ERP & SCADA automation lead to major throughput increases at Premier Foods

Fully integrated ERP and plant visualisations and reporting deliver an impressive 26% improvement in average throughputs at Premier Foods Ashford as five factories are combined into one.


Premier Foods are one of the country’s largest food producers. The business supplies some of the leading household branded products from a portfolio of “Power Brands” including Bisto, Hovis, Sharwood’s. Birds, Ambrosia, Bachelor’s, Oxo, Mr Kipling and Loyd Grossman.

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The Premier Foods factory at Ashford was expanded to allow the reconciliation of a number of sites into one and it now produces mainly dried products. With the size and scale of the investment, an advanced control system was required to allow the site to effectively manage the production, provide quality control and link to the sites ERP systems, providing a common scheduling and stock tracking reconciliation system. Over 30 shop floor PC’s were required to be controlled. The success criteria for the project were:

  • Yearly Production Savings.

  • Increased Productivity.

  • Fewer customer complaints

  • Improved Yield.


OAL was appointed lead controls supplier and successfully implemented a state of the art automated controls system at the redeveloped site. Site purchased equipment and OAL worked with these suppliers to provide the appropriate control panel, software and electrical installation.

OAL used their advanced software to help us identify plant improvement opportunities on third-party equipment. OAL then implemented these improvements using their process /automation teams. The results were very impressive with average throughputs gains of 26%!
— Nigel Devine, Project Director

Links were set up to the site ERP system to automatically receive recipes and production plans which were displayed on the shop floor. On completion of batches, the finished product batch information and quality checks were automatically booked back into the ERP system.

Advanced reporting allowed a detailed breakdown of the time taken to perform process steps allowing the site to easily identify opportunities to speed up the plant. OAL then helped the site to increase capacity using their process and automation skills to improve third-party equipment that previously was not performing to specification.


Premier Foods have successfully built a state of the art facility at the Ashford site. OAL has supported Premier Foods to achieve:

  • 38% less reject batches.

  • 63% reduction of labour cost per tonne of ingredients.

  • New plant throughput increase by 26%.

They continue to use OAL as a key supplier of engineering expertise and 24-hour support at the site.


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