The automation processes were match funded by Made Smarter’s North West Adoption model
Lakes Ice Cream, based in Kendal, has invested in digitalisation systems which replace its previous paper systems. Rather than manual, ticket-based systems, the luxury ice cream producer has moved towards automated processes which integrate a number of business processes, such as distribution, sales and stock control.
As well as improving efficiency and reducing the chance of human error, digitisation boosts the sustainability of Lakes by removing the need for paper and streamlining delivery routes to minimise fuel usage.
The digitalisation investment was undertaken with the support of Made Smarter, the programme assisting SMEs to adopt digitisation and automation in production processes.
James Stephens, managing director at Lakes Ice Cream, said: "The technology investment which was match funded by Made Smarter, has had an incredible impact, making everything easier. What we have achieved so far really demonstrates the substantial benefits that digitalisation and integration make."
The implementation of new digitalisation will open up staff’s time to focus on other tasks by removing time-consuming manual and administrative tasks. Mr Stephens continued: "We have a small team so time is extremely precious, so to squeeze more productivity wherever you can is fantastic. What’s more, our employees see these benefits as it allows them to learn new skills and enjoy their work more."
Mr Stephens sees digitalisation as the first step to gearing up for real growth and technological progress within the company. He added: "We want to take the business to the next level. That means a new factory and cold store, new automated machinery and new vehicles. At the heart of those changes will be a software system that integrates all aspects of our business and lays the foundations for scale."
Lakes Ice Cream’s move towards digital transformation reflects a wider trend of SMEs increasingly adopting technological solutions and enhancements to production and distribution processes as a bulwark against the volatility of supply chains and the economic environment.
Donna Edwards, Made Smarter director, commented: "Lakes Ice Cream are among hundreds of manufacturers in the region grasping the opportunities offered by Made Smarter which include expert, impartial technology advice, digital transformation workshops to help take that first step to transform a business and support with technology investment."