Welcome to the latest issue of Warehouse and Logistics News. Finally, the end of lockdown seems to be in sight. High streets and shopping centres are already open, with pubs soon to follow. Warehouses have had mixed fortunes over the last three months, with some providing essential supply chain services and therefore seeing a brisk trade. Others that supply non-essential retailers have been on hold for the last quarter. It’s quite a contrast from a year ago, when warehouses were full due to the stockpiling that resulted from companies bolstering their supply chains as the UK prepared to leave the EU. The early days of the Covid-19 crisis saw panic buying which also boosted the supply chain. Now as a new normal begins to emerge post-Covid, if it’s not too early to say we are moving beyond the coronavirus, we will see what that means for the logistics sector.
The Covid-19 crisis has hugely impacted consumer behaviour, our storage solutions feature reports. As some food and restaurant brands have delivered direct to consumers, the e-commerce sector has experienced massive growth. Warehousing and logistics have therefore become more important than ever. Digital technology is a key tool for helping the supply chain rise to unforeseen challenges, satisfy increased demand and remain competitive.
A warehouse will always need people no matter how automated it becomes, our doors and curtains feature reminds us. Warehouse owners have a responsibility to keep their staff safe and free from injury, which will help make the warehouse successful and productive. High speed shutters are now required, given that warehouses need strict temperature and humidity control.
Social distancing is impacting on warehouse productivity, according to our order picking feature. E-commerce has significantly grown during the pandemic, with consumers considering it a safer way to shop. If online grocery sales maintain their current level of 10%, distributors will have to invest in more automated systems in their fulfilment centres.
Our cover story reports on how returnable packaging solutions manufacturer Loadhog Limited is currently working on developing its 17-year-old Pallet Lid system by integrating automation technology. This will significantly reduce waste, labour and time spent securing the load to a pallet for several retail and e-commerce giants. Last year Loadhog estimated that three million pallets of stretch wrap were eliminated by customers utilising the Pallet Lid. Based on a recent business case this is equivalent to 108 million metres of stretch wrap, almost enough to wrap around the earth three times.
Enjoy reading the issue. Let’s hope we can all look forward to a prosperous post-Covid future.