chaz1Welcome to the July 1 Warehouse & Logistics News. We’re now halfway through a miserable year for business, with most of us relying on the sunshine, the long light evenings and the wealth of great summer sporting fixtures to distract us from the realisation that we’re now in the darkest night of the economy, with unemployment rising faster than any time since the 1980s.

The message is there in the music. 60’s veterans Crosby Stills & Nash have just played Glastonbury, and their classic song Long Time Gone is as relevant now as it was back in their heyday: “The darkest hour is always before the dawn.” We’ve all got to keep going.

To help you improve your business efficiency and come through the recession fitter and stronger, we have two highly practical features in this issue. Doors & Curtains includes industrial doors, curtains and high-speed roller-shutters: Order Picking looks at pickers, pick to light and voice picking.

The early ‘80s recession gave rise to a new generation of leaner, meaner companies. When it’s over this one looks set to have much the same effect. The Centre for Economics and Business Research reckons over half the UK business services jobs created since 2004 will have gone by 2011. Firms working for the public sector will suffer as government bodies are forced to slash spending.

Looking at the individual industry sectors, automotive has traditionally been ripe pickings for warehousing and logistics companies. Modern vehicle manufacture involves very long production lines, with component and subassembly suppliers running factories in different parts of the world, and when things are good, 3PLs providing supply chain logistics do well. That said, the number of new, finished cars made in the UK fell 43% year on year in May, which isn’t good news for anyone involved in running automotive supply chains.

Retail, another ‘pillar’ sector for warehousing and logistics, saw May sales volumes slip 0.6% lower than April and 1.6% lower than a year ago, with punters buying fewer new clothes and shoes. At least Internet shopping continues to grow, good news for suppliers of warehouse equipment and business-to-consumer delivery services.

There’s hope amid all this gloom from the CBI. They’re saying the economy is more stable now, and predict slow growth during 2010. Thanks to low interest rates and quantitative easing (don’t you love these terms?) the CBI believes the last two quarters of 2009 will see modest improvements in UK GDP growth, levelling out at -0.1% and 0%. We’ll drink to that!
Have a good month.

Warehouse & Logistics News