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Greene King Case Study

The Supply Chain Consulting Group Consolidate UK Pub Chains’ Logistics Operations

Greene King was founded in 1799 in Bury St. Edmunds, in Suffolk, and is now the country’s leading integrated pub retailer and brewer. In May 2015, it owned and/or operated popular national brands such as Hungry Horse, Old English Inns and Loch Fyne Seafood and Grill; whilst also being the UK’s leading cask ale-brewer with brands including Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen. 

Greene King acquired Spirit Pub Company plc, which added over 1,200 pubs to its estate including brands such as Flaming Grill, Taylor Walker and Chef & Brewer. Greene King Brewing & Brands operates two breweries, in Bury St Edmunds and in Dunbar. It is the leading brewer of cask ale in the UK with an iconic ale brand portfolio, including Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen, Abbot Ale and Scotland’s leading ale brand, Belhaven Best; with the launch of the St Edmund Brewhouse in 2013 enhancing their portfolio of craft ales.  

Following the acquisition of Spirit Pub Company plc, Greene King identified the need to consolidate the two separate logistics operations (Greene King and former Spirit Pubs) to minimise total mileage and overall cost of operations. Greene King understood that to implement their strategic project for their drinks distribution integration, they required expert support and guidance, and thus engaged the Supply Chain and Logistics Specialists at Supply Chain Consulting Group (SCCG).  

The SCCG team, working with the Greene King management team, carried out a detailed review of the existing drinks supply chain and logistics networks by delivery and pub to establish the optimum distribution strategy. 

Under the scope of this project, the Consultants found that the then current contract between Spirit Pubs and their then current supplier, provided a reliable delivery service which had the advantages of integrating all food and goods-not-for-resale into a single delivery, whilst also providing a route back for waste.  

The Specialist Consultants demonstrated that despite multiple deliveries by various suppliers seeming favourable, approving just one main logistics provider would better allow for the supply chain teams to negotiate effectively with the supply base to capture and maximise benefits; one of which being reduced distribution costs per item; whilst simultaneously ensuring Greene King pubs would benefit from the single delivery/single point-of-contact approach, and recycling/waste provisions.  

This suggestion of unified delivery was supported by the current general industry trend of centralisation of logistics, driven by macro trends from market consolidation, to urban logistics pressures, coming from ever increasing congestion and regulation. By encouraging the Greene King management team to adopt the consolidation of their logistics networks, the SCCG team successfully sourced a commercial proposal from their existing core supplier, to extend their provision to include the Greene King pubs, to provide Greene King with a solution to support the consolidation of their proposed integrated logistics network. 

Following the successful consolidation of their logistics network, Greene King subsequently engaged SCCG again for two additional projects; Pick face optimisation for item and case picking for bottled beers and spirits, and to design an optimised warehouse and distribution centre for a new facility for kegs, barrels and bottled beverages.