Three years after its launch, NetworkGrain UK is to be rebranded as Openfield Network.
The move reflects the turnkey role of Openfield in taking high-quality, centrally-stored grain to the consumer and comes at a time of rapid expansion across member stores UK-wide.
When first established, the network saw 10 farmer-owned storage co-operatives band together forming a new market-focused organisation to deliver greater value across the supply chain.
Now, under the guise of the Openfield Network, this has grown to 18 member stores, with two more – at Montrose and Kettering – in the pipeline.
As a result, it is expected that this harvest the network will handle almost 1m tonnes of UK grain, with more end-users locking in to this supply route to guarantee supply.
According to Openfield’s group commercial director, Graham Lacey, the development of the Openfield Network is fundamental to the long-term survival of the UK grain supply chain.
“Working together creates synergy, helping to optimise supply fundamentals across the supply chain,” he said. “This provides a number of opportunities for the fulfilment of some long-term supply contracts with our customers.”
“Openfield is committed to driving this forward and now has a team of stores and facilities experts that add to the work of the network and has invested in supporting a number of regional developments.
“With the supply and demand picture changing, some regions could well face production deficits and it is increasingly important that a business such as Openfield manages movement to meet customer expectations.
“Given the right positioning and planning, we can hold stock and deliver 24/7 to any plant in the UK,” he said. “By being as efficient as possible, both the farmer and the end-user benefit from better margin efficiencies.
“Security of supply is also increasingly important and it is up to us to ensure that by offering this, consumers recognise that our grain delivered at the right time to the right specification is of value.”
“Despite prices and risk management becoming ever more important, we are working with a number of suppliers on improved carbon footprints, and improved levels of food security and safety.
“As a result, this type of branded supply opportunity is increasing and there is value to be had for all in the partnership,” he said.
Openfield Network members will be in force on the company’s stand – F716 – throughout the two days of the show, though interest is expected to focus on the new build at Kettering.
This 90,000t capacity Advanced Processing Centre (APC) will target a wide range of local mills with high-quality, vendor-assured food grade grain, with the first phase expected to provide a 55,000t facility in time for harvest 2012.
“This is the first time a major grain store and processing facility has been directly sited to suit the overall needs of the supply chain; all previous stores have been built close to the point of grain production,” said Mr Lacey.
• Cereals 2011 exhibitor information as supplied by Openfield Network.