Clients & Case Studies

Buncefield Oil Depot – Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery

Buncefield Oil Depot Disaster RecoveryAt 6.15 am on Sunday 11th of December 2005 I received a phonecall to tell me that our main wine and spirit warehouse had been destroyed by the blast from the Buncefield Oil Depot, where a number of petrol storage tanks had exploded. Fortunately no one had been injured and we only had one security guard on site. If it had been any other day of the week at least 80 people would have been on site and the consequences do not bear to be considered. This was in the middle of our peak trading period with over £10 million of stock in the warehouse most of which was scheduled to be delivered in the following 2 weeks.

Input : Fortunately I had business continuity plans set up in WaverleyTBS. By 10 am I had assembled my main operations team and by midday I was meeting my  Board colleagues with an update of the situation and initial proposals to deal with the implications of the event. No access was permitted to the site until after Xmas, therefore no access to any salvageable stock, all 30 delivery vehicles on site were also not accessible. Although this exact scenario had never been rehearsed other potential incidents of a similar nature had been reviewed. Some the differences had to evaluated and changes to the plans made. As Operations Director I took control of the recovery and we quickly agreed action plans to try and meet our customer’s requirements in the run up to Xmas. The Recovery team then meet twice a day for the next 13 days usually by video conference as we were often in different parts of the country.

Outcome: With tremendous effort from all staff (50 relocated from Hemel Hempstead to Newcastle for 2 weeks) together with help from suppliers, other parts of our parent business and even from some competitors, we managed to meet all our customers requirements before Xmas.

The recovery continued for another 6 months including a move into a temporary warehouse and they business finally moved back into the rebuilt warehouse 18 months later. Without our well developed continuity plans and the regular rehearsals of parts of them we would never have had been able to survive as a business never mind even meet our customers needs. You never know what is round the corner so be prepared.


Repacking Operation

A client was carrying out a repacking operation for many of the major whisky makers. Adding duty stamps, combining different products on promotional offers, adding specific labels to products destined for foreign markets were some of the main tasks. The operation had been very successful and the demand for the service had been grown considerably and the building that housed the operation was being stretched at the seems with congestion and mixing of packaging materials, goods awaiting repacking and goods that had been repacked. This was creating inefficiencies and additional work to move stock to get at stock required. This was eroding the already tight profit on the work.

Input: I undertook to a review of the operation over a couple of days observing the workflow, following orders through the process and discussing fustrations with the staff. From this I was able to propose a new layout including installation of some racking, elimination of duplicate administration, some better disciplines to manage excess packaging materials and finished stock. After discussion with the client he agreed to implement the majority of my proposals and I then helped him prepare an implementation plan.

Outcome: His own staff implemented the plan and immediately started to see the benefits. He reduced his operational costs by 10% and has been able to operate out of the same area meeting the excess demand.


Warehouse Efficiencies

WaverleyTBS, the Wine and Spirit division of Scottish & Newcastle supplied on trade customers with both full cases and bottles. Picking cases and bottles together was quite inefficient and the warehouses were reaching capacity.

Input: Setting up a small working party I lead the development of a compact semi automated bottle picking operation which allowed the separation of the case and bottle picking.

Outcome: This improved efficiencies by over 40% and doubled the capacity of the operation thus avoiding establishing an additional warehouse.


Buccleuch Cleaners mentoring

A cleaning and laundering business in Borders run by a father and son. Working as a business mentor with them we have addressed a number of issues including agreeing an exit strategy for the father in a couple of years. The operational issues have included utility costs, credit card transactional costs and investment in more energy and environmental efficient boiler.

Input & Progress: This mentoring has been done by approximately a day a month over 6 months and they have both developed their overall business skills.

the National Trust for Scotland

the National Trust for Scotland

The client had made a strategic decision to implement an Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) system to manage stock and allow better targeted sales in their outlets across Scotland. I was recruited as Project Manager for this implementation. The project was taken from tendering for supply of the system through to installation and training of the staff, including organising the infrastructure and loading of the data.


Distribution Routing

A small brewery client had recently gained a number of additional orders, however they were at quite a distance outwith their normal distribution area.

Input: I reviewed the order size, frequency of the orders and any restrictions on delivery times to the customers. Then working with their distribution planner we devised a routing plan that made the most efficient use of their own 2 vehicles with the ability to use a local haulier to meet demand above the capacity of the 2 vehicles. I also explained to the planner how to establish when he could justify additional vehicles for their fleet.


Architects Business In Borders

An architect business covering southern Scotland.

Input: Working as a business mentor for a couple of days I reviewed the total business with the partners and was able to propose a number of improvements to the business. These included improved cash flow, reducing bank charges, managing absence better and health and safety in the office. Part of the mentoring was working with the partners on how they were going to implement the plans in a successful manner.

Outcome: A follow up visit 3 months showed that they had successfully implemented all the plans.