Improving distribution with the ‘perfect order’ 

A new industry group is planning to improve wholesalers’ service to customers and take cost out of the supply chain by modeling the ‘perfect order’.

Part of the FWD’s Supplier Council, the Supply Chain Improvement Group will establish an industry standard for ordering and delivery, with a clear focus on ‘right first time’. It aims for the standard to be adopted as best practice by the industry by the end of 2017.

The group, which is independently facilitated by the supply chain standards organisation GS1 UK, has already carried out research to establish where ‘pain in the supply chain’ adds costs and confusion to the distribution process.

Co-chair Steve Norris of Nestle Professional said it had a great opportunity to improve processes and efficiencies in the supply chain. “We know our customers now have different options, like local suppliers, multiple retailers and online wholesalers,” he said. “We are working together to identify and agree improvements we can make, with the ultimate aim of providing a better service to the customer.”

Sean Negus, Consultant at GS1 UK said: “When wholesalers place orders with suppliers, they have every right to expect that the orders will be delivered on time, in full and in the right condition, with pallets correctly built and clearly labelled, accompanied by the correct documentation. 

“In a perfect world, that’s how all orders should be fulfilled. In reality, for one reason or another, orders can be subject to change or even cancellation. This can inevitably lead to errors and increased operating costs, and ultimately affect product availability and result in lost sales.”

At its initial meeting in March, the group agreed to launch the ‘Perfect Order’ initiative. “The industry wants to be aligned behind a clear set of standards for inbound logistics, enhanced by better data quality, better shipping and a less complex receipting process,” Negus added.

The perfect order model will be built around inbound logistics, but also cover the entire order-to-cash process, from the point a retailer places an order to the moment the supplier receives payment. Over a 12-week work stream, the group will agree best practice for suppliers and retailers, and communicate its findings to the industry through channels including Wholesale News and the FWD conference on June 30


  • Keep up with the work of the FWD / GS1 UK Supply Chain Improvement Group in a series of update articles in Wholesale News, starting in the May issue.



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