Cateys Sponsor's Opinion: Matt Johnson

20 March 2008
Cateys Sponsor's Opinion: Matt Johnson

As suppliers into the catering industry, providing excellent sourcing, delivery, service and product range are no longer enough. Today's caterers expect much more as they look for ways in which their suppliers can help them to find solutions to the political and business topics of reducing carbon footprint, embracing CSR policies and helping to minimise global warming.

Protecting the environment is no longer the province of the minority, and if the hospitality sector is to make a significant contribution towards these issues, every single person in the supply chain has to ensure that he or she minimises waste.

At Bunzl HoReCa we recognise that you have to define waste before you can reduce it. Our view is that anything that does not contribute to the movement of goods from source to destination is waste. This includes excess mileage, double handling, multiple deliveries to one order, excess stock, congestion, packaging and not using the fleet efficiently.

Education and communication around the issue is vital, and it cannot just be the remit of those making business decisions. People at every level need to take responsibility and ask the question: "Where can I make the most impact in reducing waste?"

One of the things we would encourage everyone in the industry to do is listen to their staff. That's exactly what we've done, and it has been extremely encouraging. We've introduced new and improved waste management procedures that include investing significantly in state-of-the-art vehicle routeing software such as satellite navigation to reduce our mileage, ePod creating paperless deliveries, and e-invoicing so that we can cut out unnecessary paper trails. Also, by using a national distribution centre we have avoided branch proliferation and reduced supplier delivery points. This makes better use of our fleet for suppliers and also helps us to reduce mileage.

Another thing we have is balers in use at every supplier site. This allows us to recycle 100 tonnes of cardboard annually from our customers and helps to reduce landfill.

Many of these innovations were introduced as a result of talking to our staff and asking them how they felt we could become more environmentally aware, as well as more efficient.

Our advice to others looking to streamline the supply chain and minimise waste is watch, listen and learn from those you work with.

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