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Stuart O'Brien

BIFA launches freight forwarding apprenticeship drive

The British International Freight Association (BIFA) has launched a website to help both employers and recruits to better understand apprenticeship opportunities in the freight forwarding industry.

The development follows last year’s introduction of the International Freight Forwarding Specialist apprenticeship, which aims to provide more opportunities for young people in the industry.

The microsite includes case studies containing tips all from the experiences of BIFA members and their apprentices. There are also range of materials for employers including information about funding and hiring.

Advice for apprentices includes highlighting a myriad of career pathways as well as information about the International Freight Forwarding Specialist Apprenticeship scheme. It aims to help those seeking apprenticeships in freight forwarding and be a resource to find opportunities.

Carl Hobbis, BIFA’s Training Development Manager, said: “Having been actively involved in the creation of the apprenticeship, BIFA has committed to promote the availability of the new apprenticeship and encourage employers and potential entrants to consider this apprenticeship as a route into the industry.”

“After meeting with various employers, BIFA wanted to provide a support system that means its members have the accessible resources to enable them to confidently reach out and engage with local communities. The website aims to be a basis of materials to support them in doing so.”

“One of the big attractions of choosing a career in freight forwarding is the different pathways that your career could take you. On the microsite, visitors can read a range of case studies from established BIFA members which demonstrate some of those fascinating career paths. They can also see top tips from existing apprentices as to why an apprenticeship should be considered.”

The initiative follows BIFA’s recent addition of an apprentice category into the trade association’s annual Freight Service Awards competition, which was created to encourage and reward high standards and professionalism and represent the ultimate recognition of special achievement.

Robert Keen, BIFA’s Director General, said: “In 2018, freight apprenticeships came to the fore, and there has already been significant interest from both employers and candidates.

“If you need guidance to cut through all of the red-tape, the website provides a range of assets that can be used for attending careers or local community days, clarity on funding benefits and practical tips that can create a better chance of hiring the best talent.”

The Hut Group readies £31m Manchester logistics site

A new £31m development housing The Hut Group’s new 168,000 sq ft warehouse and 104,000 sq ft office space next to Manchester Airport has been approved.

The project will be delivered by Icon Industrial at its 45-acre warehouse and logistics site at the airport, including a new 280,000 sq ft office building at Airport City North.

The venture between Stoford Developments and TPG Real Estate is expected to appoint a main contractor by the end of February.

Matthew Moulding, founder and CEO of The Hut Group, said: “This is an exciting time for THG. Following THG’s acquisition and integration in 2017 of Hangar 7, the UK’s leading content studio, ICON is our next step in expanding the Group’s content production and logistics capabilities dramatically.”

Dan Gallagher, joint managing director of Stoford Developments, said: “We are delighted that THG has chosen ICON as the site for its new logistics and global content creation studio, it is fantastic news for Icon Manchester Airport and for the wider north west region.

“It is the fourth exciting development planned at the site, such has been the demand from potential occupiers keen to relocate to Icon Manchester Airport.

“The remaining land presents potential occupiers with an excellent opportunity to have a unit built to their specific requirements and continues the fulfillment of the Airport City masterplan, expanding and enhancing the logistical facilities on site.”

Supply chain businesses join forces to support the Northampton Hope Centre’s Big Sleep Out

PALLITE and Kingsley Consulting joined forces for a second year to support the Northampton Hope Centre’s Big Sleep Out on Friday 1st February.

The Northampton Hope Centre’s Big Sleep Out is designed to help raise awareness and understanding of the realities of living on the streets, whilst raising thousands for the charity, which supports homelessness and disadvantaged people.

This year, with more than double the number of participants compared to last year, the charity is hoping to raise over £70,000 from the event based in Abington Park.

“It became a very humbling and emotional experience for us all,” said Cliff Masey, Commercial and Sales Director at industry recruitment specialist Kingsley. “Having the companionship of everyone around you for the evening obviously helped us get through the night but the realisation in the morning hit home as we remembered that even though we were cold and tired, we have the ability to go and have a hot shower, go to the toilet, to a warm bed and a roof over our heads, which is not the case for the individuals who we are trying to help.”

