Tayto owner likes the taste of IT

24 Jan 2007

Largo Foods, which owns the Tayto crisp brand, is spending half a million euro on an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and related consulting services.

The deal covers a full business management system for the company, based on the IFS ERP system, as well as business process consulting. The company said it made the investment in order to streamline its manufacturing and logistics operation and fully integrate the Tayto business, which it recently acquired from the Cantrell & Cochrane Group.

Dublin-based Clarion Consulting won the contract following a competitive tender. The company has a track record in supplying ERP systems in this sector, having landed contracts with companies such as Bachelor Foods.

Following the acquisition of Tayto, annual group turnover at Largo Foods is now almost €80m, putting an additional onus on the snack food maker to have improved business control and financial reporting.

Largo Foods managing director Raymond Coyle said that the technology refresh was only part of the project. The other component involved integrating Largo’s background in manufacturing with Tayto’s sales and marketing operation onto a single ERP platform.

According to Pat Millar, managing director of Clarion Consulting, the project involved combining two very different corporate cultures and business processes. “Our approach was to blend the business processes of both organisations at the start, by moving both companies onto the new ERP platform immediately,” he said. “This avoids a situation where business process decisions are made based on one business at the expense of the other and ensures a seamless business and IT migration without negatively impacting customers or suppliers.”

The project was completed to an aggressive timescale of three months and Largo anticipates that the €500,000 investment will have paid for itself within three years. The savings will come through having complete control of the manufacturing supply chain, resulting in cost-effective material supplies, reduced lead times and lower administration costs.

The ERP system will also control nationwide product distribution from Largo’s new warehouse facility in Ashbourne, Co Meath which serves some of Ireland’s best-known snack food brands including Tayto, Hunky Dory and Perri.

By Gordon Smith