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5 Minutes With… LPR UK & IRELAND’s Diane Carroll

In the latest instalment of our supply chain industry executive interview series, we spoke to Diane Carroll, Commercial Director at LPR UK & Ireland, about the company, the ongoing issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, market opportunities and the impact of new technology…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

LPR UK is a subsidiary of LPR – La Palette Rouge, a leading pan European, pallet pooling business working in the FMCG sector. The business is present in 15 countries and moves more than 107 million pallets per year.

What have been the biggest challenges the Supply Chain industry has faced over the past 12 months?

Everybody has experienced the challenges of working from home during the pandemic, but those involved in hands on industries such as supply chain and logistics have probably felt the most pain. Demand did not ease during this time – in fact demand almost doubled in some sectors.

Moving to working from home whilst ensuring that our customers were able to keep delivering is something that I think was handled exceptionally well at LPR!

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

The change in consumer behaviour has forced us to consider logistical challenges around growth sectors such as eCommerce and addressing this now puts us in a good position as we move forwards.

There have been some great opportunities to learn how to build relationships in a virtual world – tricky for a business where we are used to looking people in the eye.

What is the biggest priority for the Supply Chain industry in 2021?

Maintaining the same level of responsiveness displayed in 2020 -it would be a shame if those skills were lost. There was some tremendous agility seen in acting on the changes in the market to meet consumer demand on the supply chain.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2021?

An even greater focus on instant gratification – same day delivery. We were already heading down this road, but the expansion of home delivery into other areas like the convenience store, through apps such as the new Snappy Shopper means that supply chain agility will be even more critical. 

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?

Big data, and the use in FMCG of shopper behavioural data to drive logistics activity around final mile solutions and AI driven replenishment. We’ve been talking about this for years, but I’d expect its development to accelerate as a result of learnings from 2020. 

In 2024 we’ll all be talking about…?

I think we’ll be talking about the stand out companies that made the decision to keep the personal touch. I think when Big Data is the norm, the differentiator will be companies who also keep the focus on the customer. We’ll all be talking about the handful of companies who have made this their USP – despite the ever increasing reliance on automation.

Customer service will become the prevailing differentiator.

Which person in, or associated with, the Supply Chain industry would you most like to meet?

I was fascinated recently to read about Adrian Flanagan and Dominick Scott-Flanagan. They founded a company called Supermarket Direct in the 90s and actually launched the UK’s first online grocery shopping & home delivery service. I’d love to hear their experiences of pioneering such an alien concept! 

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Supply Chain sector?

How completely and utterly resilient it is. How an industry that isn’t regarded as particularly cutting edge, when compared to say SaaS, has proven its cruciality in the last 12 months – more than almost any other sector. 

For me, seeing so many large pan-European businesses continue with their pallet pooling projects despite outside influences, makes me think that it is higher up on people’s agenda than perhaps I thought it was.

You go to the bar at the Total Supply Chain Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

A cranberry juice with a twist of lime.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Getting to work with so many different businesses and seeing that every supply chain is unique. And of course having the opportunity to be part of a team driving such a vibrant and fast growing business which is full of people who are passionate about what they do!

And what’s the most challenging?

Juggling my many priorities and keeping abreast of market developments  – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. It means I get to work in a fast paced and changing environment where no two days are the same.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Always be true to yourself. I like to be a human being both inside the workplace and out of it, and I hope that makes me a better leader to my team. It is really important to me that I act with integrity.

Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?

Peaky Blinders – but I wouldn’t take Tommy Shelby’s advice on running a business!

How Hazel 4D’s Intelligent Load Stability system is the risk-free choice in pallet-wrapping

By HAZEL 4D

In buying and procurement, you’re under constant pressure to make the right choices – the most efficient, effective, robust or low-risk… so what if we were to say that when it comes to pallet-wrapping we could answer all of those needs? We challenged ourselves, with some help from our customers, to see if we could offer a truly ‘risk-free’ Hazel 4D solution.

And we think we’ve got an offer that means Hazel 4D customers are making the right choice for their spend, efficiency, safety and reputation. That’s great news for their employers, their colleagues, customers and their own peace of mind.

We’ve built our business on trust, reliability and smart, efficient, safe solutions. We really care about minimising risk to ourselves and our customers – that’s why we’re the only supplier in the UK to deliver machinery, consumables, technical support and optimisation expertise in one easy-to-access load stability solution.

So we asked some of our procurement customers about the risk factors they’d consider in choosing their wrap solution and suppliers, and we challenged ourselves to answer each of those risks. Here’s how we did:

“Buyers really want to know that the supply is stable – it’s all very well having a great set-up but if pallet wrap is shipping from abroad, or anything gets in the way, it throws everything.”

  • We keep a huge supply of our film in-house because continuity matters to us too. So if there was any interruption to supply we have plenty in stock and wouldn’t feel an impact for several weeks.
  • Like most of our customers, we’ve been tested by the lockdown. Not only have we sustained our supply, but we’ve kept up our service too, conducting virtual machine installations by delivering the machines ready to ‘plug and play’, and even installing machines in under 24 hours. Nothing has stopped us!