PALLITE Managing Director, Patrick Mulhall, added: “Homelessness is an increasing issue that can affect people from all walks of life and the opportunity to bring awareness of the plight of individuals and to the efforts of a group of people that are attempting to tackle it within our local community is something that we are pleased to be affiliated with.”

If you tick these boxes, you need to be at the Total Supply Chain Summit

Are you a senior professional working in Supply Chain, Logistics, Distribution or Operations?

Do you have any upcoming projects?

Are you looking to reduce your expenditure?

Would you like to learn about new innovations and trends in the sector?

If you’ve answered ‘Yes’ to any of these questions, we’d like to invite you to the Total Supply Chain Summit as our VIP guest.

It takes place on May 20th & 21st at Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire.

Meet new suppliers, attend insightful seminar sessions and network with other senior care professionals.

Plus, your free pass includes overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments and an invitation to our gala dinner.

Simply register your place here.

Alternatively, contact Jamie Higgs on 01992 374058 / to find out more.

Or, if you’re a supplier to the sector and would like to use the event to showcase your solutions, contact Nick Stannard on 01992 374092 /

Investors pile sustainability pressure on fast food supply chains

Global investors representing more than $6.5 trillion have called on six of the largest companies in the $570 billion global fast-food sector to act urgently on the climate and water risks in their supply chains.

The investors have sent letters to Domino’s Pizza, McDonald’s, Restaurant Brands International (owners of Burger King), Chipotle Mexican Grill, Wendy’s Co. and Yum! Brands (owners of KFC and Pizza Hut).

The letters, facilitated by the sustainability organisation Ceres and the FAIRR Initiative, ask companies to explain by March 2019 how they plan to enact meaningful policies and targets to de-risk their meat and dairy supply chains.

More than 80 investors have joined the letter, including BMO Global Asset Management (Canada), Aviva Investors (UK) and Aegon Asset Management (Netherlands).

The engagement is also supported by members of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) who have convened long-standing engagements with these companies on a host of environmental and social concerns – including deforestation and the water impacts of animal agriculture.

The letters call on the fast food companies to:

  • Adopt a supplier policy with clear requirements for suppliers of animal protein products to report and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and freshwater impacts.
  • Publish quantitative, time-bound targets to reduce the GHG emissions and freshwater impacts of their own meat and dairy supply chains.
  • Commit to publicly disclose progress on these targets annually.
  • Undertake a climate scenario analysis in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

Meanwhile, a new investor briefing from FAIRR highlights the environmental impact of the meat and dairy producers that supply the fast food sector. Agricultural emissions, including those from meat and dairy, are on track to contribute  around 70% of total allowable GHG emissions by 2050. This will create an 11-gigaton GHG mitigation gap between projected emissions and the target level required to keep global warming under a 2°C threshold. The livestock sector is also estimated to use approximately 10% of annual global water flows.

Jeremy Coller, Founder of FAIRR and Chief Investment Officer of Coller Capital said: “Every day around 84 million adults consume fast food in the US alone, but the inconvenient truth of convenience food is that the environmental impacts of the sector’s meat and dairy products have hit unsustainable levels. To put this in perspective, if cows were a country, it would be the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

“Other high-emitting industries, such as cars or oil and gas, are beginning to set clear yet ambitious climate targets, making animal agriculture one of the world’s highest-emitting sectors without a low-carbon plan. A failure to tackle these major environmental problems in corporate supply chains puts the long-term financial sustainability of these household names under threat. Investors are calling for more strategic and innovative thinking to manage these risks.”

Mindy Lubber, president and CEO of Ceres, added: “Fast-food giants deliver speedy meals, but they have been super slow in responding to their out-sized environmental footprints. Investors are eager to see more leadership from these companies to reduce the mounting climate and water risks linked to their meat and dairy suppliers. From eliminating deforestation to reducing water waste, cleaning up their supply chains will have enormous impacts on the animal agriculture sector as a whole, and dramatically increase our ability to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming.”

