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Welcome to the latest issue of Warehouse & Logistics News. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the growth of eCommerce, put another nail in the coffin of the bricks and mortar retail, and given rocket fuel to industries that may otherwise have floundered in the online world, says Paul Dodd, Co-Founder and CTO of Huboo. Ultimately, if people continue to stay home once the lockdown restrictions are lifted – and there is a significant amount of evidence to suggest that this may be the reality – then our industry needs to raise its game. Customers have been tolerant of lengthy lead times, shipment delays and customer service challenges due to the exceptional circumstances we’ve all had to live through. This is unlikely to remain the case once the crisis subsides. We need to strengthen the resilience of supply chains across the industry and place greater emphasis on keeping team members safe and healthy.

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In his column, Peter Ward of UKWA writes that a recent survey confirmed the vast majority of warehouses do not make their money on storage – certainly not on storage alone. Over 70% of respondents said that storage charges represented 40% or less of their income. In a modern warehouse, money is made from moving and managing stock, so when outbound flows cease or slow whilst inbound flows continue, warehouses become full and cannot function other than as storage hubs, yielding only 40% of normal income (and in some cases much less). In appealing to the government for support in terms of a six-month Business Rates holiday, UKWA is exercising its primary duty of care to members and the wider logistics industry through these unprecedented and challenging times.

Our warehouse supplement points out that the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown sent the logistics sector into overdrive as demand for food, medical supplies and other essentials escalated rapidly, with many supply operations initially struggling to meet demand. Once the pandemic is over and a proper study of the logistics sector’s response is undertaken, it will be interesting to analyse the statistics to see if accident rates increased as a result of the extra demands placed on the industry. The pandemic has heightened the sense of safety awareness, not just in the logistics industry but across society in general, with Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) hitting the headlines.

The Covid-19 outbreak has only added to the ever increasing appetite for online shopping, both in terms of the sheer volume of traffic and the demand for different sized packages. This has made the role of sortation conveyors absolutely crucial. The breadth of choice of conveyors may appear bewildering at first and it can be a challenge to know which one to pick, says our conveying and sortation feature.

Our cover story focuses on Thai digital infrastructure company, TRUE Corporation. Swisslog was the first company to recommend a viable automation solution to TRUE. With more than 160 projects implemented worldwide, Swisslog is the AutoStore expert. AutoStore is a unique and simple solution that uses robots and bins to quickly process small parts orders. It provides better use of available space than any other automated system, thanks to its unique design that enables direct stacking of bins on top of each other and storage of multiple SKUs in a single bin.

Enjoy reading the issue, and stay safe.

James Surridge

Publishing Editor

Espex

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