Business Articles

Top 15 Best Supply Chain Companies in the UK

June 14, 2021

The UK and Ireland have a very developed supply chain industry with a range that covers the globe. Much like the logistics industry, this industry is amongst the best in the UK.

In this article, discover the top 15 supply chain companies in the UK and why this sector is interesting to invest in and work with.

What is a supply chain company?

A network between a company and its supplier to produce and distribute a certain product to the final consumer is what the supply chain is all about. The network has different activities which involve information, resources, people and entities. The steps that it also represents are these that you need to take to get the product or a certain service from A to point B. 

When companies develop a supply chain, they aim to reduce their costs while maintaining a competitive state of mind. Therefore it is essential to have a well thought out and competitive supply chain strategy.

Optimizing the supply chain results in a faster production cycle and lower costs. That’s why supply chain management is so crucial for a lot of businesses.

Knowing the supply chains

Now that you know what the supply chain entails, need to know what it involves and which activities are required. From the definition, we can conclude that the steps included in the supply chain are moving and transporting and transforming raw materials into the finished product and distributing them to the end consumer. There are several parties involved in it. Those parties are the vendors, producers, distribution centres, warehouses, transportation companies and retailers.

There are several functions used in the elements of it that begin with receiving an order to meet the consumer’s request. Marketing, operations management, distribution service networks, customer service and finance are these functions and are a must for supply chain companies.

A very important part of the business process that must not be forgotten is supply chain management. Skill and experts in the different aspects of SCM are required. Lowering a company’s costs and boosting its overall costs and profitability can only happen when SCM is effective. If one of the aspects of it writes down it can have a negative impact on all the other aspects which can end up being costly.

The different models

Visual of the models of the supply chain

Supply chain businesses don’t all up for the same models of the supply chain. Different models are used for different businesses, and you may choose which one is more suitable for you.

There are always 2 main focuses though, which are responsiveness and efficiency. They are both very important in every model, however, one model privileges one of these two aspects above the other. The combination of both amounts to the same result, however, the approach is different. When assessing your business, you can choose which one will get you to your goals faster without it being a hindrance to your company’s model.

The following models spoken of in the paragraph above are:

  • The fast chain model: This model works best with products that have a relatively short life cycle.
  • The flexible model: This one is suited for industries with rather high sustainability and lower than average predictable supply and demand spikes
  • continuous flow model: Companies that are very stable and in a mature industry will prefer this model
  • agile model: Industries that are very variant with an unpredictable demand and goods that are made to order
  • Custom-configured model: This model is just free for any company to choose. This one is mainly a customisable
  • Efficient chain model: this model put some emphasis on being highly efficient, That’s why it is recommended for highly competitive markets where the pricing of products plays a big role.

Now we will be looking into two different ways to adapt the Supply Chain. 

Generic supply chain

This start with the extraction and sourcing of raw materials. Acting as a wholesaler, the supplier is provided with the raw materials by the logistics provider. They are then taken to the manufacturer, which refines and processes them into the complete and finished product. Note that this could be from various manufacturers.

The last step is for the finished products (or services) to go to the distributor that actually wholesales the product and then it is delivered to a retailer. The retailer then sells the set product in a store to the final consumer.

The product is bought by the consumer, the cycle is complete. For the cycle to continue, the demand goes back that boosts the production of more raw materials.

The rise of E-commerce

The influence of E-commerce in the supply chain can be seen in various companies. For a company over it’s a website and the website has a variety of products that it sells, when the consumer places an order for a product it is processed by technology such as an order system, a check-out cart, a third-party product, or even a coupon.

For the payment, it is dealt with using a payment processor that deals with the payment transactions for the order, which is in fact opening a new supply chain.

Using their own management systems, the payment processor can also be an outsider. Examples of third parties that can be payment processors are master card and PayPal. And they in turn involve other providers and banks. If the warehouse receives the order, that means that the product has been ordered properly.

The warehouse then makes sure that the product is up and ready for delivery. In a previous article, we discussed partnering with logistics companies and this is no exception. The warehousing company can be linked to the company itself or be a logistics company providing this service.

The last step of the supply chain for this e-commerce is that the product goes from the warehouse to a shipping company. When the package arrives after shipping, is delivered to the customer’s door or an outside service and the cycle is over.