University of London unveils supply chain management degree

A brand new degree from the University of London, delivered in partnership with City – University of London’s Cass Business School – aims to give students a 360 degree perspective and learn about the managerial and analytical tools to manage global supply chains.

The MSc in Supply Chain Management and Global Logistics will also help students learn how to successfully lead supply chains of the future by creating cultural of innovation and adopting latest technologies in all sectors of their organisation.

Co-Programme Director Dr Byung-Gak Son stressed the importance of an effectively managed supply chain, which contributes immensely to the success of global companies like Amazon, Unilever, Nike and The Coca Cola Company.

“Given the enormous challenges of increasingly global and fragmented supply chains, we professionals require a sound understanding of emerging opportunities and risks and the knowledge and tools to handle them,” said Son.

“Our degree was developed as a result of rigorous research that we carried out to identify the skills needed by large organisations to successfully manage their supply chains. As a result, we aim to combine a comprehensive understanding of the subject and related disciplines with in-depth knowledge in relevant specialised areas such as innovation and technology management, supply chain finance or analytics.”

Sam Brenton, Director of Educational Innovation and Development, University of London, said: “We know that today’s professional learners value flexibility and choice. With our unique model, students on the MSc can study entirely online, or with local tuition from our global network of teaching centres.

“Academic direction is provided by the renowned Cass Business School, part of City, University of London and one of the world’s leading business schools. We look forward to welcoming our first cohort of students in April, as they study for a prestigious University of London degree anywhere in the world – at work, from home or on the move.”

Applications are now open, and close on Monday 4 March 2019.

To find out more about the MSc in Supply Chain Management and Global Logistics, visit:

Retailers warn over ‘no deal’ Brexit food supply chain risks

Sainsbury’s, Asda, Waitrose and M&S are among UK retailers to have warned about the devastating impact a so-called ‘no deal’ Brexit will have on food security and supply in the UK.

In an open letter to MPs, send by the British Retail Consortium trade body, the CEOs of the country’s biggest food retailers called on the government to do everything it can to prevent the cliff-edge scenario from occurring.

The letter, which was also signed by eateries KFC, McDonald’s and Pret A Manger, said that food stocks will experience shortages and that sufficient storage at ports and in warehouses simply wasn’t available for stockpiling given the just in time methods employed on most food imports.

The letters reads: “Our supply chains are closely linked to Europe – nearly one third of the food we eat in the UK comes from the EU. In March the situation is more acute as UK produce is out of season: 90% of our lettuces, 80% of our tomatoes and 70% of our soft fruit is sourced from the EU at that time of year. As this produce is fresh and perishable, it needs to be moved quickly from farms to our stores.

“This complex, ‘just in time’ supply chain will be significantly disrupted in the event of no deal. Even if the UK government does not undertake checks on products at the border, there will still be major disruption at Calais as the French government has said it will enforce sanitary and customs checks on exports from the EU, which will lead to long delays; Government data suggest freight trade between Calais and Dover may reduce by 87% against current levels as a result. For consumers, this will reduce the availability and shelf life of many products in our stores.

“We are also extremely concerned about the impact of tariffs. Only around 10% of our food imports, a fraction of the products we sell, is currently subject to tariffs so if the UK were to revert to WTO Most Favoured Nation status, as currently envisaged in the no-deal scenario, it would greatly increase import costs, which could in turn put upward pressure on food prices. The UK could set import tariffs at zero but that would have a devastating impact on our own farmers, a key part of our supply chains.”

Do you specialise in Supply Chain Distribution systems? We want to hear from you!

Each month on Supply Chain Briefing we’ll be shining the spotlight on a different part of the logistics and distribution market – and in February we’ll be focussing on Distribution systems.

It’s all part of our ‘Recommended’ editorial feature, designed to help supply chain industry buyers find the best products and services available today.

