Butchers get diagnostic

Nine National Association of Catering Butchers' (NACB) members have taken advantage of the Red Meat Industry Forum's (RMIF) diagnostic tool, In-Site, to help improve their businesses.

At a workshop jointly organised by RMIF and NACB to review the tool and look at solutions, all nine found they had problems in the same areas: strategy, leadership, infrastructure management, delivery performance and supply chain.

This was indicated by managers working in the business not on the business, increased costs of manufacture, excessive working capital tied up in the business, material supply not aligned to output and reactive decision making creating the potential for cash to be tied up in stock.

However, the tool revealed how good all the businesses were regarding the quality of products and their uniqueness.

The diagnostic tool, which was developed by Cambridge University and consists of 126 questions across ten categories, looks at the management team's objectives for the company, as well as comparing the company's current practices to best practices learnt elsewhere.

The objectives of using the tool are to establish business improvement priorities for the medium-term, identify major strengths and weaknesses in the business, prioritise issues for further investigation and stimulate a development and improvement programme.

Paul Jose, RMIF Operations Manager, said: "There are some things NACB members do exceedingly well, however, with customers continually raising expectations, businesses need to take a close look at their practices and identify areas where they can make improvements.

"In-Site is an easy and effective way to help businesses take the first steps towards continuous improvement which, in the long-term, will help them remain profitable.

"Continuous improvement involves directors developing and growing a business, using 'lean' techniques to eliminate waste, reducing stock levels, aligning the supply chain to customers' needs and company-wide communication."

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