Sausages with a side order of stationery

Delivering post with the potatoes and backhauling waste to maximise the final mile. It’s logistics in a logical world. Amy Fetzer reports.

First it is the food order, another doorbell signals some stationery, whilst the next interruption is for empties. And so it goes on. Deliveries and collections can be disruptive, interrupting the flow of work and taking staff away from serving customers.

The solution? Combine deliveries and collections into one hit so catering and site staff do not have to deal with multiple disruptions, whilst maximising utilisation and profit.

Such a solution sounds simple, but it requires collaboration – between logistics companies and their clients, and with the client’s other suppliers. But Greene King and Kuehne + Nagel have shown it is possible – and are forging the way with an innovative new partnership.

The pub group and the logistics experts came together with a mission to reduce emissions, disruption, traffic and administration by looking at how they could fully utilise capacity both in to and out of Greene King sites. The solution was for Kuehne + Nagel to begin delivering products that have historically gone by other routes – such as non-food items.

“Pubs need cleaning products, menus and crockery, for example,” explained Kevin Hulme, account director – food services, Kuehne + Nagel. “So we asked, ‘how do we make best use of those of our vehicles which are serving our customers?’

“The core delivery product may be food but, together, we were trying to maximise capacity to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, and to minimise delivery emissions, disruption and costs. So carrying non-food items as well made sense. In collaboration with Greene King, we reviewed all supply chain routes to pubs and how they purchase and have other products delivered.”

This led to investment in Kuehne + Nagel’s vehicles and the development of a logistics platform which enables foodservice operators to choose whatever supplies they like. Kuehne + Nagel then takes over managing the stocks, paying the suppliers, taking the orders from the outlets, managing customer services, and picking and delivering the order to each outlet.

This means instead of a non-food supplier sending its own shipment to hundreds of delivery points across Greene King’s network, a bulk order can be sent to Kuehne + Nagel’s distribution centre. This can then be processed and delivered along with the food order. This consolidation reduces cost and the companies’ carbon footprint, and takes the complexity out of the ordering system; dramatically reducing administration. It also helps reduce congestion on the roads, and the associated pollution.

Others in foodservice are beginning to take action on consolidation. Sodexo has worked with its supply chain to successfully remove 100,000 deliveries from over 1,000 operational sites from its network by consolidating deliveries, saving 86 tonnes of CO2 and an estimated £900,000 per year.

Backhauling waste, often via dedicated undercarriages to prevent contamination, has been another growth area that has saved carbon, congestion and cost. Kuehne + Nagel estimates that working with Greene King to introduce waste backhauling reduced bins at pubs by 35%.

A recent paper estimated that collecting and using waste cooking oil and burger fat from quick service restaurants, as McDonalds do, could provide up to 5.8% of national HGVs’ energy consumption.

The emissions savings that such innovations in consolidation and logistics bring are vital. Road haulage accounts for a fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions. A recent World Bank report concluded that air pollution is the fourth largest cause of premature death worldwide, and costs $225 billion in lost labour income.

In the UK, pressure is mounting. The UK has recently been given a slap on the wrist by the European Court of Justice. It ruled that it must act soon to clean up illegal levels of air pollution. Regulation is tightening as local authorities become increasingly concerned with air quality and congestion, and logistics is becoming a target. Consolidation and collaboration are key.

And whilst collaboration might seem risky because of the necessary reliance on others in your network, research by IDG concluded that collaboration in logistics actually reduces risk because “the more partners involved, the more risk is shared”.

“Our partnership with Greene King shows that so much can be achieved when we work together,” commented Hulme. “As an industry, we all have to look at how we make that final mile most effective. The industry should be working together on this.”

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