Delivering continuously improved quality and capacity in our factories

The pet food market is constantly evolving, which means – as an industry-leading provider of cat and dog food for retail customers throughout Europe – we also need to remain agile across everything we do here at C&D Foods.

Our production facilities are a key area where we need to anticipate and adapt to customers’ changing requirements, keeping ahead of trends in pet food formulations and formats, as well as ensuring that we constantly consider new ways of optimising capacity, efficiency, quality and sustainability.

One of the people tasked with delivering those goals is Jack Lynam, our Group Engineering Manager, who is responsible for our production facilities in France, Holland, and Denmark. Originally recruited as part of our graduate programme following his degree in mechanical and manufacturing engineering at Trinity College Dublin, Jack returned to university to complete a Master’s degree in strategic management, before coming back to C&D Foods as the engineering manager at our French pouch factory. He was promoted to his current role in March 2022.

It is the combination of Jack’s technical knowledge and strategic thinking that makes him such a valuable asset to our commitment to continuous improvement, quality assurance and factory optimisation at C&D Foods. Supporting our engineering managers at each C&D manufacturing facility, a key element of Jack’s role is ensuring we have consistent ways of working at every location, so that we benefit from aligned processes. This also means that our customers can be confident of the same high standards of quality assurance and efficiency at every touchpoint.

Jack is also responsible for overseeing our ‘right first time’ approach to production efficiency, maintenance, and servicing at our factories in France, Holland, and Denmark. Part of his remit is making sure that we avoid any unscheduled downtime, so he is meticulous about maintenance regimes and equipment servicing, working with both colleagues and equipment providers to get this essential work done, without impacting on productivity.

But Jack’s role goes far beyond maintaining the status quo at our factories. Working closely with our production and commercial teams, Jack is also responsible for advising on investment programmes at our factories and ensuring that they are planned and delivered smoothly, with as little disruption and as much operational and commercial benefit as possible. Each project involves complex technical and logistical planning to prevent any unplanned downtime, achieve the project’s goals and enable a snag-free transition to new processes or equipment, while maintaining factory capacity and quality.

This can often involve lateral thinking and anticipation of potential challenges before they occur. For example, when we switched from steel cans to aluminium at one of our plants, the process that had previously used magnets to move cans through production needed a complete re-think. Jack was responsible for designing the new process and working with our production team and supply chain to verify that the new approach would work, and deliver an optimised transition, while maintaining production levels.

There are always new market trends, commercial needs and technological developments to keep pace with at an international pet food business like C&D Foods, but that’s what Jack loves most about his role. “New changes are happening all the time,” he comments, “it’s brilliant working in an environment where we’re always innovating to maximise quality and efficiency and to have the freedom to take a pragmatic approach to implementing improvements to our factories.”