April 16, 2013

Britain’s increasing demand for a high quality cup of coffee whilst on the move has led to a new two-year contract for supply chain specialist Howard Tenens.  The company has just signed a deal with household name, Costa Express, part of the Whitbread portfolio since 2011. 

The new contract kicked off in January with relationships quickly established to secure Howard Tenens’ Andover warehouse in Hampshire as a hub for fulfilling the contract.  Through direct delivery and Howard Tenens collecting from suppliers, a stock of Costa Express items including coffee beans, flavoured syrups, cups, lids, stirrers and paper napkins is housed at Andover.  From there pallets of stock are sent out to one of six Howard Tenens’ platform depots at Ashby de la Zouch (Leicestershire), Boston (Lincolnshire), Sunbury-on-Thames (South West London), Manchester, Newcastle and Belshill (Glasgow).  Next day or ‘Day 1 for Day 2’ deliveries are then made to one of Costa Express’s 2,500 UK outlets by Howard Tenens vans.

Howard Tenens’ Andover-based Account Manager, Karl Smith, gives an update on some of the impressive statistics relating to this new contract:  In February “ the first full month of the Howard Tenens/Costa Express partnership “ we made 8,800 deliveries, a total of 29,357 cases of stock.  We measure our level of service through several Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), including ‘On Time In Full’ where we currently scored 99.62% in February, despite the usual challenges of a settling in period with a new customer.

Matt Whitwell, Howard Tenens General Manager explains why the company was chosen to take on this exciting new contract at a time when the high quality, convenience coffee market is growing at an unprecedented rate:  We are delighted to be part of the coffee boom in this country through this new partnership with blue-chip brand, Costa Express.  Once again our ability to flex to meet a customer’s needs have helped us secure a two-year contract.  But there were three other key areas of expertise and differentiation which made a real difference and helped Costa Express make the decision to move from a long-term supply chain supplier to Howard Tenens:

We have a long-term relationship with another similar customer and were able to offer not only expertise and insights gained through this contract, but also efficiencies of using a shared network for both. 

We have developed our IT systems to provide seamless data integration with our customers’ systems.  Authorised customer users have 24/7 accurate, real-time remote access to information on inventory, stock levels and stock movements. Proof of deliveries and other information are available online.  This established IT infrastructure meant we could get our systems and Costa Express systems ‘talking to each other’ quickly.

The other innovative and value added service which made a difference was our commitment to running a sustainable fleet.  Through major investment over the past five years, we are able to run the majority of our articulated fleet on dual fuel and a proportion of our van fleet on biomethane gas.  This achieves major carbon footprint reductions for Howard Tenens itself, but also offers a responsibly sourced, environmentally advanced option for our customers too. 

Chris Clowes, Supply Chain Manager at Costa Express comments:  Our recent success has been nothing short of phenomenal.  In May 2011 our operation grew more than in the previous decade and in May 2012 it grew more than in the whole of 2011!  With the business growing so rapidly, we needed a supply chain provider which was ultimately flexible. 

We are early on in our relationship with them, but Howard Tenens have provided us with excellent service levels and value for money.  At the time we put out the tender for the supply chain contract we were operating in 1,700 sites. Between then and the implementation of the contract (eight months later), our outlets had grown by 900 to 2,500.   Howard Tenens were able to adapt and meet our needs.  Even in the first two weeks of the contract, when we were naturally still in the process of establishing the relationship, we were already seeing good value for money. 

And they are also already being proactive “ their established and sophisticated IT systems (backed up by their expert team) have led them to improve communications with suppliers and reduce stock errors to an absolute minimum.  They are also working in partnership with us to make the most of our innovative new resource planning tool SO99 “ using the telemetry data captured by the system and provided by the machines, Howard Tenens are able to re-stock machines quickly and efficiently, with the aim of no Costa Express customer being disappointed.

The Howard Tenens industry-leading role in environmental innovation is the icing on the cake for Costa Express in choosing them as a supply chain partner.  As part of Whitbread, whose environmental mission is to ‘lead the hospitality industry to a more sustainable future’ we are confident that Howard Tenens can make a significant contribution to this goal.  Just in the first year of our partnership, Howard Tenens expects to deliver over 73,000 kg of carbon savings for Costa Express.

Matt Whitwell continues:  We are working closely with the Costa Express supply chain team to ensure we not only deliver high levels of service on this contract, but we also identify other potential efficiencies in stock control and forecasting.  In the first week delivery volumes doubled and we were able to step up to meet this challenge.

If the coffee culture in Britain continues to explode as it has over the last two years, Howard Tenens will be able to maintain its important role in keeping the customer’s supply flowing through its partnership with Costa Express.