Cutting Edge

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Cutting Edge's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Cutting Edge is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Managing Director Sam Tinsley
Our unique “Edge Centre”
sharpens over 1.4 million
blades every year
Established by Dave Mook in 1992, Cutting Edge Services
provide a comprehensive portfolio of products and
associated services to the food production industry.
Primarily focusing on the meat sector, they have managed to
grow the business, becoming a medium-sized enterprise with
revenue of £16.7 million in 2017 and an employee base of
almost 100. Managing Director Sam Tinsley discusses imminent
changes to the sector and details their partnership with ABB
Robotics to develop automated solutions.
Our services and products are used by our customers, who range from retail
to hospitality organisations, to support their efficiency and to fulfil legislative
requirements. I joined the business in January 2017 as managing director, bringing
a vision and passion to place our customers at the very heart of everything we do.
From my initial research, I believe that a fundamental shift in the market is imminent.
Traditional methods of production are cumbersome, dangerous and expensive,
and the time is ripe for robotics and automation. This trend is also fuelled by other
external factors, such as changing eating habits and Brexit. The scene is set for an
exciting time for the industry and the corresponding supply chain.
Our heritage
For a business, and indeed an industry, to be able to advance, we believe it must first
thoroughly understand its history and learn from the past. Like the art of butchery
itself, we are steeped in tradition, with a long-standing heritage spanning several
generations of highly skilled craftsmen. While many other trades have developed at
»Managing Director: Sam Tinsley
»Founded in 1992
»Based in Chorley, Lancashire
»Services: Butchery supplies,
food industry equipment and
edge sharpening services
»No. of employees: 100
»We’ve sharpened over 20
million knives since the
business was founded
Cutting Edge
Highlighting best practice
a quickening pace since the Industrial
Revolution, over the last 100 years,
butchery and slaughter have remained
close to their traditions as crafts, with
change occurring slowly but surely
Our chairman followed in the footsteps
of his father and grandfather,
perfecting his craft for over 20 years.
Building on this, Dave founded Cutting
Edge Services with an entrepreneurial
vision to be at the forefront of
innovation across the industry, starting
with a new approach to the age-old
task of sharpening knives.
Giving our customers the edge
While traditional butchers take
great pride in their highly specialised
knives, using traditional methods of
“steeling” their blades, in an industrial
processing facility with many hundreds
of workers on the production lines, the
skill and time in maintaining a sharp
edge are often lacking. This results in
poorly maintained blades and poor
performance, with lower yields and
possible safety risks. Dave envisioned
a revolutionary sharpening service
to outsource this onerous task and
Cutting Edge Services was founded,
starting with a handful of craftsmen
sharpening hundreds of blades per day
in a small facility.
This unique sharpening service remains
at the heart of the business and, over
the course of 25 years, has flourished
into our Edge Centre, where our
team of “Edge Specialists” process
over one million knives and blades
per annum with the same pride, skill
and attention to detail. To ensure we
meet the demands of the industry,
our service specialists combine highly
skilled craftsmanship with the latest
technology available, investing in a
suite of leading equipment to sharpen
knives and blades through to digitally
measuring the sharpness of a blade
with microscopic accuracy.
Moving away from knives and into
the mechanical equipment within the
production facilities, our company
philosophy centres upon “giving our
customers the edge”, and we take
great pride in providing our customers
with exceptional-quality machines
coupled with reliable and consistent
service. Our technical support teams
have a critical role, as any amount
of machinery downtime can result in
large losses for the production and
processing plants. Our engineers
work through the night and across
weekends to go the extra mile to
ensure that our customers’ sites remain
operational. As a result, we have built
excellent relationships from the ground
up that offer invaluable insights
into the real needs of the industry
from executive levels down to the
production lines.
We work with hundreds
of partners across a
wide range of industries
from microbiologists to
robotic engineers
Our engineers
work through
the night and
across the
weekends to
go the extra
mile to ensure
that our
sites remain
Improving safety and standards
Like any factory, food-processing
plants can be dangerous environments,
where powerful machinery could
cause potentially fatal injuries. As the
final product is food, they are also
subject to necessary hygiene and
safety legislation. Reducing risks and
improving safety have been key parts
of our mission since our inception.
Our comprehensive range of fully
traceable quality protective equipment
has sat alongside the revolutionary
machinery we have developed with
our supply partners over the last
25 years. Our latest addition to this
range is the revolutionary Guardian
Bandsaw, which uses a unique braking
system and vision technology to detect
a potential injury before it occurs,
stopping the blade in a fraction of a
second and recording the incident for
use in preventative education.
We also help our customers to protect
their clients and end consumers from
microbial threats and contamination
with our range of ultraviolet sanitisers,
which use UV radiation to keep
surfaces and packages clean and safe
from infection.
Expanding our horizons
We strive to improve our own
standards continuously by investing
in our people, as well as undertaking
regular auditing for BRC, ISO and other
external validations.
We anticipate a wide range of
challenges both now and in the
longer term, one being the widening
of the skills gap and the lack of fresh
talent entering the industry. To this
end, we entered into a strategic
partnership with ABB Robotics
in 2018 to develop and share
bespoke robotic and automated
solutions for the industry. Much like
the aeronautical and automotive
industries, the food industry must
adapt to this changing landscape.
By taking advantage of Industry 4.0
solutions and technologies, we aim
to support our customers as they
transition from legacy equipment and
We are also firm believers in the
importance of working within the
industry to promote a rich and diverse
culture and to encourage talented
individuals to join the journey. Our
Cutting Edge Academy works with
local colleges to offer apprenticeships
and work experience to students,
promoting the variety of rewarding
careers available in the industry.
We are proud sponsors of the Women
in Meat Industry Awards and active
within the Meat Business Women
initiative, supporting, mentoring
and celebrating women and their
achievements in this traditionally male-
dominated industry.
The last two years have seen our team
evolve and flourish into a diverse
employee base with a wealth and
breadth of experience. By working
together with a wide range of
innovative partners, we are confident
that we can support and prepare
our customers for the challenges of
By taking
advantage of
Industry 4.0
solutions and
we aim to
support our
customers as
they transition
from legacy
and embrace
With a rich heritage
in butchery, we are
continously striving to
bring new innovations
to the industtry

