Huge wastage because of delivery problems has been uncovered in a project aimed at streamlining the supply chain behind McVitie’s digestives.

Growers, wheat marketers from Fengrain, miller Heygates and United biscuits walked the chain together with consultants from Cardiff Business School’s Lean Centre.

The value chain analysis found that farmers missed 20% of collections by hauliers, while a staggering 46% of deliveries to the mill were written down as errors.

Rejections because of quality cost £15,000 a year, the study found, but by far the largest problem was trucks missing delivery times.

A similar problem was found at United Biscuits’ Harlesden factory, where some weekend flour deliveries were bounced because of poor slot management.

Quality testing was identified as another source of waste in the chain, with five separate testing points uncovered. Fengrain and Heygates have vowed to rationalise the inspection process.

Growers themselves must work towards standardising on-farm storage so that wheat quality remains high and constant across different sources.

In return, they would see fewer rejections, which cost at least £300 a load in haulage charges, marketing manager, John Whitelam.