finance

Return of familiar face ushers in new era at Mackie's Crisps



A new general manager is helping Scotland’s biggest crisp brand to double production targets – two years after leaving manufacturing.

With more than 30 years of experience under her belt, Emma Foster has returned to the fourth-generation family brand, Mackie’s Crisps, to help rescale the company.

After taking a career break to explore new avenues, she found herself drawn back to the company.

Since returning last year, Foster has restructured production runs and shift patterns, resulting in better work life balance, reduced on site waste and increased productivity by 20%.

Packs produced have since doubled with an average rise from 275,000 packs produced per week, to more than 500,000.

Foster said: “When I returned to Mackie’s I sat down with the teams and took the time to understand everyone’s roles and explain why I was here.

“You get so much more from your teams when they understand what we’re aiming to do and figure out what they need back.

“This led to a change in shift pattern from two x 12 hour shifts Monday to Thursday to three x eight hour shifts starting Sunday to Friday.”

Alongside the rise in production, she has helped cut down on site waste from 10% to less than 3% by monitoring waste from every production run and investing in new packaging with altered dimensions.

Foster’s one-year anniversary of returning to the factory has been marked with growing demands as a result of more than 27 new product launches: 13 in crisp pack sizes including three new flavours and 14 in popped snacks.

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Starting out with Taypack Potatoes in 1999 as a production manager, she has seen the Taylor family business transform over the years, from growing potatoes, peas, fruit and cereals to building a factory and becoming a nationally-recognised snack.

“When Mackie’s Crisps started in 2009 its first stockist was Tesco with just six flavours. We now have 40 flavours with a thriving online store, export business, healthy line and various different packaging sizes,” said Foster.

“Throughout the last year there has been a massive jump in production with a real focus to tap into specific markets through listening and developing products that consumers want to see.”

James Taylor, managing director at Taypack, runs the in Perthshire-based business alongside his father, chairman George Taylor.

It employs a team of 50 staff and recently became Scotland’s third best-selling premium crisp brand, following growth that bucked wider market decline.

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