Question: How did you get into the temperature controlled distribution sector and what is your role within Tulip?
Answer: I moved into temperature controlled logistics over 30 years ago after starting my career in the red meat trade as a butcher. I like to think of myself as someone who understands food and works in logistics rather than a transport professional trying to understand food logistics. The temperature controlled logistics is relentless and unforgiving and for that reason you either love it or hate it, fortunately I love it.
My role as Logistics Director within Tulip is twofold, firstly to offer the best possible end to end logistics service at the lowest possible cost without ever compromising on quality or food safety. Secondly to build a logistics platform that is able to deal with the changing needs of todays’ consumer.
Question: Could you briefly tell the TCS&D readers a little more about Tulip please?
Answer: Tulip is proud to be at the fore of the food manufacturing industry, providing a wide range of quality, cost effective and innovative products to the retail and foodservice sectors from our 16 modern, well invested manufacturing facilities located throughout the UK.
Question: What has been the most important technical development in your temperature controlled bodies
and refrigeration systems in recent years and how has it impacted on your operations within Tulip?
Answer: Telematics is by far the biggest development in recent years. Being able to get temperature records on line in real time is fantastic progress, however, we all have to realise that not every vehicle will have this type of technology until vehicles come round for renewals and by this time it will have advanced again.
The advantages of such systems are that providing you monitor correctly you can prevent issues rather than dealing with them retrospectively.
Also CCTV cameras being fitted to commercial vehicles is a massive step forward. The majority of the public do not like Commercial vehicles and my experience is the cameras never lie and complaints against professional HGV drivers are easily clarified by the use of CCTV camera Footage. From personal experience they support Professional drivers many more times than they implicate them.
Question: Are you using telematics across your fleet currently? If so, what advantages do you see this gives you?
Answer: I have previously used telematics for many years now and I cant imagine life without them.
You can get information immediately online and the information is factual and unbiased.
In 2016 after a fatality on a local road I was able to work closely with the local traffic police to reconstruct the RTA and I’m sure without this technology the police wouldn’t have been able to complete their investigations so accurately and promptly.
Initially telematics was expensive, but not now that it has become more readily available and more cost effective to appeal to mass audiences.
Question: Customer needs are constantly changing, so what are you finding is now the biggest request from your customers?
Answer: The challenge for all of us, which is also created by all of us, is trying to get our products to the right consumer channel in the shortest possible time.
Consumer habits are changing dynamically now with so many options available and it’s inevitable that order lead time will decrease as online food shopping increases. Trying to keep the cost base the same whilst we do things in shorter times will equally be a challenge.
Question: What environmental measures does Tulip incorporate to ensure best practice?
Answer: Growing Responsibly is the name for our corporate responsibility programme. It underpins everything we do as a business. Our corporate responsibility department helps the business focus action on our areas of risk and drives improvement projects. Environmentally, we are focussed right now on key issues such as energy management, water reduction & food waste.
Question: Since the Brexit decision, have you noticed any changes with your business?
Answer: The biggest challenge all manufacturers will face is the retention of European migrant labour who may choose to go home. The UK manufacturing base has become very reliant on them and the impact will be increased costs should the available labour pool shrink.
Question: Lastly, would you like to share any news about your company that you feel would benefit the TCS&D readers?
Answer: Tulip is a true “Farm to Fork” food manufacturer with a rich heritage and proud traditions going back over 130 years with its parent company Danish Crown. Having control from the pig breeding all the way through the process to the fantastic products we make is a rare model in todays commercial world, but one that we are very proud of and one that is constantly evolving.
Finally, I was completely blown away at the recent Tulip Apprentice Conference and Awards, seeing just how committed the business is to giving all our apprentices a unique experience beyond the traditional programme. It is a truly fantastic learning opportunity and having started my working career as an apprentice I can’t believe how much this area has improved and Tulip as a company has fully embraced the need to attract and develop future managers and specialists.
For anyone who is considering a career in the food industry this is a brilliant place to start.