During the peak of the season, freezing and storage constraints result in the Dargaville site not being able to save all the products available. Not only is this a significant revenue loss, it also has an impact of satisfying the customer and has a negative impact on sustainability with valuable products going to render.

The objective was to find short term and long term solutions that address these issues.


LMAC facilitated a FIT (Focussed Improvement Team) project to solve this problem. A cross functional team was pulled together to work through this project. Through detailed process observations, the team identified the following constraints:

• Shortfall of over 2000 cartons per day of on-site freezing capacity

• Shortage of 10,000 cartons worth of frozen storage capacity

The team brainstormed various options and designed a short-term solution that would get them through the impending peak season. This involved re-organising the Cold Chain shift structure and freezer operating procedure to maximise all available freezing hours during the full 7-day period. This unlocked an additional 1200 cartons of freezing capacity per day without any additional equipment. Additional blast freezing capacity at another site in the group was utilised to freeze the additional 800 cartons required. A new logistics route and
a process was set up to transport the chilled and frozen product to the other site and dispatch from there onwards to the customer.

The longer-term solution of a customised freezing, sorting and storage solution is currently being designed and put forward. This will reduce the storage and transportation costs as well as reducing the required headcount by
approximately 20 FTE’s.


Production is now able to save all products they need to produce due to the increased flow and capacity. The business is also utilising previously wasted spare cold store capacity at another site during their off season. Following the event, through continuous review and refinement of the shift structure implemented, the

The team have been able to further reduce the labour cost to eliminate the need for the weekend shift by maximising available capacity 24/5 (Mon – Fri).

The staff morale has also significantly increased in the area as they have SMART targets that they now believe are achievable. Absenteeism has improved which means the team now also has resources to do more effective training, especially around product quality and health and safety.

‘The health and wellbeing of our people is very important, the changes implemented
meant that the team can spend more time with their family. They are now working more
effectively as a team than before, this is through coaching and upskilling the leadership
team. The team have the right amount of time and a work environment that enables them
to deliver the production done safely to a high standard consistently’.
Ash Mackay – Regional Manager


Silver Fern Farms


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