Molson Coors, the UK’s biggest brewer, has embarked on a supply chain improvement programme following a strategic review and modelling exercise carried out by leading logistics consultancy, Davies & Robson.

With its UK headquarters in Burton-on-Trent, Molson Coors has a portfolio of brands including Carling, the UK’s best selling beer for over 30 years, Coors Light and Cobra. The company employs over 2,300 people in the UK at its breweries in Burton, Tadcaster and Alton and the Sharp’s Brewery in Rock, Cornwall

In order to meet changes in the market, including the growth in take-home sales, and to achieve a greater understanding of supply chain costs both by customer and region, in early 2011, Molson Coors initiated a supply chain review and improvement programme.

Following a previous successful logistics consultancy project, the company once again engaged Davies and Robson to conduct a comprehensive review of the service and costs from its third-party logistics provider, DHL Tradeteam. The review included an examination of the UK distribution network and modelling various strategic options for the future.

In order to meet Molson Coors’ specific requirements, Davies & Robson tailored its proven strategic supply chain modelling program to model primary distribution (trunking) ex breweries and a National Distribution Centre (NDC), warehouse operations at Regional Distribution Centres (RDCs), secondary distribution and direct delivery ex the NDC and breweries. 

Using six week’s worth of real order data in order to accurately model each activity, Davies & Robson created daily vehicle routes, using actual road distances to model primary and secondary distribution. Synthetics were then applied to create activity times for order picking, dependent on whether product is picked from stock, batch picked or cross-docked and for activities such as goods receipt, put away and replenishment.

In addition to benchmarking the current primary and secondary distribution operations and identifying costs to serve various geographic markets, the model allowed Molson Coors to establish whether alternative infrastructures would produce significant savings, identify cost saving opportunities and predict future distribution costs based on different sales scenarios.

As a result, Molson Coors is now working with DHL Tradeteam on a number of initiatives under the direction of Victoria Segebarth, Molson Coors’ Head of Distribution Transformation. Victoria said: “ The modeling that Davies and Robson undertook for Molson Coors (UK & Ireland) gave us a strong platform from which to explore various future strategic distribution scenarios. We are continuing to use the output of their work to shape our future distribution network.”