MT editor Steve Hobson, Matthew Parsons, general manager British Sugar contract, Abbey Logistics Group, Stewart Dickson, head of logistics, British Sugar, and Ian Mitchell, MD of sponsor Hiab UK

In 2016, Abbey Logistics took over the British Sugar transport contract, an operation that sees 400,000 tonnes of bulk sugar delivered every year and 300 deliveries across the UK each week.

This involves a fleet of 61 bespoke trucks and 94 dedicated tank trailers covering 4.5 million miles a year, driven by 90 drivers managed by a team of 19 full-time staff.

The joint Abbey Logistics and British Sugar team has developed a fully integrated, cost-effective and secure business alliance, which “practises, shares and promotes teamwork in every aspect of the contract”.

Abbey has become an extension of British Sugar Logistics and the joint awards submission covered the combined Abbey Logistics and British Sugar team.

This joined-up approach has led to dramatic improvements in customer service, safety, cost, and management information.

These results included 99% on-time delivery in 2018/19, up from 97.5% the previous year and consistently above the contractual target, transport cost per tonne reduced by 13%, generating a cost saving of nearly £3m, and an80% reduction in personal injuries as a result of safer loading and unloading, better reporting and a workforce encouraged to report anything unsafe.

This testimonial from Mark Haslam, head of logistics at British Sugar, shows the depth of the relationship between the client and contractor. “We have been very pleased with the way Abbey Logistics has integrated its contract team into our wider logistics operation. The commitment, time, resource and operational knowledge they have provided has been highly effective in helping us achieve our objectives,” Haslam wrote.

British Sugar’s customers order sugar in different ways, with some collecting their own loads and others taking deliveries. This needs advance planning, visibility of orders and complete transparency from both teams to ensure everyone pulls in the same direction.

Our judges were impressed with the seamless integration of the joint team.

“Abbey Logistics and British Sugar are a great example of mutually beneficial and successful open book collaboration,” said one.

"This award is a culmination of two to three years of really hard work by a lot of people across not just the Abbey team but the whole of British Sugar’s commercial and supply chain functions. It is emblematic of us working together as one team and one supply chain to achieve the results we’re after."

Matthew Parsons

"I’m really pleased to receive the award. It’s a clear demonstration of all the hard work the collective teams have applied. It’s truly a team effort and we’re really proud to be collecting this award."

Stewart Dickson