Good practical examples of sound process improvements were evident from many of the entries, some working from a low base, but nonetheless, noteworthy and commendable. Lego Group won this category last year, and although its entry was good, the judges felt there was not enough evidence to suggest that significantly more had been achieved this year.
After much deliberation the judges decided the trophy had to go to one of two outstanding entrants – Carlsberg UK in partnership with Gist or Ikea franchisee Fourlis Group.
Brewing company, Carlsberg UK, has forged a close working relationship with its logistics service provider, Gist, serving an integrated supply chain covering operations that run from three sites in Northampton and two in Leeds.
Over the past 18 months a range of initiatives – involving Gist in broadening its role and responsibility – has resulted in increased customer service while achieving a ten per cent reduction in cost. The judges were impressed.
However, the entry from Ikea franchisee Fourlis Group was impressive too. The company has invested heavily in a highly automated and flexible warehouse facility in Greece, providing efficient warehouse services for the whole of south east Europe. The company has adopted automation, with manual fall-back, to reduce labour costs and improve productivity. Container emptying has been optimised using a three-line rail link from the port and the building has the capacity to take 50 wagons. In addition, meticulous attention has been paid to workflow improvements, monitoring staff performance and motivating the workforce.
Although it was very close between Carlsberg and Ikea, with scores running neck and neck, the judges felt that Ikea franchisee Fourlis Group had the edge.