Logistics VS Supply Chain companies

In our previous article, top 15 logistics companies in the UK, we discussed what a logistics company was. This article is linked to it in the fact that supply chain companies and logistics companies go hand in hand. 

Logistics is one of the aspects of the SC. Referring more precisely to the aspect of the SC that deals with the control and planning of the goods, how dare move them where they are stored, and services from their starting point to their final point. It starts with the raw materials and the process is complete by the delivery of the final product.

Making sure that there is no delay in delivery at any point in the supply chain is what successful logistics management ensures. It is meant to deliver the goods and services in a good condition and this will also help the company’s costs to go down.

Why does Supply Chain matter?

First, will look into the different steps of the supply chain before successfully assessing why SC companies matter. The lead time is the amount of time it takes for one of the following processes to complete. It is the task of the SC manager to monitor the lead time and to coordinate the processes in each of these steps to make sure that the customer is satisfied.

These are the following fundamental steps:

  • sourcing raw materials
  • refining them into base products
  • creating the actual product combining those bases
  • for filling the order/sales 
  • the delivery of the product
  • and often underestimated customer and return services

Supply chain management

SCM, supply chain management, is during the supply chain process analysing and over-sighting the information, finances and materials as they move from supplier to the manufacturer all the way to the consumer. There are three main flows of the SC which are finances flow, the information flow and the product flow. And these again take place in three major stages which are planning, operation and business strategy. SC companies need to assess and coordinate these into their structure to make everything work.

SC companies, which are specialized in management, know how important it is to fulfil the customer’s order. And when they operate correctly, they also lower the costs and make sure that the production cycle is faster.

SCM covers much more, product development, production, procurement, sourcing, logistics and more when operating the supply chain. So a good supply chain company has a good supply chain management that reduces risks, please is the customer and does not lose the competitive advantage it has in its industry.

When at their most efficient, a supply chain company will work with an efficient returns process. This means that customers that want to return products have a high satisfaction rate while doing so. It is said that the majority of the customers who are happy with the delivery of their products and the return process are more likely to come back.

So the SCM is just an efficient way to effectively create a process that is not only cost-efficient but that also mitigate risks and ensures that everything goes as planned and smoothly. SC companies know that supply chain management is so important because it houses many other aspects such as manufacturing sites, inventory management, transportation and also the fulfilment of the orders.

Because the SC company specialized again in SCM, they know that it carries countless risks and possibilities for something to go wrong. This is why they will do their best to make sure that the supply chain management is optimized to the fullest so that nothing can fall apart during the whole process.

What is the Amazon effect?

When talking about supply chain companies, we have to address Amazon. Amazon has been a big player in influencing modern consumers to expect their orders to arrive sooner than before.

As customer expectations grow, so does the digital marketplace, and it has to deal with moving away from the traditional business model and finding new and innovative ways to please the customer. This has led to many supply chain professionals working the extra mile to make sure that the orders are processed and fulfilled the way it fits the customer’s expectations.

The Amazon effect is a modern term that alludes to Amazon creating this new wave of operating a supply chain company. They are open 24/7, they process their orders almost instantaneously, and their orders are picked from the warehouses almost immediately. More recently, even they started experimenting with drone technology to deliver even faster.

You can expect right now that your package will arrive the next day and sometimes even on the same day as the order has been placed. Due to this Amazon effect, other supply chain companies have to operate even better just to compete with this. This has redefined the way they work.  

The biggest, supply chain industry in the UK

The SC industry has known a difficult year in 2017 with the entire industry starting to actually feel the effects of Brexit. Without knowing clearly what the post-Brexit world would look like, supply chain industries had postponed their key decisions and investments. Though in 2017 the industry was announced to have £1.1 billion worth of investments in supply chain manufacturing ends for vehicles, it was lower than in 2016 which had £1.6 billion.

The UK vehicle production decreased in 2017 even though it has known years of growth following the global recession. Yet even though the challenges and uncertainty caused by the drop of economical trust and confidence for all the parties, it is now that the supply chain industry shows its endurance by still maintaining high levels.

Looking at EU, some suppliers exporting from there and the rest of the world actually found benefit due to the weaker pound as the new international market saw new opportunities due to the UK product’s becoming more competitively priced.

