Welcome to the Warehouse & Logistics News Annual 2021, our yearly profile of the top companies and associations in the industry. We would like to thank all the supporters of The Annual and in particular our Headline Sponsor, Toyota Material Handling.
The tenth edition of The Annual features comprehensive studies of the firms which are driving change in the industry. We have interviewed the movers and shakers from across the warehouse and logistics sector, with the trade associations also reporting on what has happened in 2020 and looking ahead to 2021.
This year has of course been dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, one consequence of which has been the growth of e-commerce. Statistics show that demand for e-commerce has grown exponentially with online sales in April up by more than 50% compared to last year. This has driven significant demand for new and additional warehousing. There is a bewildering choice out there and safety and efficiency don’t necessarily come at an added price.
As e-commerce grows, more retailers have invested in automation to increase efficiency, reduce costs and enhance customer service. The rise of automation has also been driven by the labour shortage in the logistics sector, due to the perceived unattractiveness of warehouse work, an ageing workforce, labour migration resulting from Brexit and the effects of Covid-19, such as required self-isolation.
From the outset of the pandemic, the HSE made it clear that training remained an essential requirement, in order for employers to meet their obligations and duty of care by ensuring that operators are appropriately trained. The pandemic proved that there is rarely, if ever, a valid reason to forgo training, and reinforced HSE guidelines that under no circumstances should employers allow untrained operators to use materials handling equipment. It also demonstrated that, by taking all necessary precautions, it is possible to train candidates effectively and efficiently, while minimising risk.
Despite the chaos and uncertainty, freight forwarders have continued to deliver and sought methods to overcome the growing number of obstacles they face, with an unrelenting and unwavering focus on serving their clients. Disruption is occurring faster than ever before in transportation and logistics. The world is moving from physical to digital, wasteful to sustainable, delayed to instantaneous, and from manual to automated. Whatever happens, count on Warehouse & Logistics News to keep you informed, publishing the industry’s only fortnightly title with all the latest news and industry developments.