Pestaurant cuisine: getting into entomophagy

February 28, 2017 2:37 pm
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At first it seemed like any other novelty foodstuff, a well-intentioned talking point but unlikely to reach most mainstream retailer’s shelves anytime soon.

With scientific backing that they ‘could be healthy’, are certainly sustainable, and bring another level of shock value, they’re a worthy addition to any trend list. The problem is that these bizarre and outlandish food ideas rarely have the staying power to entice western consumers. Either that, or we just wouldn’t know how to use them effectively in our own cooking.

If I’m bugging you by now, I’ll get to the point. Critters, or more specifically, crickets. They’re easy to farm with a crunchy and nutty flavour, not to mention they pack more than twice the protein of beef gram for gram, and significantly more vitamin B12, iron, magnesium and essential amino acids. We might assume crickets are a niche ingredient, but my favourite political pie pusher Pieminister has jumped on the bandwagon with their latest creation. ‘The Hopper’, a cricket and black bean pie with tomato, sour cream, chipotle chilli, coriander and lime is available for a limited time in celebration of British Pie Week which runs from 6th to 11th March.

Is this a trend you’re willing to try, or will you be scuttling out of this one?


Written by Shalane Kerr, Coriolis Ltd

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Maintenance Planning & Scheduling: 8 reasons your current maintenance plan isn’t working

February 28, 2017 11:45 am
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Effective maintenance planning and scheduling is probably the single most important area to get right in an effective maintenance organisation. It is consistently seen as a superfluous function that can be removed in times of budget constraint. It is also a task often given to the person who is no longer able to work on the tools, without any consideration of their capability.

Far too often, maintenance planning is one of the final areas to tackle. Having the right capability in the planning and scheduling functions will transform a poor maintenance program trapped in a reactive cycle into one where corrective or preventative work is being executed effectively.

Here are the 8 most common reasons your maintenance planning and scheduling isn’t working:

  1. Work is allowed to be done reactively: Except in the event of a critical plant breakdown, even corrective work is better done when it is scheduled. Responding immediately to all requests means you will never increase maintenance maturity.
  2. The maintenance planner doesn’t have the right skills: Ideally, the best person for the role would have a good understanding of the requirements of the maintenance work itself, as well as planning and scheduling techniques. They would have good interpersonal skills to help manage diverse stakeholders, with the ability to work with the operators and value their opinions. They should also have high levels of computer literacy, and the ability to work with complex data.
  3. Lack of training: Relying on “on the job” training by experience will be costly in terms of low labour utilisation of the technician pool.
  4. The planner is ‘desk-bound’: An effective planner will spend time out in the plant, building an understanding of the tasks and the skills of the team. They’ll understand spares requirements, the time tasks really take, and the effectiveness of the planned work to mitigate the impact of failure.
  5. Ineffective scheduling: So often, the PM “schedule” is just a job list to be executed if the opportunity arises. Without bringing together the plant, the resources, the spares and making an individual accountable for completion, success will only happen by chance rather than design.
  6. Lack of effective KPI measurement: The planner should be tracking the maintenance back log, labour utilisation and the PM completion rate as a minimum. Without these base measures, there is no way to see if they are adding value.
  7. Forgetting that Operations are the customer: Too often you see conflict between Operations and Maintenance, with Maintenance forgetting that they are there to provide a service of high up time to the Operations team.
  8. Unclear maintenance workflows: Unless there is a common understanding of how tasks are created, validated, planned, scheduled and executed, and what meetings are in place to run the workflow, then the chances of success are low!

The key purpose of the maintenance planner role is to ensure maximum utilisation of available maintenance resources to execute the agreed PPM schedules and corrective works at the lowest total cost with minimum plant downtime. By focusing on the areas outlined above, your operation will be well on it’s way to a successful maintenance scheduling and planning function and by association, a happy Operations team.


Written by Richard Jeffers, Coriolis Ltd

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Tech-No: eagerly anticipating the re-release of the Nokia 3310

February 23, 2017 2:51 pm
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Once labelled the greatest phone of all time, rumours are swirling that the beloved Nokia 3310 will be reappearing at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month. Returning to an era of simplified technology is being welcomed with open arms of late. Like many people, I am unfortunate enough to own an iPhone. I hope the word ‘unfortunate’ has not been overlooked in that statement.