Halfway through 2017, a report was published by the automotive council. It was the 3rd version of a report called growing the “automotive supply chain: local vehicle content analysis.” the reports show that the numbers of the UK supply chain we’re actually showing long term progress. The value of locally sourced components grew to a staggering 44%, compared with the 41% and 36% in 2015 and 2011 respectively.

the UK parts production has been able to deliver £3.7 billion more annually than it did around six years ago, this is what the research has shown. The same research also shows it, putting turnover for parts alone at £12.7 billion. Reshoring and just in time manufacturing benefit from this. With reshoring also being able to return more jobs to the UK in the incoming years.

Following this, a program supported by the government came to light called the long-term automotive supply chain competitiveness program. It was successfully broad by the government thanks to government funding of £13.3 million.

The program was aimed at UK supply chain companies for investments in R&D skill training and Capex. Even though this was a success, they still much more need government support. At the end of 2017, there was an announcement about £16 million funds for the industry to further drive competitiveness. 

Boosting the automotive supply chain and investing in this industry to make sure that it is a global player, the government is committed to boosting this particular industry so that a leader might emerge with new technologies. Aiming at big players such as alternatively fuelled vehicles might create an interesting opportunity for the automotive supply chain.

The UK wants to stay competitive in Europe even after the Brexit, they want to keep the future of this sector positive by still wanting to play a big role. Though the automotive supply chain is ingrained deeply throughout Europe, and it might prove to be difficult for the UK, especially after Brexit, to add additional barriers to competitiveness and trade.

Top 15 supply chain companies 

Wincanton

Visual of Wincanton Logo

This supply chain company provides services that can help businesses thrive. They are not only the largest British logistics company, but they also provide supply chain solutions and consultancy to two companies worldwide. Having more than 200 sites and 3,00 fleet vehicles, day employee approximately more than 17,000 people across the globe.

Their basic tasks consist of making deliveries, managing orders and assembling products for consumers. They also have warehousing and transport services, to provide the best possible service to their partners and their customers. Using those warehouses, the store, big and deliver every product they are asked to handle. It is important to note that they use high-quality services and also the latest technology in supply chain and logistics environments.

Amazon

Visual of Amazon

Having one of the largest supply chain models, state-of-the-art supply chain operation, most efficient as well come up Amazon is also very large in the UK. Due to technical innovations that it has embraced over the years to facilitate and increase its efficiency, Amazon keeps on evolving thanks to their investments in these aspects that could reach millions of dollars.

Amazon is a great example for smaller e-commerce businesses to learn from, these businesses can easily implement the functions and the efficiency of Amazon to scale up and optimize their business. Amazon has created and has been creating a heavily competitive supply chain industry.

Rosemont pharmaceuticals

Visual of Rosemont pharmaceuticals

In the supply chain of liquid medicine, Rosemont pharmaceuticals manufacturers develop and supplies them in the highest quality possible.

Eddie Stobart

Visual of Eddie Stobart

This logistics company is also leading in transport, supply chain and business logistics. It provides industry-leading service is too many of the best-known brands in the UK come up focusing on four sectors of the consumer which are: e-commerce, industrial and bulk, retail and manufacturing. They offer a strong and specialized service for transportation and warehousing for a variety of customers.

Their headquarters is based in Warrington. The business has over 5000 retailers, 43 operating centres and 2700 vehicles throughout the UK and Europe, which allows them to offer a full end to end service in the supply chain with an international range. They work with innovating technologies and techniques such as I force, the palate network, speed freight and logistic people which has allowed them to further extend their network and increase their scale.

This also helps them in delivering innovative and up to date supply chain solutions, which enables them to further develop the industry of supply chain.

Bibby distribution

Visual of Bibby distribution

They have been providing supply chain and logistics services to customers for well over 30 years and are placed amongst the top 10 third party UK logistics and supply chain companies. They have sites or all over the UK, 90 in total with their headquarters in Liverpool, which helps them operate in a wide range of industries such as paper and packaging, industrial, food and beverages and consumer-focused.

Furthermore, they put an emphasis on trust and relationships between their customers and themselves. Right now, they are one of the leading supply chain partners in the UK thanks to this.

The European pallet pooling specialist

Visual of

LPR for shorts has established its name as one of the world’s largest companies of fast-moving consumer goods in the world. They also are very aware of the climate using reusable and green packaging, simplicity, sustainability in the supply chain, and they ensure above all else efficiency.