This article was sponsored by Cutting Edge. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Michael Gove.

Rt Hon Michael Gove's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Michael Gove

This year's Parliamentary Review comes at a momentous time for parliament, as we collectively determine the destiny of the United Kingdom. 

On October 31, the UK will leave the European Union. The successful implementation of this process is this government's number-one priority.

Three years after a historic referendum vote, we will deliver on the decisive mandate from the British people. Trust in our democracy depends on it. Until that final hour, we will work determinedly and diligently to negotiate a deal, one that abolishes the backstop and upholds the warm and close relationship we share with our friends, allies and neighbours in the EU. But in the event that the EU refuses to meet us at the table, we must be prepared to leave without a deal.

As the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, it is my job to lead on this government's approach, should that scenario happen. Preparing for Brexit is my department's driving mission. But while I am leading this turbocharged effort, the whole of government is committed to this endeavour.

Ministers across Whitehall are working together to ensure that every possibility is considered, every plan is scrutinised and every provision is made. A daily drumbeat of meetings means that we are holding departments accountable, so that preparations are completed on time.

The chancellor has confirmed that all necessary funding will be made available. And we have mobilised thecivil service, assigning 15,000 of our most talented civil servants to manage our exit from the EU.

We will make sure that on November 1, there is as little disruption to national life as possible. Our trade relationships will continue to thrive, thanks to agreements with countries around the world worth £70 billion. Our country will remain secure, thanks to nearly 1,000 new officers posted at our borders. And the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us can remain confident, with absolute certainty, of their right to remain in the UK.

Above all, our goal is to be transparent. Soon, we will launch a public information campaign so that citizens, communities and businesses are ready and reassured about what will happen in the event of “no deal”.

In my first few weeks in this role, I have travelled to ports and tarmacs, borders and bridges, all across the UK –from the seaside of Dover to the rolling green hills of County Armagh. I have heard from business owners and border officials, farmers and hauliers. They are ready to put an end to uncertainty. And they are ready to embrace the opportunities ahead.

Our departure from the EU will be a once in a lifetime chance to chart a new course for the United Kingdom. Preparing for that new course will be a herculean effort. But this country has made astounding efforts before. We can do it again.
Rt Hon Michael Gove
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster