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Managing People and Organizations - Fraser Foods

By:   •  April 17, 2018  •  Case Study  •  2,257 Words (10 Pages)  •  202 Views

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Managing People and Organizations F84T 34

Case study

Fraser Foods (FF)

 Fraser Foods is a family firm based in Bishopton and was set up by David Fraser in 1994 to tap into the growing demand for ready meals. The factory is located just off the M8 near the Erskine Bridge and close to the Fraser family home on the banks of Loch Lomond. Fraser Foods is a Private Limited Company and the ownership of the company is in the hands of the Fraser family. Several members of the family are involved in the business and it is hoped David’s son Robin will take control when his father retires. As a Private Limited Company, all shareholders must agree any share transactions but it can conduct its business as it believes to be correct rather than having to tailor its operations and financial results to please ‘The City’. The company has grown by developing ‘greenfield’ production facilities purpose built for a specific area of the chilled food market in Scotland.

 

The UK market for ready meals is around £1.35 billion and growing, as people adjust to the demands of busy lifestyles. With many families having both parents working the availability of well-prepared and tasty ready meals services an important sector of the market. Over the years Fraser Foods has reduced production of its own brand products and now mainly produces meals for other clients, with 85% of output currently allocated to a contract with one major supermarket — Perkins. Perkins has retail outlets in most major towns and cities across Scotland.

Fraser Food’s Mission statement is  

‘We aim to provide our customers with a range of finest quality ready meals, through our commitment to innovation, service and value, in a mutually profitable relationship. We aim to achieve this within a business culture of dignity and respect and by developing long term partnerships with our suppliers. Developing our staff is critical to our success and every opportunity will be taken to maximise each individual’s potential within our business’.

 

The business operates in the fast moving food products market and managers have a key role in the planning of the process and ensuring resources are available. These resources include machinery, materials, money and human resources. The Fraser Family believe that its people are at the heart of the business’s success, which is exemplified by Fraser Food’s mantra of PQP — People, Quality, Profit.  

 

The market tends to change quickly. All manner of problems can arise which need to be addressed. The outbreak of foot and mouth, the BSE crisis, health issues relating to obesity, fat, sugars and salt in products, food labelling regulations and so on all mean that the business has to be flexible and able to cope with change and deal with problems as they arise. The management team has worked hard in planning and evaluating their products to ensure that customer focus and quality are the main drivers of business success.

Environmental impact  

Fraser Foods are aware of their carbon footprint and try to minimise their use of nonrenewable resources but they have to balance this with the need to provide its customers with a high quality product. The number of deliveries to and from the factory and the amount of fuel used will impact on the environment through pollution. Fraser Foods use plastic trays, plastic film and cardboard for packaging. They ensure all packaging products are sourced from suppliers that demonstrate efficiency and maximise recycling techniques. Government legislation places a levy on packaging that is difficult to dispose of and has a higher impact on the environment.

Management team

Fraser Foods has three Directors, Managing Director (David Fraser), Finance Director (Laura Bolton), Operations Director (Robin Fraser). The business has four Senior Managers — Human Resources, Production, Product Development and Purchasing. Each manager has a team(s) under them and Administrative Support.

 

David as MD, has overall responsibility for the company but over the years has spent less time in the factory and more time liaising with customers and suppliers often on the golf course. Janice Turner has been David’s Personal Assistant since the beginning which has helped to promote consistency and continuity. There is little she doesn’t know about the business and Janice is highly regarded within the company and has a good relationship with Perkins and suppliers. Janice is regarded as reliable, well organised, competent and efficient. She has also been attending evening classes at the local college and hopes to complete her HNC Business by the summer.

 

A key driver of the success of Fraser Foods lies in management’s focus on quality and its ability to manage the relationship with Perkins. Perkins demand very high standards and therefore the production process has to be managed to ensure that standards are maintained and hopefully exceeded. Fraser Foods uses local suppliers and has built up an excellent relationship with them. During the ‘horsemeat’ scare, Fraser Foods were able to reassure customers of the sources of their meat and this enhanced their reputation for quality products. Mistakes can be very costly for the business especially when it affects Perkins.

 

Robin Fraser, David’s son is Operations Director and has responsibility for all production, product development and quality assurance. Some of the business operation is automated but there is still a relatively labour intensive production process. The food industry is heavily regulated so the company has to ensure that quality control is a high priority. There are tight tolerance levels for Fraser Foods product ranges and ensuring the correct combinations of ingredients are used is important in controlling costs, maintaining profitability and providing the consumer with a consistent level of quality.

 

The maintenance of strict hygiene conditions is not only a health and safety requirement it is an important part of the quality assurance procedures for the business and this is reinforced through training courses and regular management updates. Robin likes members of his team to take part in customer visits and be fully aware of any issues that may arise.  

Robin took over responsibility for production and product development from his father David Fraser in 2010. David’s style of management was very different to Robin’s. David liked to be referred to as ‘the boss’ while Robin is on first name terms with staff. David also felt it was his role to make all the decisions affecting production. He didn’t see the need to involve staff and believed they preferred to be told what to do and didn’t want the responsibility — that was the manager’s job, not theirs. He believed staff were motivated by money and should be paid bonuses if targets were exceeded.

 

Hazim Khan works at the product development stage and analyses sales trends of different products, evaluating feedback from customers and ensuring that the company is keeping abreast of the changes in their market. Hazim has a team of chefs who work on developing new products and recipes. He regularly meets with his team to discuss their problems and ideas but gives them freedom to use their talents in the creation of new products and how to go about their job. High quality products that meet the needs of consumers and which can be produced efficiently and to the exacting standards of their customers are essential. Teams are kept aware of the changing market in food and the importance of responding to that changing market.

 

Laura Bolton is Finance Director and has responsibility for Finance, Human Resource Management (HRM) and Purchasing. Laura is concerned about the company’s finances and keeps a close eye on cash flow. Perkins regularly delays payment and although David has discussed this with them, he is worried that if he puts on too much pressure, they will look elsewhere for a supplier. Pressure is also placed on profit margins. Perkins expects Fraser Foods to absorb any increase in raw material costs. Perkins will not accept these increases and pass these on to their customers.  

 

With 120 staff, HRM is an important area for the firm. Kathryn Hannah joined the company in 2007 and heads the HRM team which comprises a Training Officer, a Health, Safety and Wellbeing Officer and an Administrative Assistant. Kathryn has a wealth of experience, is CIPD qualified and ambitious. She has used her experience to help the company update and develop a range of HR policies. Kathryn has good relationships with the local college and offers work placements to students. The company provides good training opportunities and Kathryn is keen to offer more inhouse training to ensure staff continue to have the skills the business needs. It was Kathryn who encouraged Janice, (David’s PA) to attend evening classes.

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