About 20% of the 23 million cases heading to Tesco's RDCs each week now arrive on Tesco's own trucks as it presses on with its controversial factory gate pricing drive. Primary distribution in Tesco's frozen supply chain was now up to 85%, said IT and logistics director Philip Clarke. Clarke said primary distribution was a "terrific agent to bring about increased collaboration with suppliers," rather than a tool to beat them with. "We've only had two or three absolute refusals to join us. Efficient hauliers are welcoming the initiative because it gives then the chance to win new business." As Tesco moved from a batch driven to a flow through supply chain along Japanese lines, it had to develop far higher levels of collaboration with suppliers, said Clarke. "It is no longer us and them." By taking responsibility for the collection of goods from suppliers, Tesco would also become more engaged with manufacturers' planning and production processes. "Reorganising inbound logistics is not just about improved transport utilisation but about improving the efficiency of plants." Demand forecasts on which orders are based always fluctuated far more widely than sales at the till, said Clarke. "We've got to dampen amplification and synchronise production." {{NEWS }}

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