Fera is a joint venture (JV) created in 2015 between Defra (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) and Capita. Fera provides scientific solutions, evidence and advice across the agri-food chain to government and commercial customers. The JV supports policy development, growing more and using less, protecting the environment, ensuring a healthy, high yield crop, and bringing chemicals to market through the regulatory process for the public good in the UK and overseas. Fera is based at the National agri-food Innovation Campus near York employing nearly 400 scientists. Fera also plays a key role in the UK’s ability to respond to, and recover from, emergency situations affecting the food chain and rural economy.
With a clear remit to provide increased effectiveness of Fera’s workforce through resource planning, a detailed analysis of Fera’s operations was carried out. The key issue discovered during this phase was the lack of a core tool to facilitate future planning of resource usage and availability, with a lack of visibility around staff skillsets compounding the challenge to plan ahead and effectively schedule pipeline and committed projects.