Single operator netting system
Single operator netting system
Meat Management spoke to managing director of the Scobie & Junor Group, Gordon Wicklow, about how one of its latest offerings will revolutionise the netting industry and help the world’s major meat processors to operate and maintain a Covid secure environment.
Q. The Covid-19 restrictions look set to be the ‘new normal’ for the industry for some time to come. How has that impacted on your business as a significant equipment supplier to the sector?
A. Our industry has faced many challenges in recent years, from BSE to horsemeat and campylobacter, all of which have ended up bringing positive changes. I am sure this latest challenge will do the same.
Q. So, what does your latest ACII Autocut Double Stuffer offer that others have not or cannot?
A. The ACII is the latest development in our range of machines that have all brought significant improvement to netting lines. This model is the first to truly be single operator and can transform a traditional line of seven operators down to one. Particularly poignant in the current Covid-19 climate and the importance of social distancing.
Q. Waste and environmental issues is an ongoing KPI for meat and food businesses. How does this machine comply and improve things for the major players?
A. The amount of netting used is normally reduced, as the machine is doing the cutting, almost eliminating ‘tails,’ this can save around 30% of netting in some applications.
Q. Compliance with Covid-19 restrictions surely means your customers will have concerns about engineer and service visits. How can you reassure them about that?
A. An option is now available across our range allowing remote access by our engineers, to help with troubleshooting, to install software updates, and even to automatically remind on site engineers about service work. Being able to offer this level of support remotely is going to be vital moving forward we think.
“This model can transform a traditional line of seven operators down to one. Particularly poignant in the current Covid-19 climate and the importance of social distancing.”
Q. What do you see as some of the major challenges facing the industry in the short-medium term and what changes do you anticipate will impact your business?
A. There is an increasing spotlight on plants in terms of positive Covid-19 tests and undoubtedly the FSA will increase spot-checks/unannounced audits on meat processors. We are training our engineers and sales teams on how to ensure Covid secure compliance. I am sure like with all the other requirements introduced in recent years, a Covid Secure Compliant Certificate will be needed in the near future.
Q. The Scobie & Junor Group has a vast inventory and has prided itself on worldwide sourcing. Is that going to reduce what you’re able to offer customers across the board?
A. We manufacture all the Automation range, so are in total control of the supply chain. In addition, we only use components from the world’s leading suppliers, which are available worldwide. As for all our other products, we have increased local stockholding across our four UK and Ireland sites, and are working closely with our suppliers to ensure the smooth ongoing supply of everything we provide.
Q. As managing director of the business what do you see as Scobie & Junor’s USP in a highly competitive market?
A. Our understanding of our customers, and our ability to work with them to create tailored solutions for them sets us apart. This, in addition to in-house design, programming and assembly means we are unique. We can adapt quickly. For example, we have set up a video demonstration centre here, where we can do initial trials and video the results for a totally contactless demonstration.
Q. Covid is in the forefront of everyone’s minds but Brexit has not gone away. What are the positives from that for your business?
A. We are fortunate in that we have operating businesses in Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and Eire, so we have plenty of options moving forward.
Q. Scobie & Junor has been around a long time in the meat industry. What do you feel makes the sector so special?
A. Food is our passion, and we enjoy being part of lots of different aspects of the sector. We are able to add value in so many different ways, across the whole industry, and that’s what keeps it exciting.