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Britvic builds pallet implementation virtually

10 September 2021

As we know, the fear of failure can be a significant consideration when changing any supplier, but the move by Britvic to LPR, in the midst of a global pandemic, demonstrated clearly the relationship that had been built between the two businesses.

IT WAS an astonishing success given that the relationship was one that was almost entirely created in a virtual environment. It became very clear to LPR at the beginning of the tender process in July 2019 that to tender effectively and to win Britvic’s business was going to be a whole company effort. An effort which paid off when the contract was awarded to LPR – with the implementation to begin in August 2020.

What LPR could not know at the start was just how important the time spent getting to know the Britvic supply chain operation would be. In fact, the investment at this stage meant that LPR could identify opportunities early on to add significant value to Britvic’s business, demonstrating credible solutions and a true partnership approach.

Knowing how critical excellent pallet quality would be to Britvic, given their highly automated post-production supply chain, LPR’s Quality Team visited each of the Britvic sites at the start of the process. Talking to the site stakeholders in depth enabled LPR to identify pain points and understand how to overcome them. This early road-trip was crucial: the global pandemic began just a few months later, effectively preventing site visits during the late stages of the sales process and even during implementation. It meant that, when trial loads of pallets were delivered in 2020, calibration tweaks were easily made, with LPR’s Quality Team supporting from a distance.

“Britvic had been with their previous pallet provider for over 20 years, so I was concerned that it would be difficult to change, however, LPR were honest and reliable, delivering what they said they would.”

One of the areas noted during site visit stage was that Britvic was not comfortable re-using pallets received from their suppliers due to concerns around how a non-assured pallet would impact their automation. LPR was confident that its young and high quality pallet pool would enable this to change, and reviewed with Britvic where these inbound pallets might still be used within the supply chain. This has meant that Britvic is able to spend less on pallets from LPR Service Centres, leading to a lower overall pallet cost. 

Furthermore, LPR was able to propose continuous improvement initiatives for site-specific needs, which will enable Britvic to unlock further savings during the life of the contract. 

To provide the Britvic team with further reassurance that the switch would be seamless, time was taken even before business award to create an extensive implementation plan, covering everything from pallet handling to IT project management. The plan, which also provided Britvic with a view on the resource required from their business, was agreed and clearly understood by all partners. It was created as a ‘living document’, meaning that a firm framework was in place to steer the process, but that it was agile enough to be able to evolve when required. The plan was revisited every week and at every call – and by each department involved in the changeover – keeping the project very firmly on track. 

One of the most vital aspects of ensuring that this implementation was a success was the engagement of a team of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) from both businesses, and the creation of communication channels to ensure momentum: no mean feat when, by now, the country was in full lockdown! Britvic and LPR both made a concerted effort from the very start to include every member of personnel that would have a touch point in the process. By taking this full-team approach, the handover was seamless, and the process was efficiently managed, with LPR’s account manager introduced to her opposite number at Britvic early in the implementation to ensure a full sense of ownership was instilled from the start.

Onboarding a pan European business like Britvic, which has a huge network of suppliers and co-packers, also means onboarding its vertical supply chain partners to create a slicker supply chain. Where LPR and Britvic had trading partners in common, LPR made contact promptly and put arrangements in place to further enhance the changeover process for Britvic. Where LPR had no existing relationship with Britvic’s key providers, the Britvic team provided introductions and LPR simply engaged with those partners to seamlessly switch their flows to LPR pallets, delivering a hassle-free start up for Britvic. 

A further way that LPR could demonstrate cost savings was by working with all of the departments across its business to review every company in Britvic’s extensive customer base. With a team effort by LPR, we were able to virtually eliminate the risk to Britvic of pallet losses and associated costs. Indeed, a truly transparent way of working meant that LPR was able to show Britvic exactly where it would be able to remove costs that had previously been significant.

One aspect of a changeover that is always a consideration is the ability of a manufacturer’s IT system to accommodate the change. Britvic and LPR SMEs worked closely together to understand the possible risks and as a result of this partnership working, LPR was able to recommend a process to overcome potential issues, which was then implemented with no disruption to Britvic’s operations.

Frequent, clear and concise communication was the hallmark of this successful changeover and implementation – important at any time, but of vital importance at a time when face to face meetings were prohibited. The willingness and determination of both Britvic and LPR to make the implementation a success, and the dedication of the teams working on the project consequently were what made this implementation such a seamless process.

One of the most vital aspects of ensuring that this implementation was a success was the engagement of a team of Subject Matter Experts from both businesses.

LPR North regional managing director Adrian Fleming, said: “We are delighted to become the pallet pooler of choice for Britvic. The collaborative spirit of both companies has meant that the process was transparent and simple.” 

Britvic logistics category manager - procurement Kevin Gallimore, commented: “Britvic had been with their previous pallet provider for over 20 years, so I was concerned that it would be difficult to change, however, LPR were honest and reliable, delivering what they said they would. Britvic is a complex business, and LPR made sure that they understood our business, the handover process was seamless, and the move was a good experience overall, with both businesses working well together.”

Britvic Ireland head of logistics & demand supply planning - supply chain Raymond Galligan, added: “I was really impressed by LPR’s handling both of the implementation process, and the subsequent roll out. The feedback from my team has been overwhelmingly positive - particularly in respect of LPR’s pallet quality. The change-over has been a great success and long may it continue!” 

LPR UK & Ireland commercial director Diane Carroll, commented: “It has been a pleasure to work with the team at Britvic. From the first virtual meeting, through to the first load of pallets being electronically ordered and then delivered, we have worked together in a truly collaboratively way – an absolute necessity given our inability to physically meet in the current pandemic. We look forward to a long and successful partnership!”

For more information, visit www.lpr.eu

 
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