Greencore

Name: Ben Martin

Title: Network & Transport Director – Food to Go

Company: Greencore

Greencore logo
Ben Martin, Greencore
  1. Question: How did you get into the temperature controlled distribution sector and what is your role within Greencore Group? 

Answer:  I started out in 2007 fresh from University on a graduate scheme with a chilled 3rd party logistics business. Having studied a degree in Motorsport Operations Management, logistics wasn’t a natural transition for me to make but as the scheme looked interesting and loosely involved vehicles I thought I would give it a go and I been hooked on Transport ever since. My role today is very different to how I started out, as the Network & Transport Director for Greencore I have a very wide scope in responsibilities including leading solutions design and optimisation of our store delivery business, fleet specification and maintenance, owning the businesses Transport Governance Program and working with our 3pl partners on our ex-factory logistics. The majority of our business is based on servicing major convenience store retailers, with over 11,000 deliveries made daily across every UK postcode. This brings many and varied challenges along the way and means I have a role that is always rewarding.

  1. Question:  Can you firstly tell us what temperature controlled vehicles that Greencore Group operates?

Answer:  Today Greencore operate 460 multi-temp 3.5t vans and over 100 HGV’s across our 18 distribution locations. The bulk of our light commercial fleet are built with a Mercedes Sprinter chassis, Carrier Multi-temp fridge unit and bespoke designed Solomon’s commercial vehicles box. We’ve worked closely with our vehicle providers and engineers over recent years to develop a light commercial vehicle geared to our needs for flexibility in application and high capacity/payload.

  1. Question: What has been the most important technical development in your temperature controlled bodies and refrigeration systems in recent years and how has it impacted on your operations within Greencore Group?

Answer: The most recent piece of development work we’ve conducted has been the introduction of battery powered refrigeration units on a small number of our Light commercial Fleet. We’ve had a long standing issue with temperature management on our ferry crossing vehicles, where by if we suffer any delays on the sea’s we lose product as it goes out of temperature as the direct drive fridge units can not be run whilst on the ferry. We took the challenge to our fleet provider, Petit Forestier in partnership with Carrier, to find an alternative solution to running fridges whilst on a ferry crossing. The solution was battery powered fridge units that are charged like an EV vehicle during downtime, via wall plug, and regenerate power whilst making deliveries. My thanks go out to Carrier Transicold, Petit Forestier and Clayton Power for their help with this important innovation.

  1. Question: Are you using telematics across your fleet currently? If so, what advantages do you see this gives your clients?

Answer:  Telematics have become a mainstay of the industry at this point and a prerequisite to doing business with most of our customer base. We invest in telematics across our fleet, with the main focus of its application being around driver coaching and risk mitigation. The ability to accurately record our service performance and show end to end traceability is, for me, a secondary benefit when weighed against the ability to give insight on driving styles.  We’ve worked really hard over the last 18 months to get the best from the driver insight that our telematics package gives us, developing a Road Risk Strategy that has seen our recorded speeding events drop by over 60% and continues to lower our carbon output by more fuel efficient driving.

  1. Question: Customer needs are constantly changing, so what are you finding is now the biggest request from your customers?

Answer:  There is one word for this AGILITY. The Corona virus pandemic has tested everyone and our biggest asset in being able to ride out this volatile logistics storm has been our ability to be agile. Our customers were required to make big decisions on trading and store opening throughout the pandemic with little to no notice available. We’re proud of our deep partnerships with our customers, helping to provide them with our insight and guidance on the appropriate course of action, and able to follow their lead on what is required to maintain service and keep feeding the Nation”.

  1. Question: What environmental measures does Greencore Group incorporate to ensure best practice?

Answer:  Over the past four years we’ve worked on our vehicle engineering in light commercial vehicles to increase payload capabilities by over 30%. We’re also continuing the development of our fuel efficient driving focus. Sustainability and how we conduct ourselves from an environmental perspective has always been important, and we’re aware of the increasing focus on this area specifically, which is why Greencore has just published its first standalone sustainability strategy which can be reviewed at https://www.makingeverydaytastebetter.com/

  1. Question: Now that the UK has left the European Union, have you noticed any changes with your business since 31st January?

Answer: Being a UK focused manufacturer and distributor we’re largely unaffected by the move away from the European Union. We’re working closely with our customer partners to support them through the transition period, as we’re always ready to support their needs.

  1. Question: Lastly, would you like to share any news about your company that you feel would benefit the TCS&D readers?

Answer:  Its an exciting time in Greencore at the moment, in November we launched our corporate purpose “Making everyday taste better”. This brings to life in our business our strategic direction for the years to come and I’m particularly enjoying sharing this with our teams and customers. We’ve also been fortunate enough to secure some additional long term customers throughout 2020 and, as we embed them into our business, we’re looking forward to growing their proposition and volumes.

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