LPR possesses well over 108 depots in 11 different countries, with well over 28,000 customer drop points and with more than 20 million pallets. Their turnover in 2017 was over €200 million in 2017, with more than 300 employees that manage more than 80.5 million pallets.

IO consultants

Visual of IO consultants

Logistics and supply chain management are not the only things that are integrated into the consulting package of IO consultants. They also provide design and planning services for production as well As for architecture and IT projects.

The company was founded in 1958 and since then they have helped their customers improve their supply chain value with an array of services. Together with their clients, they want to create customized solutions so that each client has specific help. Above that, they want to respond to the specific requirements of each client.

The supply chain Consulting Group

Visual of The supply chain Consulting Group

Prior to 2018, the supply chain consulting group was named Gideon Hillman consulting and go Supply chain consulting. Since their fusion, they are one of the leading UK based logistics and supply chain consultancy companies operating on a worldwide scale. From Asia to Africa and Europe, not forgetting the UK, all the way to the USA.

Since 2004, they have been supporting the UK logistics network and supply chain projects for important clients. The supply chain Consulting Group has more than 2000 registered companies and is an ISO 9001. 

Boxes and packaging limited

Visual of Boxes and packaging limited

This company is part of the logson group and are a supply chain solutions, cardboard packaging manufacturer. Their delivery concept is that they support companies in both reducing their costs through design and rationalization and by reviewing their package needs. And while doing this they maintain quality and consistency.

McDonagh supply chain consultant

Visual of McDonagh supply chain consultant

In the years of this supply chain consultancy, it has had experience in end to end supply chains. It has access to global, a network of key industry experts. McDonagh supply chain Consultant delivers assurance solutions across a wide array of specialist freight services.

Rhenus Corby

Visual of Rhenus Corby

What used to be RCS logistics come up as now the UK based leading third party logistic company. It operates through Corby, Northamptonshire, Ireland and Europe. They partner with other companies to provide services in warehousing, transport and logistics in the East Midlands. Providing premium quality services that deliver inefficient, flexible end effective logistics solutions is what their primary mission is all about.

Q-mass Ltd.

Visual of Q-mass Ltd

A service solutions provider and CNC precision machining manufacturing. They have been providing and producing Barts ranging in complexity and which include machined components to the engineering sector as well as the oil and gas market.

Paul Trudgian

Visual of Paul Trudgian

The Ltd. first launched was in 2014. They are an institute of consulting recognized practice and for the institute of logistics and transport, they are a corporate member. Paul Trudgian provides industry-leading supply chain and logistics consultancy across a variety of sectors.

Their way of operating is as an extension to the team of the client so that they can provide on-hand expertise to help the company leverage the best service and the most effective supply chain. Their supply chain management service covers specializing inventory planning, supply chain planning, network design, warehouse design, S&OP and logistics outsourcing.

Warrant group

Visual of Warrant group

Founded in 1989, Warren group is one of the UK’s largest supply chain and logistic companies which is privately owned. Their service also provides deliveries on a global scale. They offer sea and road as well as air capabilities in supply chain management and logistics.

BPO partnership

Visual of BPO partnership website

They are a procurement and supply chain professional company with years of experience in supplier relationship management, international logistics and demand planning. Their goal is to lower the cost of managing the supply chain for their customers and providing support to their team in achieving a strategic and operational goal.

Supply chain companies in CONNECTS

CONNECTS is a business matchmaking platform that allows you to connect with other companies and Chambers of Commerce worldwide. If we’re looking at the UK specifically, you can contact supply chain companies via major Chambers of Commerce that are members of the platform connects. These chambers are: 

Their moderators will guide you and show you how to get in touch with these supply chain companies. You can send them a message directly to ask your questions. This is only possible if you are a member of the business matchmaking platform CONNECTS.

Other than that, through the platform, you can also get in immediate touch with external supply chain companies in the UK. Via OpenCorporates you can reach more than 150,000 supply chain companies in the UK and via Kompass, you can reach over 40,000 supply chain companies in the UK.

Are you an entrepreneur wanting to discover and develop new opportunities, both locally and internationally? Join our Business Matchmaking Platform and start your free trial.

Already a member of a participating chamber? Join our Business Matchmaking Platform for free.

Want to learn more about CONNECTS? Find us on Google Maps! For more information, don’t hesitate to contact us or request a demo

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