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Data-Driven Decisions: The Role of Management Information

Updated: Jun 22, 2023

“Decisions are only as good as the information you have” Jon Langmead, CFO, Puffin Produce

Last week the Sustainable Scale Up Cluster invited a group of food and drink businesses and stakeholders on a reference visit to Puffin Produce’s industry leading facility in Withybush, Haverfordwest to see and hear how management information drives all the decisions within the business – from the field to the board room.


Puffin Produce is now Wales’s largest supplier of potatoes, supplying almost all the major retailers in Wales with a wide variety of potatoes, as well as an expanding offering of vegetables. Puffin Produce’s MD, Huw Thomas, outlined how £35M has been invested in the business over the last five years, and a further £1.4M investment in solar panels is currently underway, however sizeable investments like these aren’t made without sound financial forecasting and accurate data.


Huw led the group on a tour of the site, following the potato’s journey from arrival, to washing and grading, storage and finally packaging and dispatch– all sections of the journey are tracked by the manufacturing software which ensures the best utilisation of the machinery and people, and is used to produce a hefty weekly finance report that all departments receive and scrutinise. Weekly review meetings and continual forecasting enables the management team to react to any issues early and with detailed information, which means better decisions.


However, a business does not run on management information alone. People are an essential element of any successful business. Puffin prides itself on the relationship it has with the whole supply chain, from the growers they work with in Pembrokeshire, to the long-term relationship they have with the retailers, “don’t just look after yourself” was Huw’s advice. Looking to the future, recruiting the best people and paying them a good salary is key for Puffin, being the employer of choice in Pembrokeshire, attracting and retaining the talent within the county.


This visit gave the group an insight into a highly complex business, and how their sophisticated management information system allows the decision-makers in the business to make well-informed and timely decisions.


If you would like to join similar reference visits in the future, contact your Sustainable Scale Up Cluster Manager or Angharad.evans@bic-innovation.com



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