Welcome. A year ago one would not have thought that logistics would be put to such unprecedented stress in peacetime but if any message comes through it is that Britain is showing its supply chain resilience. The greatest challenge now is posed by the Corona virus that is only now beginning to show all its teeth. Under the heading, “Stop panic buying, it isn’t sustainable,” a comment piece from Supply Chain Consulting Group (SCCG) quoting Andrew Opie, director of the British Retail Consortium of Food and Sustainability, has confirmed that “supply chains remain robust and even where there are challenges retailers are well versed in providing measures to keep shops running smoothly.” Their resilience and expertise, however, is not helped by a sensationalised media coverage which is designed to provoke a reaction, says RCCG. Although irrational, the public’s reaction is based on fear of the unknown, despite all the evidence and advice from the authorities and Government. For an update on the Corona virus see our pages 10-11.

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A far lesser challenge is revealed in an opinion piece from Gotelee Solicitors which deals with the implications of the Government’s introduction of a points-based system for immigrant applications. It will limit the number of low-skilled workers moving to the UK, and industries such as transport, food processing and warehousing will be left dealing with a shortage of vital workers, where there is already a shortage of HGV drivers and forklift truck and van drivers, and it is unlikely to be helped much by raising wages in these margin-thin industries, or by automation implies Gotelee.

Despite the challenging times it does not stop food giants like Nestle expressing its confidence in Britain’s warehouse automation prospects. In our front cover story you can read about the partnership between XPO, Nestle and Swisslog Logistics Automation to deliver a $77m ‘distribution centre of the future’. The technology inside it is set to revolutionise how goods are distributed, not just for the present but for the next quarter century. Its digital eco system creates prediction data and intelligent machines to deliver one of the most advanced distribution centres in the world.

Another optimistic view comes from Hormann UK, a leading loading bay equipment supplier who have had a very busy 2019, achieving a turnover rise of 15% and a 30% growth in service contracts during the first half of 2019 compared with 2018. Why not find out more on what they plan for their servicing side?

In our feature sections dealing with lighting, storage and forklifts, sustainability is a growing issue for forklifts, and motive power choice will play a major role in that. Ideas for making the best of your existing storage space, rather than choose the costly options of building knew and roof-raising, can be explored under “Taming the space dragon.” Finally, check out the latest developments in our lighting feature and what to look for to avoid the snares.

James Surridge
Publishing Editor

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