SALAD processor Natures Way Foods has won the coveted Supply Chain Initiative of the Year trophy in the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards.

The ceremony took place at The Hilton on Park Lane in London.

The firm’s achievements were celebrated in front of hundreds of food industry guests as head of IT Stewart Wilmot collected the award.

He was joined on stage by awards host, English Rugby Union cup winner and former team captain Matt Dawson.

Based in Selsey, Natures Way Foods supplies retailers and foodservice companies with prepared salads, prepared fruit, coleslaw and potato salad, dressed salads, and fresh food to go products.

The business has established a supply chain sourcing strategy that ensures it can collect, process and deliver fresh food in optimum condition to its food service and retail customers when and where they need it.

To meet its demand schedules, Natures Way Foods focuses on a material requirements plan using its Microsoft Dynamics AX enterprise resource planning planning system.

The ERP system tracks stock at every step through the whole supply chain with warehouse staff equipped with handheld devices for stock picking.

In August, the company launched a new demand and sales forecasting tool, which is enabling the business to significantly improve supply chain efficiency.

The awards’ independent judging panel – led by Paul Wilkinson, chair of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink – praised its commitment to progress its environmental agenda.

The judges said: “Natures Way Foods was the clear winner in this category after investing in a new ERP system and developing its own business intelligence dashboard.

“The result was a new supply chain strategy that delivered full visibility and life-cycle management from ingredients sourcing to customer delivery.”

The other finalist in the Supply Chain Initiative of the Year was well-known Weetabix.