Farmfoods Case Study

The Supply Chain Consulting Group Completes Distribution Network Review & Optimisation Project For Farmfoods

Farmfoods is a frozen food specialist, which has expanded throughout the UK to 320 stores selling frozen, chilled and ambient products. The stores are serviced by three Distribution Centres (DCs) in Cumbernauld, Warrington and Birmingham, which service approximately a third of the stores each.

Farmfoods engaged the Specialist Consultants of The Supply Chain Consulting Group (SCCG) to review the Birmingham DC operations and capacity constraints and the complete UK ‘own fleet’ multi-temperature distribution operations. The review aimed to assess the capacity of the existing logistics network.  

The Birmingham DC capacity review was carried out the SCCG team of Specialist Supply Chain & Logistics Consultants, who observed every part of the physical handling, warehousing and picking operations from goods received to order despatch. Recommendations were made for areas or process that could yield additional capacity. SCCG carried out logistics network modelling and simulation using the industry standard Distribution Planning System (DPS) routing and scheduling package.  

The first step was to create the ‘As-Is’ model for a representative average period to replicate the current multi-temperature regime pallet distribution operation within the DPS software. This was built and refined until it matched what the actual resource requirement was for the period in terms of vehicle count and profile, vehicle fill, mileage, driver hours and all costs associated with the delivery (including labour, fuel and other vehicle costs). 

From the base model several scenarios were modelled and compared against the base case and each other in terms of; vehicle fleet size and profile, aggregate mileage driven by vehicle type; drivers’ hours and other expenses such as overnight stays; costs for each element and the change of distribution boundaries between DCs. The different scenarios modelled included; a move to 24-hour deliveries; expanding the delivery window to any time during staffed hours; separate ambient and temperature-controlled deliveries; and finally, the option of a fourth depot added to the network. 

Through DC boundary alignment it would provide capacity relief to the Birmingham depot which in turn would then provide relief to the Warrington DC. This in turn provides capacity for growth in England and Wales. The fourth depot would serve the area that offers the greatest growth potential for Farmfoods. As an outcome of the completion of the project Farmfoods opened a fourth DC which is a 175,000ft2 multi-temperature facility in Bristol. 

“SCCG provided us with an excellent view of our current operations and they were able to make recommendations without any constraints or pre-determined outputs. This approach provided us with peace of mind that what we thought was right was subsequently validated by an expert third party. I would not hesitate to engage the team at SCCG again in the future.” Retail Director – Farmfoods

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