Backed by a commitment to continuous improvement, Wincanton has delivered a first-class fourth party logistics (4PL) service to leading global manufacturer Thales over the past three years. This transformative approach has culminated in a Bronze Award from Supply Chains for the 21st Century (SC21), the global standard framework for aerospace and defence supply chains.

The complete solution

Wincanton has worked with Thales – a world-class aerospace, transport, defence and digital security manufacturer – for three years, deploying a 4PL model that accumulates resources, capabilities and technologies across transport and warehousing and provides the complete supply chain solution.

Warehousing operations are based at Wincanton’s national distribution centre (NDC) in Chippenham, Wiltshire, which manage the receipt and storage of materials, resources, consumables and finished goods both into and out of Thales manufacturing centres across the UK incorporating sites in Crawley, West Sussex; Templecombe, Somerset; Cheadle, Greater Manchester and Waterloo, London.

UK-wide transportation and international shipping of goods is managed via Wincanton’s Control Tower in Derby. Kits of parts are picked in the NDC and delivered direct to manufacturing sites through transport links where they are marshalled and delivered to line. Finished goods can then be returned to the central store to ensure that the manufacturing centres have the maximum space available for production and are not hampered by the storage of products to be delivered to Thales customers.

Utilising the 4PL model, Thales benefits from a single UK logistics solution, which lowers costs through consolidation and provides Thales with a platform for growth. It also harmonises common processes and procedures across all UK sites, which increases efficiencies.

Thales also benefits from the Wincanton 4PL service leveraging logistics expertise, which has implemented added value functionality such as track and trace, and provides full supply chain transparency, which increases performance and manages risk effectively.

Commitment to continuous improvement

In 2021 Wincanton was awarded Bronze status by Supply Chains for the 21st Century (SC21) - an improvement programme designed to accelerate the competitiveness of the aerospace and defence industry by raising the performance of its supply chains.

The SC21 programme provides a standard improvement framework which defines performance goals and standardises the approach and tools for continuous sustainable improvement. It reflects the exacting requirements of major aerospace and defence organisations worldwide. 

Participants in SC21 achieve and maintain agreed criteria in terms of delivery, quality, sustainable improvement and the associated improvement frameworks comprising of business, manufacturing and relationship excellence.

Wincanton began its SC21 journey in 2019 with initial engagement progressing to the Bronze award two years later. Wincanton has achieved results consistently above 95% for on-time in-full delivery with an upward trend to in excess of 98.9%. Quality - based on over 140,000 deliveries over the two-year period - has been consistently measured in excess of 99.7% and as high as 99.94%. 

Continuous improvement is a key element of achieving the SC21 standard and Wincanton’s use of a central hub has delivered efficiency and quality. Wincanton has also been able to develop its commitment to its people with multiple colleagues engaged in Business Improvement Techniques training and further education focused on Supply Chain practices.

What the customer says

“The SC21 Bronze award is the first step of a wider continuous improvement programme, covering not just the National Distribution Centre but also the Forward Stores.  Obtaining this award is a fantastic achievement by the NDC team and illustrates Wincanton’s commitment to delivering a world class service.”

Rob Gore – Interim Logistics Director - Thales


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UK and international carries supporting the 4PL