By Samantha Blake, Director, Industry Affairs, Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) *
Australia’s FMCG market presents myriad challenges for both suppliers and retailers – geographic scale and distance, relatively high costs of transportation, population density, supply chain complexity, and the diverse and fast-evolving expectations of our customers.
In this environment, standardised, retailer-agnostic supply chain requirements are a practical way to support greater eﬃciencies within the industry, including a uniform approach to the physical delivery of supplier goods to retailers.
There are significant potential benefits to all parties where retailer requirements can be made more consistent in this area: a greater percentage of “right first time” deliveries, less confusion and fewer costly rejections – all helping to reduce costs and deliver improved outcomes for consumers.
AFGC’s Perfect Delivery Project
With this in mind, we’ve been working on The Perfect Delivery Project. It’s one, which we hope, will be a game-changer for Australia’s food & grocery manufacturing and supply sector. We see it will particularly help Australian mid-tier food & beverage manufacturers delivering into DCs
The key driver behind the project is that too many deliveries to Retailer Delivery Centres (DCs) require workarounds. This is nothing short of a complete waste of resources, time and money. And will become utterly impractical in the future thanks to technical and operational advancements – including full automation. (For instance in places such as Woolworths state-of-the art, fully automated DC in South Melbourne – above – where the doors will open in early 2019.)
If we don’t get the basics right, how can we expect to optimise what we do now? And take advantage of advanced technology and processes in the years ahead?
Different supermarkets, consistent approach
At the AFGC, we’ve collaborated with Coles, Woolworths and Metcash, and identified their non-competitive delivery requirements to facilitate better quality, easy-to-receipt loads at all three Retailer DCs across the country.
These collaborations have so far led to the development of two tools for industry:
Common Despatch Toolkit
This suite of simple tools for despatch teams includes:
- One-page reference guideline outlining basic requirements for pallet quality, use and wrapping, carton integrity and labelling.
- Pallet despatch checklist poster.
- Pre-despatch checklist.
The Common Delivery Guidelines
These Guidelines codify, clarify and align areas where there’s historically been fragmentation. They provide information that suppliers can use to prepare product for delivery into these major retailers, thus mitigating the risk of rejection or having to rework loads, pallets and trade units that don’t meet specifications.
They focus specifically on common delivery requirements regarding:
- Logistics Units/Pallets, Pallets – condition, dimensions, preparation/wrapping, labelling
- Cartons – condition, dimensions, labelling (number of sides/adjacencies)
- Advance Shipping Notifications (ASNs) and Delivery on Time (DOT) windows
We’ve applied the law of simplicity to the Toolkit and Guidelines, using clear language and diagrams as visual prompts throughout. All documents are digital to view online or print as required.
These tools were developed by industry for industry and are freely available online. We’ll update the Common Despatch Toolkit and Common Delivery Guidelines as required and, of course, value any feedback you may have.
In Part 2, we’ll drill down in-depth into the tools themselves.
Looking for more information? Matthews’ resource library has lots of free-to-download information for Australian manufacturers.
* About the author: As Director of Industry Affairs for the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC), Samantha works on a wide range of commercial, supply chain and retail trade issues impacting the Australian market. Including Food and Grocery Code of Conduct, end-to-end value chain opportunities, commercial and sales capabilities, as well as the financial competitiveness of the FMCG retail industry. She has extensive experience in the food industry in Australia and the UK, encompassing all areas of food operations including executive management roles in manufacturing, technical, supply chain, with responsibility for production, maintenance, engineering, quality, product and process development. Samantha joined the AFGC in 2004.
Image credit: iStock/ vm