The trend towards fresh, chilled dairy, juice and functional drinks creates pressure to maintain fresh product deliveries. Claire Phoenix talks to Culina Group commercial director Steve Winwood about improved logistics, sustainability initiatives and cost savings.
Steve Winwood: We have in excess of 150 premium brand, chilled customers and another 100+ in ambient.
Retailers are keen to adopt leaner supply chains with shorter lead times. How can Culina help here?
Steve Winwood: With the majority of chilled and fresh items, we work on 'day-one-for-day-two' delivery patterns, so orders received by an agreed time on the first day are delivered the following day. However, due to the short lead time promotions, we also provide 'day-one-for-day-one' service when required, and still maintain high service levels.
We're also seeing a trend for major retailers to demand similar schedules for ambient (including drink) products. While chilled and fresh lead times are designed to promote longer shelf life, in both instances the objective is to release capital from the supply chain and enable nimbler deliveries to retailer. Our shared user network model allows us to provide a highly scaleable service for customers of all sizes.
How many temperature-controlled vehicles for chill chain distribution does Culina have?
Steve Winwood: We have more than 400 temperature-controlled trailers and another 300 ambient trailers. Our Culina Group company, Culina Fresh, specialises in fresh, perishable and temperature-controlled logistics across the UK and Europe.
How is the company becoming more environmentally friendly?
- Out of date product is no longer sent to landfill. Food waste goes to biomass.
- Vehicle fleet moving to 100% Euro 5 compliant (all new vehicles will meet Euro 6 standards).
- All warehouse and office waste is recycled.
- Investment in the latest battery technology.
- Tests to run vehicles on biofuel.
- Paperless ordering via EDI.
- Reducing empty legs on fleet (reverse logistics).
- Driver green band training.
What do you think has been the most important move in chill chain distribution?
Steve Winwood: Improved logistics mean manufacturers and retailers can now align processes to demand. Benefits include reduced requirement to dispose of waste, fewer incorrect deliveries, fewer missed delivery slots and better customer service.
Delivery of both chilled and ambient products on the same day offers many advantages, reducing the amount of capital tied up in the supply chain. Increased use of technology will improve service capabilities and levels and sustainability initiatives that deliver cost savings will also increase.
Claire Phoenix is managing editor of Beverage Innovation magazine.
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This article was first published
in Beverage Innovation.