As well as being the UK’s number one dairy company, by turnover and milk pool, Arla Foods is the largest supplier of butter and spreads and cheese in the country. Behind this leading business is a logistics operation making deliveries to stores and regional distribution centres each day.

On the supply side, Arla manages the UK dairy industry’s largest milk pool, comprising 3,200 farmers spread geographically throughout the country.

The organisation is supported by a regional network of milk processing plants each of which has its own logistics operation covering inbound – collecting raw milk from the farms and outbound; delivering finished products into the wholesale chain.
Arla UK has an ambitious growth strategy and its most recent development is a new, one-billion litre fresh milk dairy in Aylesbury, which started operations in October 2013.

The Merridale software is very user friendly and accepted generally as part of our administration. We did have a look at the on-line version but decided to stay with the traditional server based system, as this better suited our operational requirements.

The transport fleet at Aylesbury comprises tankers and delivery vehicles, operated by Arla in conjunction with a number of third party logistics partners. Fuel is provided by an in-house filling station located within a service area together with the vehicle cleaning facilities.
“Next to wages, fuel is a significant on-cost to our business, explains outbound general manager, Mark Newman. So keeping absolute control of this resource is our first priority.”

Merridale fuel management systems have been in service with the Arla Foods group for more than a decade. The system was introduced initially as an upgrade, offering better support than the previous set-up, a decision which has resulted in Merridale now becoming the preferred solution across the group.

Mark Newnan, who joined the Arla Group in Hatfield, Pererel, near Colchester ten years ago, is familiar with the Merridale fuel management solution and there was no question about whether or not it would be implemented at the new fuelling point at Ayslebury.

“The Merridale software is very user friendly and accepted generally as part of our administration,” says Mark. “We did have a look at the on-line version but decided to stay with the traditional server based system, as this better suited our operational requirements.

Every vehicle authorised to draw fuel at Aylesbury is provided with a smart key which allows access to the fuel pumps. Each transaction is authenticated by entering a validated vehicle mileage. This enables the system to track the time and amount of fuel drawn. The computer record is reconciled daily by physically dipping the tanks and checking the actual stock records against the fuel drawn.

“Mark concludes by saying. “The main benefit is that it that we know exactly where the fuel is going. And since we are tracking fuel consumption, we are also obtaining the information we need to manage the carbon emissions and therefore the potential impact of our transport operations on the environment.”