RELEX, Europe’s fastest growing supply chain solution company, is launching a drive to persuade the food sector that automating fresh goods replenishment can radically reduce spoilage.

According to the anti-waste advisory body WRAP UK wholesalers and retailers see around 4,500 lorry loads of perishable goods spoil every year, that’s enough to feed everyone in the UK for two days.

RELEX is launching a series of webinars and white papers to spread good practice and to show retailers and wholesalers how automation, smarter processes and good system support, coupled with the latest supply chain technology, can play a major part in cutting waste.

The company, founded by a team of logistics and supply chain PhDs, all of whom have extensive experience of research in industry, has already worked with grocery retailers and wholesalers to cut spoilage by as much as 40%.

“There are all sorts of myths about managing the fresh goods supply chain; that produce sold by the kilo can’t be automatically replenished; that day-to-day fluctuations can’t be built into forecasts; that seasonal changes and campaigns further complicate matters to the point where no system can handle the task,” says Tommi Ylinen, RELEX’s Head of UK Operations.

“Many companies in the grocery sector still see fresh food management as far too complex to be entrusted to their supply chain system and therefore continue to handle re-ordering using either very low-level automation or a completely manual process,” says Ylinen. “Others have begun the process of automation but haven’t yet realised all the gains that are possible.”

“We typically find that the more complex the problem the better the results. We hope we’ll be able to lay most, if not all, of these myths to rest,” he says.
RELEX will be offering a series of mini white papers on different challenges related to automated management of the fresh food supply chain, including weather, seasons, campaigns and demand swings, as well as advice on data organisation that allows pinpoint control of stocks day-by-day.

The Fresh Lab programme will include case studies showing how retailers and wholesalers have already managed to add significantly to their profits by automating fresh food replenishment, cutting waste and increasing availability through careful supply chain management.

“Given that margins on groceries are wafer thin cutting spoilage can have a huge impact on profits, and we’ve seen cases where profits have risen by over 45%,” says Mr Ylinen.

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