“For me pallet stability is top priority – if I can go home at night knowing that’s as good as it can be, I’m happy. I don’t want to come in to be told someone’s been hurt, or to damaged returns.”

  • We offer a detailed consultation with experienced technical experts who are familiar with all aspects of load stability. They use state-of-the-art FEF200 mobile testing equipment to ensure your processes and materials are optimised for stability.
  • The machines and wrap we recommend and install are optimised to work together for a stable pallet. Extremus Nano film, which stretches up to 300%, produces a wrap so stable that our customers enjoy safer pallet transit, little or no damage to products, quicker unloading, easier handling and safer storage.
  • For many, we’ve eliminated their returns altogether.
  • By continuing to partner, and training your staff on-site, we can ensure machines remain optimised so that stability is never at-risk.

“The price has got to be right, and not just an introductory offer, or a low starting price – I need to forecast, so I need certainty.”

  • We keep our supply chains simple and work in partnership with people we trust and with whom we have developed valuable negotiating power.
  • We’re confident enough that our prices will remain consistent that we negotiate fixed prices for contracts with our customers, so they know exactly what the cost will be for that period.
  • Once we’re up and running, we can keep your costs consistent by keeping machines optimised – minimising film use, maximising stretch and stability and reducing or even eliminating costs in machine downtime, damages and returns.
  • Customisable, lockable programmes help ensure consistent running and predictable costs.
  • Our online tools ensure smooth management of orders and easy tracking of your pallet wrapping costs and associated carbon savings, so our customers can really keep an eye on spend.

“Our biggest problems often trace back to poor machines – they waste time, waste product and give us poor wraps. That’s been the biggest risk.”

  • Our consultations always start with machines. Often, ‘bad’ machines are fixable – they’ve just not been optimised, or they are not compatible with the film being used. Our experienced consultants use our state-of-the-art testing tech to analyse the current wrapping arrangements and costs, and provide detailed reports showing potential savings and improvements.
  • We often see customers who have given up on improving load stability after several disappointing tries with Nano film, but we’ve been able to turn things around and deliver spectacular results, because we know pallet wrapping machines inside out.
  • We can improve existing machines where there are fixable problems or provide Atlanta machines where customers need new installations. At Hazel 4D we work exclusively with Atlanta in the UK and both know and trust their machines.

“Switching has to be easy… it might feel risky making a big change, so it should be as simple as possible and earn its keep quickly.”

  • We supply both consumables and machines and all service work is delivered by us – no other supplier in the UK can make that claim. It means that machinery, film, technical support and optimisation expertise are all straight from Hazel 4D, and we take responsibility for ensuring everything works together. This drastically reduces the risk of any one element causing your whole process to stall.
  • Our consultation ensures you get exactly the solution you need, bespoke to your priorities, along with tailor-made ongoing support.
  • We can get you up and running quickly, with machines installed in as little as 24 hours, and staff trained and ready to go shortly afterwards.
  • Our online portal makes ordering easy and quick, with next day delivery available.
  • All the analysis and reporting provided makes it easy for buyers to report the savings achieved.
  • And we stick with you, so our single point of help continues – we’ll maintain, supply consumables, review and help you keep things running smoothly – all with contact to one person.

A quick word from our experts on risk…

Bryan Stutterheim is one of our leading technical consultants and Kevin Oliver is our technical sales manager. Both have been with us for over 20 years and we asked them for their thoughts on the big risks customers face and how we can help overcome them.

Bryan says – “The so-called Plastic Tax is due to come into force in April 2022 but we’re speaking to lots of people wanting to get ready now, not just so they meet obligations but because they want to actively reduce their waste. We can help with that, delivering consultancy to tell them how to minimise waste, switch to a more efficient film and use our online tools to help track carbon savings. It’s a good idea to start thinking and planning now to avoid missing the chance to make a real change for the better.”

Kevin says – “My best tip is inspired by the number of customers who say ‘I don’t know why we didn’t do this years ago!’. We can make such a difference when we get the chance to test, improve and optimise the wrapping process, on cost, stability, performance, waste… everything. So my tip would be to just get in touch – we’ll tell you how you can not only improve cost per pallet wrapped, but reduce risks and enhance performance across your pallet-wrapping operations. It’s just a risk-free call to Hazel 4D!”

What could a switch mean in real terms?

One of our clients was shocked to discover the difference in the current cost of wrapping pallets, and the weight of film used, across their four production lines – but was delighted by the savings we could deliver for them.

Click here to book a free consultation

Or if you’re ready to start a conversation you can get in touch with us on 0113 242 6999 or email wecare@hazel4d.com

Never mind the kilos… what’s your film costing per pallet?

By Hazel 4D

Usually when we talk to clients about how much they spend on stretch film, we’ll hear an answer about cost per kilo. What we hear less often is how far that weight goes – how many pallets can a kilo wrap? Yet that is the only way we’ll know the value that our plastic wrap is delivering, so it’s time to change – no more price per kilo!

