Paperless Performance Improvement Thatchers Cider

About Thatchers

Thatchers Cider, the family-owned cider makers in North Somerset, England, was founded by William Thatcher in 1904. His son, Stanley, was a real cider pioneer and began making draught cider to sell to local public houses. Their first hydraulic press was introduced in 1965, making the cider production process a little easier. Since then, over a century later, Thatchers has grown hugely, now pressing more than 450 tonnes of apples a day at the height of the season and producing 30,000 cans of cider an hour on their new canning line alone.


Thatchers’ data recording systems have traditionally been all manual – Excel or paper-based – with no ability to enforce tasks to be carried out to schedule, or to sense-check erroneous data; a heavy administrative burden in maintaining a host of manual documents and Excel spreadsheets, and no real-time ability to provide visibility of information across the business. Thatchers’ expected the following from Harford:

  • To provide a system that will collate the data from all equipment in all of our disparate manufacturing and ancillary processes, and present the information to the end users and managers in a single unified interface.
  • A series of pre-configured dashboards, containing a small number of critical KPI metrics and charts which give an overview of how well a currently running process is progressing.
  • A series of time and/or event-driven reports, providing extra detail to the dashboards and highlighting areas in need of targeted improvement.
  • Medium-term data collection, of all available data signals, for later report generation, on-the-fly, to identify the causes of future process faults.

Having considered various options, Thatchers chose the Harford system, partly due to its user-friendly interface, its ability to integrate automatically with much of their on-line testing equipment, thereby reducing data entry error and time, and also because the Harford system is designed to support advanced quality management concepts – Lean Manufacturing, SPC, 6 Sigma, DMAIC, 5 Why’s etc. Harford also have extensive experience in supplying performance improvement solutions to beverage manufacturers, such as Diageo, Beam Suntory, Muller Dairies, Shepherd Neame Brewery, Encirc, Refresco, and more. Next to integrating with existing systems and equipment, the Harford solution creates a disciplined framework for operating personnel to carry out off-line checks to maintaining legality and the highest quality standards. All collected data is centralised, analysed, prioritised and the resulting information sent directly to the desktops of those who need to know, giving real-time information and prioritising key problem areas. Thus, it provides the best opportunity for optimal improvements in efficiency to be made with the minimum of effort.

  • Greatly increased visibility and granularity of current production status, across all lines, in real- time and historically
  • Improved efficiency and quality assurance
  • Reduced materials wastage

“Natively, the Harford system provided an all-in-one solution capable of managing the majority of the data collection and reporting requirements on our packing lines.”

Mark Lynam, Systems / Projects Engineer

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