Welcome to the July 15th issue of Warehouse & Logistics News. As we emerge from lockdown, it has been a pleasant surprise to see the robustness of the marketplace. This is a testament to the UK’s keep calm and carry on attitude and the desire of these businesses to learn from their mistakes. Congratulations to the firms that battened down the hatches and supported their suppliers. We look forward to watching British business grow for the rest of 2020.
As Peter Ward, CEO of the UKWA points out in his column, the concern now is how to rebuild the UK’s economy. While £5bn allocated to build homes and infrastructure is welcome, besides shops, doctor’s surgeries and schools, new housing developments also need warehousing and distribution centres to support the population. A key impact of the lockdown has been a huge surge in online shopping – particularly for groceries. Indeed, recent research by IMRG found that ecommerce sales rose by 41.3% year-on-year in the very week that shops reopened – and by 71% at multichannel retailers alone. A new generation of traditional high street shoppers have joined the ranks of those placing weekly orders using online, the retailers will have to adapt accordingly.
Our packaging feature reports how pickers have often been on the front line during the pandemic. One example is Southgate Packaging, which has already packaged and despatched over 5 million test kit bags for testing NHS staff for Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic and continues to issue approximately 100,000 tests a week.
Well done to the pallet sector for the sterling work provided during the pandemic. All concerned have been supremely busy keeping Britain supplied with the essential items. The pallet sector has to be far more concerned with environmental issues than it used to be, our pallet feature points out. With the considerable pressure to re-use pallets, it often pays to use a pallet pooling firm. Although plastics have a bad reputation among environmentalists, the reality is plastics are actually better than wood at cutting fuel emissions.
A consequence of the current climate is that firms may have been given the opportunity to evaluate their approach to logistics, says our Warehouse IT feature. The increase in e-commerce, changes to buying behaviour, longer waiting times at destinations and borders and increased demand for transport assets have all raised problems that did not exist before. Under the current market conditions, technology can help minimise problems and increase the delivery speed to customers.
Rico Logistics, the high quality industrial and parts fulfilment group, has maximized the storage capacity of its new warehouse facility on the outskirts of Birmingham by reconfiguring the internal lay-out of the site around a high-bay narrow aisle racking system served by a fleet of Flexi articulated lift trucks with a 14 metre lift height supplied by Narrow Aisle Ltd, says our cover story.
Enjoy reading the issue. We hope you are as encouraged as we are by the industry’s positive attitude.