Let’s talk about price per pallet wrapped. We promise, make that change and you’ll think differently about your plastic wrap and what it’s really costing you.

Here’s an example: Extremus – our best-selling stretch wrap – costs more per kilo than the average. But it delivers around 300% stretch, so it goes much further, and creates a more stable and secure pallet (and lots of other value that can’t be easily quantified, like cost savings, reduced plastic waste, easier handling – all leading to fewer returns and damages).

Think of what you’re spending per pallet wrapped and Extremus is clearly the intelligent choice. On optimised machines where Extremus can be applied at can be less than 4 microns, 1 metre of film becomes 4 metres.

Plus, price per kilo really also needs to take into account the weight of the core which for some brands can be up to 2.2kg. Extremus’ core weighs just 1.1kg, so the price you’re paying is for film, not for the core. And when the plastic tax begins in April 2022, inefficient wrapping will cost companies even more. All of this means that using Extremus significantly reduces your price per pallet wrapped.

What could a switch to Extremus mean in real terms? Based on research with our customers, we’ve found that switching to an ‘expensive’ film like Extremus can actually deliver cost savings of up to 78% per pallet wrapped. We’ve seen it reduce film costs for one of our customers, a snack food manufacturer, from 97p per pallet wrapped down to just 24p.

“Thinking of the cost per kilo of our film is meaningless – it doesn’t tell us anything about your real costs or opportunities to save. When we think in terms of cost per pallet, then we get an idea of how much our true costs are, and potentially, how much we’re losing to inefficient wrapping. Often when we work with customers to explore this, their cost per pallet is a revelation to them. They might be shocked to start with, but one of our consultations is the beginning of making it better too.”

Garth Christie, Chairman of Hazel 4D

PET FOOD CLIENT SAVINGS

A pet food client was shocked to discover the difference in the current cost of wrapping pallets, and the weight of film used, across their four production lines – but was delighted by the savings we could deliver for them.

Another customer said: 

“I had no idea we were applying over 1.1kg of film per pallet. Hazel 4D have successfully achieved a much safer pallet with less than a quarter of the weight of film.” 
Distribution Centre Manager, Nursery Brand and Manufacturer.

The team at Hazel 4D will work with you to understand your needs, recommend a tailored solution and optimise either your own or new machines and materials. This means that you’ll get total load stability and a real weight off your mind. Plus, we’ll make sure it stays that way with regular visits to ensure your system is always on top form.

Click here to book a free consultation

Or if you’re ready to start a conversation you can get in touch with us on 0113 242 6999 or email wecare@hazel4d.com.

Living the dream: How changing your pallet choice could save money AND the environment

By Pallite

Transit packaging that does the job you need it to do while saving you money and safeguarding the environment may sound like a dream that’s too good to be true, but one company has had more success than most turning that dream into a reality.

PALLITE’s lightweight yet strong, paper-based packaging products – including pallets, pallet boxes, layer pads and warehouse storage solutions – are made from sustainably-sourced materials and 100% recyclable after use. They contribute less to climate change and the disappearance of the world’s rainforests than wooden pallets, and result in reduced CO2 emissions and total cost of distribution for businesses that choose to use them.

There is a growing movement away from traditional wooden pallets towards alternatives like PALLITE. But many of these come with limitations or drawbacks – something that PALLITE strives to avoid.

“We were clear from the start that our products had to offer a credible alternative to wood, meaning they were strong enough to handle the kind of jobs customers routinely require,” explains PALLITE CEO Iain Hulmes. “It didn’t make sense to us to offer products that only a small proportion of businesses could actually use.

“You wouldn’t think something made from just paper and PVA glue, that weighs under 5kg itself and can be engineered to carry 1 tonne with ease. The fact a standard PALLITE pallet can do this, and hold up to 750kg in open-beam racking, is testament to the many design hours invested to create a product range that is truly innovative.” 

Thanks to the honeycomb-cell technology used in their design, PALLITE pallets are stronger than cardboard equivalents, and bespoke versions have been manufactured for customers allowing them to hold much more than the figures Holmes quotes.

This strength, together with a weight saving of around 20kg on their wooden counterparts, makes PALLITE pallets a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly choice for businesses large and small across a wide range of industries, whether they are transporting goods by land, air or sea. Even if businesses have very specific requirements that mean they can’t use PALLITE for all their transportation needs, switching to PALLITE for the journeys they can delivers significant benefits. These include reduced fuel costs when travelling by road, cheaper air freight, and lower CO2 emissions across the board.

What’s more, the entire PALLITE range contains no nails and does not splinter. It also has a higher resistance to mould than wooden pallets. These factors make PALLITE an ideal choice for use in the food and pharmaceutical industries, as well as reduce the risk of manual handling injuries in the workplace.

The PALLITE range is readily available and can be tailored to customers’ requirements. For more information, call 01933 283920 or email enquiries@pallite.co.uk.