Savings of up to 20% are possible in the pork sausage supply chain, according to a new study from the Food Chain Centre and Red Meat Industry Forum, which forms part of a guide to 'lean thinking'.
Those involved uncovered tremendous scope for improvement, identifying in particular waste from losses and defects in the chain -- such as quality faults, part-loaded vehicles, damaged goods and theft -- which amounted to almost 20%.
They discovered that the total time from farm to shelf was just over seven days, of which value-adding time was just 1.4 hours. Average product availability on the shelf was less than 95% and stock in the system from abattoir to supermarket totalled seven days.
The participants included Tesco, the pork suppliers Flagship Foods, Walkers Midshire Foods and Porcofram and pig farmer Jon Easy.
Tesco senior buying manager Richard Horsham says: "The project has shown the tremendous potential to improve the performance of our supply chains by co-operation and we're already considering applying this approach to other products." A key area for action is a production line for sausages which reduces physical handling of the product.