processes and “work smart.” As part of this approach they considered implementing an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to be a priority.
Ahead of choosing the right ERP system, Calbee UK needed to understand exactly which key areas of the business the software needed to impact. Being a savoury snack manufacturer, it was vital the company had access to a high level of end-to-end traceability and control over every stage in the manufacturing process, as well as the ability to achieve industry regulatory compliance.
“Not only did we need an ERP system that would help us in getting the business up and running, but one that was suitable for the food and beverage process manufacturing industry. We needed the ability to track our products right from the raw ingredients to the finished goods, and that’s why we selected the Epicor Tropos solution—it was perfect for meeting our very specific business needs,” said Nigel Hebron, finance director at Calbee UK.
Calbee UK’s implementation of Tropos was like very few others. There were no existing processes to follow or align with Tropos, as these had not yet been defined, and it proved to be very challenging for Calbee UK to specify how it needed the ERP software to work. Despite these challenges, the company managed to see its first product come off the production line with traceability, stock control, purchasing and finance capability—all supported by the newly implemented system only five months after completing the ERP installation.
Calbee UK has seen a dramatic impact since implementing Tropos, with the business successfully lifting off the ground. Tropos supports a wide range of processes within the company, including placing orders, product manufacturing, packaging, and labelling. Continued production has seen Calbee UK’s products appearing on shelves within major retailers across the UK.
“Although we’ve managed to grow the business to an impressive level, our journey is still continuing,” Hebron said. “We’ve recently made some enhancements to our system, including the addition of electronic data interchange (EDI), which is set to help us with savings and to also reduce the likelihood of any errors. We’re also planning the introduction of barcode scanning for stock movements, which will continue to improve company efficiencies. Tropos has grown with us as a business, and without it we certainly wouldn’t be where we are today.”