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Welcome to the September 1st issue of Warehouse & Logistics News. One hopes we are through the worst of Covid-19 now but as a result of the lockdown, Britain has officially entered a recession. The advice to all business owners is not to panic and make short-term savings but to look forward and spend their way out of the recession.

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One company which is investing is Fenix Outdoor Logistics, featured in our cover story. Aiming to achieve a “best in class” logistics operation, Fenix has built a new distribution centre in Ludwigslust, Germany. At the centre of the new system, one will find the SSI Carrier — a highly dynamic pouch sorter for hanging and flat goods. The automated system reduces handling and provides quick delivery of items at packing stations in the desired sequence.

Another consequence of the lockdown is the huge increase in online shopping and home delivery, with reliability rather than speed being key, as UWKA CEO Peter Ward points out in his column. As retailers and manufacturers look to streamline their fulfilment capabilities, 3PLs will be able to meet expectations through effective use of IoT (Internet of Things), which extracts data at every point in the supply chain, not only improving visibility and operational efficiency, but enhancing revenue opportunities and supporting better informed decision-making too. To support members on this digital journey, UKWA is collaborating with Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing on a project looking at how to create an IoT and WMS integrated platform, where real-time data from the IoT will be combined with static operational data to illustrate the efficiencies and increased productivity that could be gained as a result.

Facilities managers have a huge role to play in making sure buildings are ready to be occupied again post-lockdown, while keeping workers socially distanced according to Government guidelines, says our Buildings & Facilities feature. With many businesses still unsure of their long-term plan for bringing staff back in to work – or how many people they are able to accommodate under social distancing measures, a temporary solution could provide the answer.

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, production companies could find customer demand increases to compensate for the Covid-19 business shortfall, our loading bay feature points out. Equally, logistics enterprises playing ‘catch up’ in terms of dispatch and delivery might find an upscale in orders necessitates more enabling changes to be made in the loading environment.

The UK’s eight major pallet networks, comprising over 700 logistics businesses, acted admirably during the Covid-19 outbreak by putting their combined fleet of 23,500 vehicles at the government’s disposal, our pallet networks feature reports.

Enjoy reading the issue.

James Surridge

Publishing Editor

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