I have owned a mobile phone since the nineties. Back then, the choice of handsets was extremely limited; you could pretty much choose between a Nokia or a Motorola flip phone. Both options were sufficient for what we required; calls and texts could be exchanged adequately, the screens were almost indestructible, and most users will attest to their seemingly infinite battery life. Today, we find ourselves rarely able to leave the house without taking a charging lead or a mobile battery bank. I now own an iPhone 6, and whilst there are some redeeming features such as mobile banking, satellite navigation, and a camera, I would argue that we are worse off for the digital revolution.

Have we gone too far?

As we’ve watched phones get smarter, we’ve also seen them take over our lives. They have become intertwined in the fabric of society as the primary method for communication. Tangled up in our social media news feeds and countless apps, we choose to stare at a screen instead of taking notice of the world around us, and interacting with one another face-to-face. I often find myself staring at the top of someone’s head as they stare at their wrist. They might be checking their heart rate, their sleep pattern, the number of steps they’ve taken that day, or whether their partners have snap chatted a new video in the ten minutes since they last checked.

Being constantly online and available has blurred the lines between personal and working hours. We probably sense that our smartphones are distracting and cause us to lose focus on the task at hand. Despite being in it’s infancy, studies of ‘always-on’ technology make for scary reading. Smartphones and social media could be the catalyst for mental health issues such as depression and eating disorders, as well as insomnia, stress and anxiety.

The New Fad Diet

Despite our fixation with phones, the idea of returning to a simpler way of life is catching on. A new diet is always fashionable, and this time it’s digital. People are becoming more aware of their addictive behaviour towards their mobiles and are taking part in digital detoxes. By putting their technological devices away for a time, studies have shown reduced levels of stress, allowing for more focus on the task at hand, and the opportunity to have real and meaningful social interactions. An easy way to detox is by replacing the smartphone altogether. The Nokia has the necessary functions including a clock, a calculator, the ability to store up to 10 reminders, and not to mention the cult classic; ‘Snake’.

Social life > Social Media

I remember the day when face-to-face conversations were the norm, and you used to get a person’s full attention when talking to them without the incessant buzz of a vibrating piece of technology. Many have forgotten that the point of technology is to simplify our lives. This new release of an old favourite from Nokia allows the opportunity to take back control and manage our tech addiction. Realistically, no tech is just not an option for most of us when we need a degree of reachability. The Nokia returns at the perfect time when many of us are ready to give up a level of technological advancements in favour of reverting back to a basic mobile phone.

Call me old fashioned but I am in favour of the reintroduction of the retro Nokia and gently weaning ourselves off smartphones, even if it’s only for a few hours a day.

Written by Mark Fox, Coriolis Ltd



2017 Food Trends: It’s time to know your Koji from your Poké

February 14, 2017 3:34 pm
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On finally getting the opportunity to peruse a new cookbook I received for Christmas, the recipes throughout derived from central Asia. Considering what delights I’m planning to conjure up, I realised I now have a pretty diverse collection of recipe books adorning my shelves. They cover the cuisines of The Middle East Persia, South America and South East Asia. However, I am finding it increasingly difficult to find the relevant ingredients in my local supermarket. And I don’t think I’m alone.

Some might call me a “foodie”, but it seems that the supermarkets are often slow to catch on when it comes to food trends.

You might not expect them all to stock barberries, lime powder and pomegranate molasses, but most are still peddling American-style pulled pork like it’s 2015…

As a supplier of over 300 ingredients to UK food manufacturers, E.H.L Ingredients claim the “demand for international cuisine is predicted to increase by 20.3% in 2017″.

In the coming year, fortune will favour the companies that are able to get ahead of the curve. With the development of new products such as marinades, ready meals and spice blends, the manufacturer’s ability to get these to consumers as quickly as possible will make all the difference. That’s all easier said than done when Tesco are said to be reducing their product range by 30%.

