£1 Million Saving Puts the Fizz Into Beverage Firm

Assistance from Invest Northern Ireland has helped a successful Co. Antrim bottling firm to increase turnover by more than £1 million in six months thanks to its participation in a pilot business improvement programme.

Ballymena-based Norbev is a soft drinks, packaged water, juice production and contract bottling facility that provides service to companies within the UK and RoI markets which include GlaxoSmithKline, Cantrell & Cochrane, Asda, Coca Cola and Superdrug.

Norbev is one of the first companies to complete the Invest NI Interim Managers Programme and a recent audit of production processes and accounts has revealed a £1.3 million increase in turnover as well as major improvements in production efficiency.

“Business advice from Invest NI helped us to understand that whilst investing in state of the art machinery and staff development is important, we must focus on creating synergies between the two, and think more creatively in order to maximise efficiency and make Norbev more competitive,” says James Harkness, Managing Director, Norbev.

“The Interim Managers Programme was recommended by our client executive and I am delighted with the results which include a production efficiency improvement of 20% and a 55% increase in bottling capacity. It has been crucial in helping us to develop the capability of the plant and streamline our processes.”

The Interim Managers Programme is a pilot initiative which encourages businesses to exploit resources so they can overcome barriers to growth and enhance competitiveness. Key to achieving this is the provision of an interim manager with specialist knowledge and expertise, who works with the company for a maximum of 60 days on a specific improvement project. Invest NI and the participating company jointly fund the interim manager’s costs. The total cost of the Norbev project was £21,000.

Tracy Meharg, Managing Director of Innovation and Capability Development, Invest NI adds: “By delivering functional or general management capability on a project basis, interim managers can help companies deliver tangible results by co-ordinating specifically targeted, high-impact projects.

Norbev’s success clearly demonstrates how the short term, contracted use of external skills and experience can deliver maximum benefits at a low cost and within a relatively short space of time, ultimately helping firms to achieve excellence and compete more strongly in local and global markets.”

Further information on the Invest NI Interim Managers Programme can be obtained from alan.ritchie@investni.com Tel: 028 9069 8356.