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Pimpernel Wharf chooses Culina for cheese contract

05 December 2012

Food import and category management company Pimpernel Wharf has awarded a chilled distribution contract to Culina covering the supply of specialist cheese products to supermarket group Morrisons

Over 20 different cheeses chosen by Morrisons and sourced by Pimpernel Wharf from various suppliers across Europe will be shipped through Culina’s warehouse in Haverhill to the supermarket’s national distribution centres. The contract started in June and is fully operational as of the beginning of September.

“We are very confident in the operation and it’s been running like clockwork from the start,” says Mark Greenaway, key account manager at Pimpernel Wharf. “We needed to achieve very high service levels for this contract and identified Culina as a specialist chilled logistics company that could help us meet these objectives.”

Pimpernel Wharf is a specialist category management company which works with cheese producers from across Europe to develop innovative products and help them find a route to market to compete against mainstream brands. These products are then shipped direct from the producers into the supply chain and ultimately on to customers including supermarkets, multiples and food service. This model removes the need for the business to operate its own warehouses.

The company started discussions with Morrisons during 2011 to develop a new concept covering specialist cheeses stocked by the supermarket. The initial implementation of the contract, which ties in with a re-brand at the supermarket, started during the second quarter of 2012 and will go fully live during September. To meet the demanding order schedules agreed with the supermarket the company wanted to pass distribution operations to a chilled logistics specialist.

Although Pimpernel Wharf works with a number of third party distributors across its business it recognised that relatively few could meet its objectives for this particular contract. The company knew of Culina through its contacts in Europe and visited the Haverhill depot to meet members of the commercial and operational teams.

“We liked what we saw in the way the warehouse operated and how Culina compared with the other companies we approached who could not provide the level of service required and apply the attention to detail that we need to maintain our unique position in the market. Everyone at Culina has been very helpful and is working with us as partners,” says Mark Greenaway.

Another aspect of Culina’s operations that appealed to Pimpernel Wharf was its existing relationship with the supermarket. Culina works with Morrisons on a number of chilled contracts and this has provided the company with a good understanding of how the supermarket operated and offered insight into its specific requirements from suppliers.

Product is delivered direct from Pimpernel Wharf’s producers to Culina’s depot in Haverhill. This is an ideal location for the contract within Culina’s national network due to its proximity to the strategic cargo ports on the East coast and good links to the motorways. This means that Pimpernel Wharf does not need to operate its own warehouse to support the contract, a significant advantage in terms of supply chain simplicity.

Stock is ordered weekly from suppliers in Italy, Germany, France and the Czech Republic who then ship a consolidated container load directly into Haverhill. Orders are then distributed to the supermarket’s distribution centres. When fully operational the contract will cover over 20 different cheese products and more than 10,000 cases week. Pimpernel Wharf expects this number to grow as the contract evolves during the remainder of 2012.

To manage the contract Culina employs its shared user model. This is extremely useful for specialist producers such as Pimpernel Wharf because it provides access to national distribution networks and extremely high service levels without any restrictions on the volumes being shipped while supporting flexibility, adaptability and scalability to meet ever changing requirements.

In this type of operation storage and distribution infrastructure and services are shared between users throughout the Culina network. Any Culina vehicle on the road will be carrying products for multiple customers while individual pallets might also contain products from different suppliers but with a common, shared destination.

In this way Culina optimises not only the resources utilised in each depot throughout the network but ensures each vehicle is filled as fully as possible for effective, economical and sustainable transportation. Supply chain efficiencies and economies of scale allow Culina to provide efficient and cost effective solutions to customers of all sizes which can be scaled up and down to meet seasonal peaks and the demands of promotions.


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