Welcome to the December 15th edition of Warehouse & Logistics News, our last in an eventful year, in which Britain’s warehouse and logistics industry has faced a stream of challenges and gone on calmly delivering the goods.

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Early in the year, in the grocery sector, the ‘Beast from the East’ blizzards sent shoppers hoarding food and candles but the trucks kept moving and shops stayed open. The glorious summer saw supply chains stretched taut as we celebrated the Royal Wedding, drank to England’s World cup success and basked in the long heatwave. But again the line held.

Most recently, in the Brexit tension of the last few weeks, businesses of all kinds have been snapping up warehouse space and buffering themselves against anticipated post-Brexit stock shortages.

As an industry we get through stressful times like this by building in a margin of comfort. On our front cover Swisslog’s warehouse automation solutions are helping ease anticipated seasonal ecommerce labour shortages. With experts forecasting that online shopping’s rapid growth will create demand for 452,000 more warehouse workers in the next year, Swisslog’s solutions increase warehouse pick rates by up to 50%, reducing the need for extra seasonal staff and offering the ability to build instantly available reserve capacity.

Warehouse automation is one of the many areas of innovation in this industry you can read about in the 2019 Warehouse & Logistics News Annual, being mailed with this issue. Now in its eighth edition the Annual is the ultimate reference source for everyone involved in purchasing warehouse equipment, technology and logistics services. The Annual showcases leading suppliers in each category along with reports and commentaries from industry experts, including the UK trade associations.

Meanwhile in our last issue of 2018 we also bring you the latest stories from the industry and features on Forklift Trucks, Pallets and Storage Solutions, all designed to assist in working better and planning ahead. In Forklift Trucks, I.D. Systems’ PowerFleet portfolio offers options to help manage machines and operators more effectively, from the PowerFleet Control Center app for monitoring one or two trucks to the PowerFleet Enterprise management system for full-scale MHE fleets.

Planning ahead is certainly paying off for soft drinks manufacturer AG Barr. Our Pallet Focus section reports them enjoying substantial environmental savings by using CHEP’s pooled pallets instead of white wood ones. Eighteen months into their contract, AG Barr have cleaned up CO2 emissions by 57%, chopped use of wood resources by 70% and trimmed waste going to landfill by 78%.

In our third feature, Storage Solutions, we have the cautionary tale of a household-name retailer who agreed with their 3PL partner that simulation would be useful to have when they were planning the new warehouse, but neither side was prepared to pay. The story doesn’t end well for either side: it’s a lesson for all of us.

And finally, let’s hope that in 2019 European leaders (including our own) can work together in harmony towards achieving a satisfactory outcome of the present negotiations.

I visited Paris to watch the Ryder Cup this Autumn and witnessed first-hand how Europeans can work together to form a winning partnership against the odds. Politicians take note!!

Enjoy the festive season and we’ll be back in January with our next issue. Merry Christmas!

JAMES SURRIDGE
Publishing Editor
james@warehousenews.co.uk