Grace Foods, one of the UK’s largest suppliers of world foods and drinks, has extended its transport and distribution contract with Jigsaw, the large-scale managed transport solutions provider. The two companies have been working together since 2009 and Grace Foods decided to extend the contract because Jigsaw had significantly improved the consistency of deliveries and quality of service.
With roots in Jamaica, Grace Foods produces a wide range of Caribbean, Oriental and Tex/Mex food and drink products with brands including Nurishment, Encona, Grace, Dunn’s River and Silk Road. The company is a major force in the Caribbean and is experiencing significant growth in the UK. From its UK headquarters in Welwyn Garden City the company supplies major supermarkets, specialist retailers, wholesalers and cash & carries across the country. The unique profile of the company’s rapidly growing customer base means that it needs to deliver consignments ranging from full 26-pallet loads to large supermarkets through to single pallets to smaller stockists and even market stall holders, many of whom are located in city centres. Jigsaw started working with the company in 2009 when Grace Foods outsourced its transport services for the first time as part of a strategy to grow the business and improve operations with shorter lead times, flexible load sizes, and reduced cost of damage and returns.
Jigsaw implemented a highly flexible supply chain operation utilising the services of its ten Partner Hauliers. The contract is based on an extremely adaptable radial trunk-to-hub model. Full loads are collected from Grace Foods’ central warehouse in Welwyn Garden City and transported to regional depots operated by Jigsaw’s Partner Hauliers. Loads are then cross docked for onward delivery to major retailers’ distribution centres or loaded onto specialist vehicles for final delivery to local retailers and other stockists. Each Partner Haulier undertakes transport and distribution in its own region, where it has knowledge and expertise, and this allows Jigsaw to create an integrated national contract with local services configured to meet specific operational requirements.
The operational model promotes agility and scalability to support the full spectrum of Grace Foods’ requirement. For example, through the expertise and inner-city delivery experience of Partner Haulier S&R Smith & Sons, Jigsaw has introduced a highly efficient delivery service covering central London. Light commercial vehicles equipped with tail lifts and crewed by two people now routinely make deliveries to small drop sites and often handle loads directly into stores ready for shelf stacking. Similar processes have been introduced in other key market areas including Birmingham. Services like this have helped to improve delivery consistency, reduce leads times and align consignments with retailers’ in-store capacity. At the same time Jigsaw has worked with its Partner Hauliers to maximise the efficiency deliveries to the distribution centres operated by the major retailers. Network synergies and efficient transport planning ensures maximum utilisation of vehicles to minimise the number of journeys and reduce empty loads. Partner Hauliers can use return journeys to support other contracts managed by Jigsaw or those they have with their own customers.
Jigsaw removes complexity by providing Grace Foods with a seamless, single point of contact for all aspects of the contract from its central network operations centre in Leicestershire. The company manages all of the operations of the partner hauliers using an integrated communications system comprising telephony, data communications, email and back office systems. This means that Grace Foods only needs to deal with one point of contact for any part of the overall service.
"This contract clearly demonstrates the benefits of our network model and its ability to meet Grace Foods’ evolving requirement," says Andy Humpherson, Managing Director at Jigsaw. "From a business point of view it’s an important step in our development that customers such as Grace Foods are choosing to stay and grow with us."