The secret to a gold-standard supply chain

With over 99.6% of orders fulfilled successfully by Young Foodies Supply Chain Services, we went behind the scenes to find out what makes an industry-leading operations team tick.

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If you’re lucky enough to be well-versed in supply chain and logistics, you’ll already know what OTIF means. If, like many people, you’re not too familiar with this area of the business, it refers to the number of deliveries made On Time, in Full. OTIF is how most retailers measure supply chain efficiency when considering new and existing listings, so it’s a crucial stat for any Supply Chain & Logistics team.

But due to the many stages and parties involved in even the simplest supply chains, OTIF is a notoriously difficult measure to control, and it seems this is why few companies are open about sharing their score. According to PWC, supply chain leaders are able to deliver OTIF on 95.7% of occasions.

We’re really proud our Supply Chain Services team, who delivered 99.65% orders accurately last month, and consistently work with brands further up their supply chains to ensure a best-in-class OTIF score.

So in addition to giving a massive shout-out to our Supply Chain and Logistics team, we also decided to go #InsideYoungFoodies to understand the secret behind their industry-leading operations.


Who better to ask than Ryan Harris, our Operations Manager? We spoke to Ryan to hear the latest from Supply Chain and Logistics, and his best advice for challenger brands looking to develop their supply chain capacity.

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Who are the Supply Chain and Logistics Team and what are their roles?

As a team, we manage accounts for the brands who outsource their planning and logistics to us, from ordering raw materials against the demand for placing orders. Plus, we handle the inevitable issues that arise along the way so that our founders and brand teams can focus on what they’re great at growth.

We also provide reporting and insights to our brands, identifying opportunities for improvements, helping to prevent as many potential issues as we can.



Why is the Supply Chain & Logistics team so valuable for challenger brands?


  1. Experience — We’re extremely lucky here at Young Foodies to have two fantastic co-founders, Chris Thea, who both have a background running the operations of some of the fastest-growing brands in the UK. They really know what they’re doing when it comes to supply chain, so they’ve injected sky-high standards into our services. At the same time, the varying specialisms and backgrounds of our team (from big business, to tech business, to challenger brands, to retailers) means we have the benefit of many brains on any given account!

  2. Consistency — We’re always on. This means our accounts are always covered, even if some of the team members are on holiday.

  3. Value— As a small brand, hiring a team of 7 in operations seems unheard of! Our mission here at Young Foodies is to help small brands get access to the best resources and services, so our brands can enjoy all of our experience at the price of a graduate hire. We also stop them having to worry about hiring internally, because we take care of that too!


What do you personally gain the most from working in the Young Foodies Supply Chain & Logistics team?


Ownership, and being trusted to deliver. We’ve been able to demonstrate that we can provide an industry-leading operations service, so our accounts can leave us to it, knowing that we’ll deliver — literally!

We’re a small team in a fast-paced environment, so we’re each given wider responsibility, and this has helped us develop broader expertise. This also means we get more freedom to deliver our own ideas, and make a difference to our brands.



From your own experience working in larger companies, what’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed between how operations works within a big corporate and within a challenger brand?

Big companies have so much process in place. This can be great, but it causes extra workload, and can really slow things down. As is always the case with intricate processes, people try to cut corners, which can bring it all to a stand-still.

Brexit is threatening to put a lot of pressure on UK supply chains, but it’s also not really possible to predict and pre-empt these changes yet. It will be interesting to see how these complex and slow-moving systems are able to respond to these fast-paced, and potentially huge changes.

Rather than working within one massive system, we get to work with different accounts in both ambient and frozen. This means we’re able to see what works well and what doesn’t — it’s a big learning experience! And when we find something that works well, or needs to be improved, we’re able to make those changes quickly rather than having to wade through complicated processes.

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How can challenger brands ensure their supply chain is water-tight and as efficient as possible?

  1. De-risk—A supply chain is already full of risks that you aren’t always able to control. Acknowledge this by minimising the risks that you can control. Automate as many processes as possible to reduce the chances of human error within your own team, or get experts in to manage your operation for you.

  2. Invest — As much as possible, try to get things right first time. This means spending the time and money to deliver well from the get-go: it will be a worthwhile investment! For example, we see a lot of small brands investing in systems, but then not using them to the full. This means they end up having to invest in new systems or training later down the line, when they may not have the time or money to do so. We’ve got a lot of experience working with these systems, so we’re here to offer our brands advice in setting them up, and we can even do it for them.

  3. Support—Only invest in things you will support and enforce in the long-term. This doesn’t just means systems, but your team, too. Invest in training and development for your team, and offer them the freedom to make the most of this expertise. All supply chains need to prepare for some big changes coming soon, so make sure you keep your team in the best shape!

  4. Optimise— Once you’ve got your processes in place and have invested in your systems, don’t just leave them to it. Make sure processes are being followed and managed properly at each stage, and be on the constant lookout for ways to optimise and improve these processes — there’s always new developments and software being released. Draw on your team’s knowledge and expertise to suggest improvements — then do it!

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Finally, what do you think the future holds for Young Foodies Supply Chain & Logistics?

  1. Scale — We want to make sure we are big enough to provide the best service to anyone who needs it!

  2. New opportunities — We’re also looking for other ways we can support small brands, from keeping an eye out for new systems, to sharing key events in the space. We currently offer 5 main services: outsourced logistics and planning, project delivery, Growth Audits, regulatory label compliance, and legal advisory. We want to keep adding to this: there’ll always be new ways we can help make operations easier for challenger brands.



There you have it: if you’re looking to build an industry-leading operations team, start by filling it with expertise. Offer them the freedom and ownership to identify and implement new ideas, and keep investing in them from day one.





The Young Foodies Supply Chain & Logistics team offers best-in-class operations support to food and drink challenger brands. From useful content, like getting your warehouse ready for growth and reducing picking costs, to bespoke services, we help make operations easier for small brands.

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