Dairy Crest was quick to take advantage of the FCC's offer of a free value chain analysis in 2004. The company chose to focus on its cheese business and specifically the chain handling own-label mature cheese supplied to Somerfield. The analysis covered the 400 farms that supply the milk, Dairy Crest's Haverfordwest dairy, its Maelor packaging plant and Somerfield's Bridgwater distribution centre.
Analysis by the Cardiff Business School identified problems at every stage of the chain. Key issues included inconsistent forecasting, excessive stocks, inefficient milk collection and variable milk quality.
An action plan was drawn up to tackle the problems, involving new forecasting software, more efficient logistics and improved plant layout. A formal cheese supplier group was set up to ensure delivered milk hit quality criteria.
In 2006, a year after the changes, Dairy Crest estimated it had saved £2m by cutting waste. That money has been passed back down the chain to the farmers supplying Haverfordwest. Dairy Crest itself has improved cheese yield and quality.
Since then, Dairy Crest has sold its own-label cheese business. It was bought by First Milk in November 2006 for £62m.