So, if you’re a supplier of Distribution systems and would like to be included as part of this exciting new shop window, we’d love to hear from you – for more info, contact Nick Stannard on

Here are the areas we’ll be covering, month by month:

Feb – Distribution
Mar – Forecasting
Apr – Warehouse Management Software
May – Total End-to-End Solutions
Jun – Cost Reductions
Jul – Supply Chain Software
Aug – Logistics & Operations Management
Sep – Labelling & Packaging
Oct – 3PL & 4PL
Nov – Order Fulfilment
Dec – Transport Planning & Load Optimisation

For more information on any of the above, contact Nick Stannard on

Plan beyond Brexit at the Total Supply Chain Summit…

We know that Brexit in any form is top-of-mind for any supply chain professional right now. But we’d like you to think beyond March 29th for one moment – and join us at the Total Supply Chain Summit.

20 & 21 May 2019 – Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire

This two-day event will give you the opportunity to meet with new suppliers and solution providers based on your own unique requirements.

Our series of seminars throughout the event will also provide insight and take-home tips from industry thought-leaders.

And you will have plenty of opportunity to network with like-minded supply chain, logistics and distribution professionals who share your challenges and concerns.

Your FREE VIP ticket also includes overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments, plus an invitation to our gala dinner with entertainment.

Register now to avoid disappointment.

Alternatively, contact Jamie Higgs on 01992 374058 / to find out more.

Or, if you’re a supplier to the sector and would like to use the event to showcase your solutions, contact Nick Stannard on 01992 374092 /

JDA and Panasonic collaborate on digital supply chain solutions

JDA Software and Panasonic have partnered to develop digital solutions within the manufacturing, logistics, and retail industries.

The firms say they will be working together to incorporate SaaS, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), real-time sensing technologies and advanced analytics.

The joint solutions will focus on optimising production plans, supply and demand prediction, lead times and store inventory management.

New solutions include:

  • JDA Luminate integration with Panasonic Visual Sort Assist: This solution improves efficiency in package sorting for warehouses, leveraging scanning technology and image projection to accelerate the parcel sortation process on a conveyor belt, while linking with the main system to provide real-time data and insights.
  • JDA Luminate Store Optimizer integration with Panasonic out-of-stock detection: Out-of-stock information is sent in real-time from the retail store to factories, warehouses and store personnel, allowing for more timely shelf replenishment, improvements in production and shipping plans.
  • JDA Luminate Control Tower integration with Panasonic flowline analytics: Includes detection and analysis of the behaviour of humans and machines enabling improvements in the allocation of workers, forklifts and other equipment at production sites and warehouses.
  • JDA Luminate Control Tower integration with Panasonic facial recognition: Enhances security and enables real-time optimisation of workers by staff ID/location, as well as shopper behavior and demographic analytics for merchandising and marketing.

Girish Rishi, CEO at JDA, said: “The autonomous supply chain transformation is just beginning and it will be built on correlating edge technologies with enterprise supply chain software. The JDA partnership with Panasonic to co-innovate and deliver solutions to our customers is a major step in that direction. Not only will this strengthen JDA’s presence and footprint in Japan, it will also put these new technologies in the forefront of customers’ minds in JDA’s Customer Experience Centers in Scottsdale and London as well as Panasonic’s Connected Solutions Company headquarters in Tokyo, giving customers a tangible look at the autonomy they can drive in their future factories, warehouses, and stores.”

Yasu Higuchi, CEO of Panasonic’s B2B business, Connected Solutions Company, said: “As part of our solutions business strategy, Panasonic is using the know-how we have cultivated in the manufacturing industry and our own core technologies to become a total solutions integrator for customers in the logistics and retail fields. However, knowledge and hardware alone cannot completely solve all our customers’ needs. Through this collaboration with supply chain industry leader JDA, I am confident that we will create synergies with JDA’s AI/ML-based Luminate software solutions to comprehensively solve the problems facing our customers.”