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Efficient delivery is the life-blood of a well-run supply chain. The top two in the running for this category were Sainsbury’s Argos and Forterra.

Sainsbury’s Argos is one of the UK’s largest general merchandise retailers, offering more than 80,000 products through its website, apps and 1,200+ stores, collection points and stores inside Sainsbury’s supermarkets. Although half of sales originate online, some 80% of all orders are fulfilled in stores, often as a click & collect option.

Over the last year, a customer fulfilment Team has been created to focus on two areas: improving customer delivery choice and a strategic review of the fulfilment network. Through researching customer choices on delivery it was noted that different parts of the UK shopped differently to others and trials were undertaken to suit the particular customer demographics.

Success has been realised through higher conversion rates and an improvement in customer satisfaction scores. On the strategic review of the network, similar positive results have been achieved for fast track delivery by introducing a hub within a well-located Sainsbury’s store. The approach allows the business to have fewer fulfilment locations whilst providing an efficient home delivery service.

The judges liked what they heard, but it wasn’t to be the winner.

Forterra win The Delivery Innovation Award 2019

The entry from Forterra offered a simple solution to an age-old problem. As one of the UK’s leading building products manufacturers, the business wanted to address safety issues around drivers working from a height when securing loads of the company’s Thermalite aircrete block product. Due to the product’s light weight, loads are stacked up to four high on the vehicle bed, which until fairly recently meant that the driver had to stand on top of the high load in order to roll out netting, making it a hazardous activity.

Forterra devised a system using spacers and straps to separate packs or pallets, but this too required the driver to put spacers in place while working in close proximity to a clamp truck. What impressed the judges was the approach taken to solve the problem. By using team problem solving methodology drivers and loaders at the company’s Thatcham depot came up with the idea of removing the need for spacers by finding the best way to configure the loads on the vehicle. Two rows of packs on the bed with a single top row loaded centrally offered the best solution.

The result has been the elimination of the need to work from a height and Forterra has saved around £100,000 per year in material costs. The solution is now being adopted widely in the sector.

The judges said, “this was a successful initiative with a positive outcome for operator safety, cost savings for the business and significant benefits for the industry as a whole.” Forterra was the winner.

Andy Manning, logistics director, Forterra, said: “Our ambition is to get everybody home safely. So we are reducing the amount of time you have to climb on a truck.”

Winner: Forterra

Shortlisted: Heineken UK; Sainsbury’s Argos.

The 24th Supply Chain Excellence Awards will take place on 12 November 2020. The awards are a celebration of all things supply chain and all entrants are put through their paces – including presenting to a panel of their peers – to ensure only the best win the coveted award.

For more information, including how to enter and sponsorship opportunities, and to register your interest go to: Supplychainexcellenceawards.com