A clutch of food suppliers --some in direct competition with each other - are working together on a project designed to reduce empty running and optimise transport in Ireland.
The companies, which have operations in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, are working with the European Logistics Users, Providers & Enablers Group (ELUPEG) and trade development body InterTradeIreland to find ways of driving down costs and improving vehicle and warehouse utilisation.
Supply chain software provider Translogistica is providing the tools for collecting commercially sensitive data and identifying opportunities for shared outbound, backhaul and triangulated traffic flows on an anonymous basis. It can also offer modelling capabilities to assess the impact of adding extra warehousing to the network.
The initiative, dubbed Conexus, has involved an unprecedented level of collaboration between companies, said Barbara Anderson of BA Consulting, who led the project. "This required a major leap of faith and a high degree of confidence in the potential savings.
"Say a company wants to break into a new market but doesn't have the volume to make the distribution viable. They could piggyback off someone else's volumes in the group."
The next step is to roll out the scheme to more manufacturers and third party logistics providers, she said. "Conexus will continuously add participants and capabilities. This is only one part of a pan-European programme."