Case studies

Quorn Foods

Quorn – Equipment Management Solutions Case Study

Quorn has grown dramatically during the last 10 years to become the most recognisable brand of meat free products across the UK and Europe. As a result, their pallet usage and customer base has grown significantly, diversifying their supply chain operation. Quorn has an excellent supply chain team however the requirement for a specialist provider of equipment management services became apparent due to the high level of time & resources needed to manage the equipment through a complex Supply Chain whilst executing the departments core role. Significant opportunities were identified both in terms of cost avoidance and cost savings by the EMS team. EMS’s expertise, in coordination with the Quorn team, started delivering these benefits at a speedy pace. EMS’s expertise & full in-depth review of all flows meant that further potential medium/longer term benefits. EMS were employed as Quorn’s partner for pallet management since July 2020.

Providing a Clear Picture

– Establishing a bird’s eye view of Quorn’s expansive & complex pallet supply chain was key
– EMS quickly produced a monthly reporting pack, providing insight and analysis
– As a result, detailed & granular control of the pallet account was secured. Potential future challenges were swiftly identified & worked upon before they would become a real issue
Result: full visibility & transparency

Managing Legacy Issues

– Time lag & a process relying heavily on manual tasks meant that they were discrepancies between the CHEP and Quorn Foods records
– EMS put pallet data under the microscope and focused on controlling each key variable
– All manual legacy reporting problems were eradicated by developing Quorn own automated reporting.
– Allowed Quorn to extend supply contract
Result: zero penalty costs

Continuous Improvement

– Working closely together, EMS instigated a Quorn automated reporting process, stopping the need for Quorn colleagues to send manual data
– The above, allied with EMS’s own tools, allowed for the audit process to be fully managed by EMS & is now streamlined in terms of timing and data accuracy
– Now looking at other opportunities for EMS to extend working relationship to other products used in the network

Result: resource time savings

CCHBC Ireland

Coca-Cola HBC Ireland & Northern Ireland & EMS background
CCHBC operated an exchange system with their customers on a one-in-one-out basis. However, it’s nearly impossible to operate this to a total success and where exchanges weren’t recovered, the pallets were left on the customer balance. This resulted in the business carrying significant discrepancies which had a knock-on financial impact to their spend. The main problem was the majority of the balance had aged significantly. CCHBC required urgent assistance to resolve the problem and to avoid future issues.

EMS were engaged as pallet rental experts to assess the situation and make recommendations to find a sustainable solution. Usually, companies rely on the pooler to tell them what works and what doesn’t. With CCHBC, EMS were able to advise what would work best for them as a business and as a result a range of solutions have been implemented that means the complexity of managing a pool the size of which CCHBC require has been simplified by using a dedicated expert partner.

Lyndsay Cunningham – Country Logistics Manager
“EMS are undoubtedly one of our most valued supply chain partners. We can fully rely on them to provide outstanding services across pallet management but also on other related projects too.”

Bespoke Account Health Check:

– EMS’s forensic account analysis showed a significant overspend in rental charges
– EMS worked closely with the pooling provider and agreed the de-hiring of all historical balances off the account
– It was recommended to change the model from exchange to Trade Collect
– CCHBC engaged EMS as their pallet management partner
Result: no additional cost incurred

Outsourced Pallet Account Management:

– On weekly basis, EMS receive system reports which are uploaded into the EMS system and analysed before being converted into the agreed format and uploaded to pooler portal
– EMS manages all elements of the pooler relationship (communication, meetings, audits and daily pallet activity with the Island of Ireland)
– CCHBC have been able to reallocate resources internally, throughout their management structure
– 20% reduction in overall pallet spend, as promised as part of the health check report outcomes
Result: time to collaborate on savings projects

Horizontal Integration:

– EMS have supported CCHBC on other projects including pallet transport and rented gas tanks
– This horizontal integration provides further support to the CCHBC team and allows them to focus on their core role whilst utlising EMS’s transferable consultancy skills
Result: Time to collaborate on savings projects

Johnson & Johnson

EMS have worked with Johnson & Johnson since 2004, providing equipment management services for their UK, Irish and more recently, Swedish businesses. J&J’s Malcolm Duckett explains why EMS is one of their most trusted partners…

What is your overall impression of EMS?
They are an invaluable extension of our supply chain operation that integrates seamlessly into our operating model. We couldn’t be as effective without them. By having experts focus on our account each day it takes pressure away from the management of pallets and allows us to focus on our core business. Their customer service is excellent and the added value in terms of industry experience is second to none.

