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Improving distribution with the Perfect Order

Date: April 28, 2016

Category: Industry news


A new industry group is planning to improve wholesalers’ service to customers and take cost out of the supply chain by modeling the ‘perfect order’.

Part of the FWD’s Supplier Council, the Supply Chain Improvement Group will establish an industry standard for ordering and delivery, with a clear focus on ‘right first time’. It aims for the standard to be adopted as best practice by the industry by the end of 2017.

The group, which is independently facilitated by GS1 UK, the supply chain standards organisation, has already carried out research to establish where ‘pain in the supply chain’ adds costs and confusion to the distribution process. Sean Negus, Consultant at GS1 UK said: “When wholesalers place orders with suppliers, they have every right to expect that the orders will be delivered on time, in full and in the right condition, with pallets correctly built and clearly labelled, accompanied by the correct documentation.” 

In a perfect world, that’s how all orders should be fulfilled. In reality, for one reason or another, orders can be subject to change or even cancellation. This can inevitably lead to errors and increased operating costs, and ultimately affect product availability and result in lost sales.”

Sean Negus, Consultant at GS1 UK

At its initial meeting in March, the group agreed to launch the ‘Perfect Order’ initiative. “The industry wants to be aligned behind a clear set of standards for inbound logistics, enhanced by better data quality, better shipping and a less complex receipting process,” Negus added.

The perfect order model will be built around inbound logistics, but also cover the entire order-to-cash process, from the point a retailer places an order to the moment the supplier receives payment. Over a 12-week work stream, the group will agree best practice for suppliers and retailers, and communicate its findings to the industry through channels including Wholesale News and the FWD conference on June 30.

The group is co-chaired by Palmer and Harvey chief executive Chris Etherington and Steve Norris of Nestle Professional. Steve Norris said the group had a great opportunity to improve processes and efficiencies in the supply chain. “We know our customers now have different options, like local suppliers, multiple retailers and online wholesalers,” he said. “We are working together to identify and agree improvements we can make, with the ultimate aim of providing a better service to the customer.”

This article first appeared on the Federation of Wholesale Distributors website

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