We set out to change the way in which businesses review and consider their logistic operations in the transnational collaboration Project SCALE. This has developed new collaborative frameworks, tools and technologies to enable the improvement of the efficiency and sustainability of food logistics.

Key Facts

    • Project SCALE (Step Change in Agri-Food Ecosystems) aimed to increase economic competitiveness but, as importantly, to also improve environmental and social sustainability of food and drink supply chain logistics across North-West Europe. This is in the context of rising food demands, increasing energy prices and the need to reduce environmentally damaging emissions.

    • We were the lead partner in the three-year project which involved other research institutions (University of Artois and Wageningen University), working in collaboration with DHL and European Food and Farming Partnerships (EFFP).

    • The SCALE Journey is a series of steps that a food or logistics business can take to help design and then deliver new logistics’ practices that will deliver benefit across the Triple Bottom Line (TBL). The three key stages are Shape (the planning and design of a new more sustainable logistics proposition); Mobilise (making sure internal teams are aligned and motivated and appropriate collaborative relationships are developed with external partners); and Build (the implementation of any new initiative).

  • Funded by INTERREG IVB North-West Europe (a financial instrument of the European Union’s Cohesion Policy) and the project partners.

Impact of our research

The project encouraged significant stakeholder participation with conferences, national events and exchange visits, attracted lots of positive media coverage and led to a number of academic articles and publications.

Its outputs are aimed specifically at those who work in businesses across the food industry and who want to make a step change in their approach to creating sustainable supply chains. In particular, it is valuable to leaders and operators in food and logistics companies who are making business and investment decisions that will impact the way food supply chains operate in the future.

We identified three key building blocks which are needed for businesses to make a meaningful step change in their approach to supply chain sustainability – belief that improving the TBL can really improve competitiveness and profitability; recognition that progress in this area is not easy and that certain core enablers must be in place to drive real change; and articulation of a compelling TBL value proposition with an action plan for implementation.

Why the research was commissioned

Increasing food demands from a growing global population, volatile energy prices and the need to reduce environmentally damaging emissions are just some of the drivers to dramatically improve food and drink supply chain logistics.

Why Cranfield?

We are widely recognised as a world leader in supply chain research and development.

Facilities used

The project involved a wide range of approaches including case studies, workshops, desk-based research, surveys, modelling and pilots.