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Distribution and inventory optimisation

This building materials distributor had a network of 500 branches serving the UK with products sourced from over 800 suppliers. The distribution network was mainly ‘direct to branch’ with many small and uncoordinated deliveries. Inventory control was poor, leading to lost sales and high costs of inter-branch transfers to cover shortages.There was very little control over costs and service levels. Crimson & Co was engaged to carry out a detailed analysis of distribution options to reduce cost and working capital, whilst increasing product availability.


  • £38m inventory reduction
  • Greater control over service and cost
  • Improved product availability
  • Additional capacity at warehouses
  • Defined flows for each product type

Industrial films – warehouse ops, WMS & process improvement

The client implemented a new WMS. The intended benefits of the system had been to reduce direct head count by 3 through improved productivity and improved customer service, in terms of both reliability and pick accuracy.

Post go-live the business had poor customer service, lost revenue and stock, had to use off-site warehouses and increased manning levels (15 above previous levels) – cost overrun was in excess of €500k p.a. Crimson & Co was appointed to answer the question “what actions should the client take to resolve these warehouse operational problems?”


  • Warehouse improvements completed in four months
  • Headcount reduction achieved in excess of forecast
  • Pick accuracy raised above 97%
  • Outside storage removed
  • Costs back on budget, in excess of €500k pa reduction

UK aggregates – Process re-engineering

A regional division of a UK aggregates company had an exclusive focus on service. This had been at the expense of profitability with lower than benchmark vehicle productivity. The objective was to streamline the core “order to delivery” processes to deliver current service levels with increased profitability. Crimson & Co led the process reengineering exercise to drive more commercially based decision making and identify how to lower the costs of haulage/transport.


  • £1m+ benefits identified
  • Manual processes and re-work eliminated where possible
  • Commercially-based decision making processes introduced
  • Required system functionality defined for fleet optimisation
  • Haulier payment mechanism aligned to the key cost drivers

Transport operations & cost improvement

A major UK 3PL operating in a highly regulated environment needed to accommodate 19% volume growth and reduce unit costs in an uncertain market. However, component costs were already low due to considerable purchasing power. We worked with the client to explore and exploit opportunities across its transport operation. Crimson & Co produced a transport strategy which supported volume growth and reduced the fixed cost base while maintaining service.


  • Client understood the potential for a major shift in cost base
  • 8% cost savings identified and verified
  • Paradigm shift in the way transport was contracted and used
  • Increased flexibility in operations and cost base
  • Detailed implementation plan developed