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Working Capital Reduction: Breakfast Cereals

Releasing over £1M cash through stock reduction in a breakfast cereal production company


Food and Beverage – Breakfast Cereal production


Reduce stock holding across all categories and reduce number of pallets stored offsite with 3rd party logistics by >3,000pc


  1. Move to a fixed cycle production plan and optimise stocks
  2. Procure raw materials, packaging and manufacture WIP JIT
  3. Maximise use of onsite warehouse


  • Stock of raw material, packaging, WIP and finished goods reduced by more than 3,000 pallets
  • Number of pallets stored offsite reduced by 3,000 plus >500 spaces freed up onsite that can be filled, worth ~£600k, releasing over £1M cash
  • Core projects and sustainable structures were handed over to internal departmental leads with adequate training provided for ongoing improvement

Why was Chartwell brought on board?

25% growth over the past 3 years has led to an increased stock holding of raw materials, packaging, WIP and finished goods, with a corresponding increase in supply chain costs.

Chartwell was brought on board to work with the onsite team over a period of 4 months to improve the stock holding situation in all four areas and implement a sustainable system.

Core Project Workstreams

S&OP Process

  • The existing S&OP process was fragmented with many key steps/processes not in place or functioning poorly
  • The entire S&OP process from commercial sales forecast through to the customer was redefined with appropiate owners, KPIs and reporting structures

Finished Goods


  • Finished goods stocks reduced by 2,000 pallets
  • Improved OTIF performance
  • 2 out of 3 third party distribution warehouses completely exited


  • Moved to a semi-fixed production plan on a 6 week cycle with the highest volume products being produced every week
  • Calculation of correct safety stock levels for every SKU and monitoring of stock levels against target
  • Forecast accuracy measure and process established



  • WIP reduced from over 1,500 pallets to under 500


  • Bake plan aligned with packing plan
  • Change in mindsets to only produce what is needed
  • Production pack out all WIP to reduce part pallets going back to warehouse
  • Review process for low life stock

Raw Materials & Planning


  • Raw material and packaging stocks reduced by >600 pallets


  • SAP got updated with correct lead times, order quantities and safety stock levels
  • Lead times, minimum order quantities and pallet quantities were challenged with suppliers
  • Mindset change to trust SAP and order based on what the system says

Handover of sustainable structures

Tiered Review Structures:

  • Restructure of daily operations meeting to include key supply chain elements
  • Setup of weekly supply chain team meeting to review KPIs and drive improvement actions

Improvement tools and structures

  • Daily and weekly KPIs for supply chain team put in place
  • New S&OP process clearly documented
  • Role cards written for all staff involved in supply chain detailing key roles and responsibilities relating to the S&OP process

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