With the average time to market for new products reaching six months to a year, it’s no surprise that retailers are not keeping on top of demand. In comparison, small, agile companies are better equipped to respond to such trends more swiftly. In some cases, this is leading the bigger brands to buy up smaller businesses who are perceived as being closer to their customers and are structured around a more fluid, reactive business model.

Reacting quickly

But what if you can’t just go out and acquire a smaller more agile company to tap into this market? One option could be to rent some of your manufacturing space to more innovative start-ups. There might be potential for a large company to rent out the infrastructure that a smaller business is lacking. For the start-up, they gain the space, the expertise and the equipment to scale production, as well as a ready-made distribution network. For the large manufacturer, this would lessen their risks and allow them an opportunity to network with local businesses. This would also negate the need to fork out millions of pounds to acquire the smaller business.

What’s trendy

It seems that our desire for food from every corner of the world is set to continue throughout 2017. According to the BBC Good Food trends panel: “Hyper-regional food will continue to set our taste buds ablaze in the next 12 months. From Nordic bakeries to niche Cuban and Filipino restaurants, we expect authenticity to be the order of the day”.

Whether that food stuff comes from enhanced relationships with smaller businesses, or manufacturers finding new ways to bring these products to the consumer quicker, the race is on.

Written by Emma Shires, Coriolis Ltd

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Festive fallouts: avoiding the pitfalls of the Christmas stretch

February 9, 2017 12:04 pm
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With over £20.6 billion being spent by UK consumers on food and groceries during the festive period, cutting a profitable slice of the action is a very tasty prospect. Emotions run high (no one likes to discover there’s no sprouts on Christmas day as the shops had run out!), and the risk of not satisfying your customers is painful for business, both in the short and long term. Let’s examine the key ingredients to a successful and profitable Christmas…

January was a period of reflection and recovery from all the overindulgence of the festive stretch. As consumers, we look towards 2017 with some form of new year resolution, hoping to kick a bad habit or live healthier.

For some food manufacturers however, January was a period of regret and remorse for the ‘Christmas that could have been’. Only now do we start to feel the full brute force of retailers not delivering the festive range on time and in full…

During my time in consultancy I have worked with dozens of food manufacturers in the run up to Christmas. For many, this is likely to be the busiest and, hopefully, the most profitable time of year. But for some, Christmas will push producers over the edge. With increased complexity and demanding deadlines looming, squeezing every moment of capacity will result in shortages at a critical time. With Tesco estimating a third of their turkeys would be sold on 23rd December, there is a limited window of opportunity to deliver on demand. Being late is simply not an option.

So, what are the crucial factors for getting Christmas right, as opposed to totally missing the mark?

In my experience, it’s all about getting the three dimensions (process, behaviours, and leadership) aligned…


You cannot fail to spot the endless variations on core products at Christmas time. Each individual option creates the potential for problems when the orders are landing thick and fast. Success in this area tends to favour businesses which are agile enough in both their processes and their behaviours. The role of leadership is to ensure that complexity is driven up the supply chain. The behaviours of the business are then aligned to see this extended project range as value creation, rather than a host of hindering factors.


The challenge for many is that with such a short window of opportunity, coupled with limited product life, capacity is pushed to perilously high levels. Businesses tend to succeed when they push these limits, but still allow just the right head space to cope with unexpected demand or supply issues. With capacity, many argue that it’s about having the right process. In my experience, it’s about having the right behaviours and leadership elements within your business. Whilst a process will tell you how utilised a business is, it is the behaviours and leadership which challenge these assumptions to make sure opportunities are maximised and risks are mitigated.


At Christmas time, getting the right number of staff with the right skills demonstrating the right behaviours is a challenge. The fact is, everyone is fighting over the same pool of resource. Whilst it’s possible to get the numbers right, how do you ensure they have the right skills and more importantly, the right behaviours? Good leadership is key; Christmas is a time of year when challenges in a leadership team are emphasised. People take on a heavier workload and work longer hours to ensure targets are met. The key from a leadership perspective is to try and prevent this from happening in the first place, but recognise when it does and remove any unnecessary pressures.


Written by David Strudwick, Coriolis Ltd