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A recipe for success: Innovation to help Ella’s Kitchen on sustainability journey

Comment | 09 December 2020

Two young children sat on the floor eating from a packet of snacks.

With a shared goal of reducing the environmental impact of supply chain activities, Wincanton and Ella’s Kitchen are proud to have been presented with the Sustainability Award at this year’s Supply Chain Excellence Awards. We explore how an innovative approach to the transportation of goods reduced CO2 emissions by 115 tonnes in just one year.

The Wincanton team collaborated with Ella’s Kitchen to reduce the number of journeys needed for inbound goods. By altering pallet specifications to maximise the use of trailer space, the two companies reduced inbound loads from one of Ella’s Kitchen’s major suppliers by almost 50% throughout 2019/20, saving thousands of miles and preventing 115 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

"Our friends at Wincanton, our manufacturer, and our haulier have all collaborated to help us to unlock a clever way to reduce our environmental impact. We can’t do this work alone, so collaborating with partners that can support us to make this a reality is really important for protecting our planet."

Amanda Holland, Runs Lorries Like Clockwork (Logistics Manager) at Ella’s Kitchen

Reducing environmental impact and being more responsible at all stages of the supply chain are passions shared by Wincanton and its partner, Ella’s Kitchen, with this goal in mind, the two businesses worked in tandem with one of the organic baby and toddler food manufacturer’s largest suppliers (based in Northern Ireland) to maximise every inbound journey to the Wincanton-operated Wigan NDC, resulting in lower CO2 emissions.

An innovative approach to maximise every load

To achieve this Wincanton, Ella’s Kitchen and the supplier worked together to identify lower demand SKUs that could be consolidated into single pallets with a lower overall height. These products also had to meet criteria around weight and size.

By reducing the height of each of these newly configured packed pallets, trailer space could be better utilised. In collaboration with Ella’s Kitchen’s chosen haulier, Wincanton was able to provide trailers that could accommodate double stacking, maximising available space. These double-stacked pallets can be transported alongside traditionally packed pallets, creating a hybrid solution that does not require additional warehouse process to reconfigure all pallet loads.

Given that each journey is around 250 miles, the reduction in trips through better utilisation of each trailer load has had a significant impact. Typical trailer fill now averages 48.7 pallets-per-load - a 91% improvement - resulting in 48% fewer trips needed to transport the same quantity of goods.

This was achieved without any compromise to the safety of all involved. With a full consultation between Wincanton, Ella’s Kitchen and the supplier, measures were put in place to ensure double-stacked pallets could be effectively loaded and unloaded, and that all necessary equipment was in place.

Away from the physical journey reduction, the alterations have resulted in further energy savings across the process. With fewer individual loads arriving, less resource is needed through the goods in process, while adjusted pallet sizes have allowed for in-warehouse storage space to be fully optimised.

As Ella’s Kitchen continues to grow and increase its manufacturing capacity, the changes put in place will have an even greater positive environmental impact through maximising inbound loads.

Read more about Wincanton’s experience across the consumer goods supply chain

How can we help?

Have a supply chain question, need some help, just want a chat? Contact Wincanton today.