COVID 19 wreaked havoc across the globe and the meat industry was one of the most at risk given the manual nature of the work, proximity of staff and room environment. They are also an essential service, providing food for the domestic and international Markets.

When physical distancing and COVID policies were introduced, it had a severe impact on the ability to process the required number of animals per day to meet customer demand. This could have led to a shortage of products, animal welfare issues and significant financial losses for the company, their staff, and their suppliers. Consciously, Silver Fern Farms had been rolling out STREAMLINE, their Continuous Improvement programme for the last few years. This allowed them to quickly pivot and find new ways of working to deliver results, while complying with the new COVID policies introduced.

Silver Fern Farms and LMAC quickly changed the focus towards how to run each site given the new restrictions. The end-to-end processes was reviewed and re-designed to balance the demand with the available resources. Detailed line balancing and bottleneck management were the key tools to maintain throughput during these

challenging times. The culture of teamwork and collaboration that Silver Fern Farms had built during the previous years was critical during this period to turn ideas into results quickly.


LMAC had been supporting Silver Fern Farms with the design and roll out of STREAMLINE for the last few years. There was already a culture of Continuous Improvement and Problem Solving across the business and the COVID restrictions were just the next opportunity to utilise these skills.


Collaboration between teams, other functions, and the Union to make quick, radical changes to the process Sheep production levels increased from 53% of pre-covid throughput to pre covid levels within 3 weeks without any major investment.

Beef production initially decreased to 70% of pre-covid throughput levels, but through the use of CI tools improved to 90% within 3 weeks without any major investment. Maintained levels of Safety, Quality and

compliance throughout the significant process changes implemented.

The winning result came from good collaboration between the management, workforce
and unions working admirably towards the desired outcomes that were achieved and
gave us an advantage over opposition companies. It helped people to challenge ‘how
we’ve always done it’ and embrace continuous improvement and Streamline.
Ash Mackay – Regional Manager


Silver Fern Farms


Farming, Protein Processing, Unlock20


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