Linden Foods prides itself as having close relationships with its partners in the Supply Chain. It also appreciates the need that everyone in the Supply Chain must have an understanding of the complete chain. One part of the Supply Chain where knowledge, communication and understanding is particularly poor is between the retailers / red meat processors and farmers.
Linden Foods decided last year to try and address this by setting up an initiative with Marks & Spencer to try and address this situation. It was decided that the best way to do this was by training the next generation of highly trained farmers/farm leaders/ and farm advisers in the complete red meat supply chain. It was felt these young people would be in good position to inform the wider farming community in the future of the importance of a secure supply chain.
With the help of Greenmount CAFRE, a supply chain initiative was developed for the second year agricultural technology undergraduates. The first set of students completed the initiative last year and after excellent feedback, it was decided that the initiative would be repeated for the next few years.
The initiative starts with the students visiting Linden Foods for a complete day during which they see and learn about every aspect of the processing side of the red meat supply chain, it has been assumed that the production side of the supply chain is covered during their studies.
The next part of the initiative involves the students visiting the M&S Sprucefield store to learn about the customer and their expectations. They also attend a lecture given by a member of the M&S supply chain team on how a major retailer operates in the retail market to satisfy their customers.
The final part of the initiative is where the students work in groups of four to design a sustainable new agricultural/ horticultural product and present it together with how the supply chain would operate to a panel of judges from Linden Foods, M&S and CAFRE.
The winning team of four will visit M&S headquarters with an overnight stay in London, including a meal at a top restaurant.
The feedback from last year’s initiative was excellent, after this year there will be 67 undergraduates with a complete insight to the red meat supply chain.