Department for Transport Surveys Food And Drink Transport Costs

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Evolving lifestyles and changes in standards of living are putting increased pressures on our transport system, particularly in the food and drinks sector where the cost of “food miles” is becoming a major environmental issue. Against this background, the Department for Transport (DfT), has commissioned major surveys of the Food and Drink transport sectors stemming from the DfT strategy for Sustainable Distribution.

Evolving lifestyles and changes in standards of living are putting increased pressures on our transport system, particularly in the food and drinks sector where the cost of “food miles” is becoming a major environmental issue. Against this background, the Department for Transport (DfT), has commissioned major surveys of the Food and Drink transport sectors stemming from the DfT strategy for Sustainable Distribution

The DFT has commissioned SCALA Logistics Consulting to conduct these surveys exploring the efficiency of the transport of food and drink in England, whether carried by manufacturers, retailers or logistics companies. John Perry, Managing Director of SCALA, says “Our changed lifestyle means more goods are being delivered, often over much longer distances. We have also become accustomed to very high standards of product, in terms of variety, on-shelf availability, and quality. Within the food industry, quality, especially in fresh produce, often means travel from distant areas where produce is in season, and frequently means additional packaging to ensure unblemished condition”.

Mr. Perry added that these pressures, together with a growing and increasingly mobile population, make a safe, reliable and environmentally friendly transport system ever more difficult to achieve.

SCALA project manager for the DfT survey, Graham Stubs, told us that the overall aim of the Department for Transport is the creation of a sustainable transport system which is safe and reliable, and available for everyone. It should also be integrated and it should, indeed must, make as little impact on the environment as possible.

Mr. Stubbs added “Some improvements in efficiency of vehicles and the way that they are used has helped to curtail the environmental impact of commercial vehicles, but there is still every reason to find further opportunity for improvement and to press for its achievement.”

The DfT has conducted similar surveys in 1998 and 2002. These focussed on five key performance indicators:- vehicle fill, time utilisation, empty running, fuel consumption and deviation from schedule. Whilst wanting to build on this previous base of knowledge, industry workshops are planned to ensure that the information gathered in the new surveys is as relevant as possible to the industry and the participating companies.

The DFT and SCALA want a wide range of companies to actively participate. All companies, large and small, based or supplying delivery points in England, will have the opportunity to be involved including retailers, suppliers and manufacturers, together with the appropriate logistics and transport contractors.

There needs to be a commitment by each company to the survey, but there is no charge. In addition to helping to provide reliable quantified national data, all the participating companies will receive reports individually setting out their performance compared with the national performance.

The surveys will pool data from many different fleets to provide the industry with the range of achievements against KPIs and an indication of best practice performance. To enhance the value of the work, both to the participants and industry as a whole, there will be two surveys, in 2007 and 2009, providing a comprehensive indication of changes within the two sectors.

Mr Perry pointed out that participation in the survey presents a unique opportunity for companies to to benchmark their own operations against agreed, nationally recognised, criteria that have now been in place since 1998. A more detailed report on specific performance within each business will be available from SCALA Consulting on a totally confidential basis.

SCALA will be running two half-day workshops - North and South - during the week commencing 13th November 2006. These initial Workshops will be aimed at senior managers and will explain the importance of the surveys and outline the projected timetable. There will also be input from potential participants, some of whom will have taken part in the previous surveys, regarding the KPIs, the methodology, the data sample period and the sample timing

For further information contact SCALA Consulting Tel : 01484 422084 or visit http://www.scalagroup.co.uk/news_events. Companies can also contact the SCALA project manager directly: Graham Stubbs 07775 633775

Copies of the 2002 Benchmarking Guide, Key Performance Indicators for the Food Supply Chain, can be ordered, free of charge, from the Freight Best Practice hotline on 0845 877 0 877, or you can download a copy from:

http://www.freightbestpractice.org.uk
http://www.scalagroup.co.uk

For further information contact:

Denis O’Sullivan

NetworkedWorld

07710-820979

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