How have EMS increased efficiencies?
Since we started to work with EMS, we have saved an enormous amount of resource that we have been able to allocate elsewhere. Just the administration of the pallet accounts alone is a time-consuming job. Our pallet account runs far more efficiently and invoices flow smoothly, as all spend is pre-validated/reconciled by the EMS team.

How have EMS saved you money?
EMS track savings they make on a monthly basis and we formally realise them at the end of the year. EMS have worked closely with our supply chain team and our pallet provider to reduce additional spending on non-headline fees. This is across dwell time, LVD, NCD and LEC charges. Additionally, we don’t have to employ a pallet controller.

How do EMS help you to achieve your logistics budget?
EMS are involved in the annual budgeting process to ensure that we accurately forecast what our pallet spend will be, based on sales volumes. EMS keep such a close eye on our account that it’s nearly impossible for us to overspend, even if we tried! Monthly spending reports are shared to ensure we’re fully aware of all cost incurred ahead of invoice processing.

What value do you put on their service?
In pure monetary terms based on our pallet spend, the liability we face annually and the value we extract from our relationship, their cost is relatively small. The pool of knowledge available to us at the end of the phone is worth the money alone. Simply put, we’d be far worse off without them in our business.

Brew Dog

Ross Watson is Global Head of Supply Chain at BrewDog; he gave his thoughts on why EMS is a highly valued partner for the worlds foremost carbon friendly drinks company.

Why EMS?
I worked with EMS during my previous roles and saw first-hand the value they add to a supply chain operation so bringing them into BrewDog was one of the easiest decisions I made, when I started.

Why outsource?
Simply, EMS are experts in what they do. Pallet and equipment management is a complex part of inbound and outbound logistics that very few people are real experts in and if it’s not managed correctly it can be costly.

Their knowledge and experience is invaluable in helping us achieve our supply chain goals.

We didn’t face many significant issues before we started working with EMS but we knew that our volumes would significantly grow so we brought them in to help protect us through the growth. Since our partnership started our volume has exploded so it was the right move!

How does it work?
The team at EMS take control of everything from ordering to movement declaration and from invoice reconciliation to query management. They have maintained control over the exponentially increasing volumes with no exposure incurred thanks to their approach of micromanaging each element of the account.

Whilst we have open lines of communication we speak on an infrequent basis because they are always completely on top of the account. When we do speak, for review meetings or if there’s a problem or observation that I need to be made aware of, a plan has usually already been established to solve the issue.

This helps save valuable time looking for a solution in a situation we don’t fully understand. These solutions are generated from EMS’s extensive knowledge of how pooling works and their strong relationships with the suppliers.

Do EMS help you achieve your goals?
Very importantly for BrewDog, they maintain control of our assets which means we don’t have to replace them, which in turn means less resources used and ultimately reduced carbon wastage.

Crucially the pallet spend is always achieved or under budget.

Final thoughts…
I’d highly recommend speaking to EMS to understand how they could help you. It may open your eyes to the possibilities that you didn’t realise were available.


EMS Ireland have successfully worked with Britvic Ireland for many years. Therefore, they recommended their services to the GB team. Britvic GB faced several annual challenges which caused the business additional delays and costs. Additionally, a long-standing relationship was held with an incumbent pallet provider and the pallet pooling supply contract was due to be tendered in the months ahead. Therefore, a specialist provider was needed to address the regular problems faced and manage any potential contract extension or transition to a new provider. EMS were engaged in August 2020 to deliver change in the way pallets were managed.

Managing Supplier Change:

– Shortly after their appointment, EMS managed the transition from the incumbent pooler to the new supplier
– This was delivered cleanly and with no liability for residual losses
– No operational downtime was experienced throughout the change
Result: BAU status during transition

Eradicating Historical Problems:

– Since the transition EMS worked closely with Britvic and the new supplier to ensure all data is accurate and up to date
– EMS micro-manage, monitoring all ship-to data ensuring no movements are missed and healthy flow through ratios are maintained
– Clear management reporting provided
– Audits are now passed without problem or financial culpability
Result: Zero penalty costs

Added Value Opportunities:

– Services now provided not just on wooden returnable pallets but other equipment types
– Includes plastic pallets and trays. This allows the Britvic team to focus on core elements of their business and add value elsewhere.
– EMS deliver valuable process improvement and then look for additional value add opportunities
Result: Consistent savings achieved

Contact us on 0800 233 5750

Contact us on
0800 233 5750

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