Stuart O'Brien, Author at Total Supply Chain Summit | Forum Events Ltd

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Stuart O'Brien

UK firms to ‘expand into overseas markets’ in post-Brexit landscape

Three in four UK businesses (78%) are putting plans in place to adapt for growth post-Brexit, with 18% of firms planning to expand into new overseas markets and one in seven putting plans in place to move their headquarters to an EU destination.

That’s according to new research commissioned by ThoughtWorks which surveyed 1,026 businesses and discovered that there were almost as many businesses planning to expand abroad (18%) as there were enterprises focusing more on the domestic market (23%).

The difference came down to technology – Businesses making the most of their tech assets were those most likely to be looking at overseas expansion (23%). Businesses that were improving their use of technology, but were some way behind the market leaders, were most likely to focus on attempting to grow their market in the UK (25%).

ThoughtWorks found that the attitudes of business leaders towards securing growth after Brexit varied city-by-city around the UK. It says that while the Brexit political debate has largely been associated with London and Edinburgh, from a business perspective the research suggests it impacts various cities quite differently:-

  • London businesses were the most likely to seek business partnerships in EU countries (27%) and to digitise their back office and legacy systems in order to become more efficient (21%). Businesses in the capital were also most likely to employ more staff that spoke foreign languages (20%).
  • Birmingham businesses were most likely to invest in digital transformation programmes (21%) as part of a plan to secure growth after the UK leaves the EU.
  • Leeds business decision makers were most likely to be looking at reducing their cost base and staff numbers (26%).
  • Glasgow was the city where businesses were most likely to say they would invest more resources into AI and machine learning (18%).
  • Liverpool businesses were most likely to prioritise the diversification of their business across more product lines and channels (30%).
  • In Manchester and Newcastle, business leaders were most likely to say they would focus on growing the domestic market (30% and 34% respectively). Further, Newcastle businesses were most likely to plan a move into new overseas markets (34%) and seek new partnerships in EU European countries (29%).
  • Bristol was the city where businesses were most likely to consider moving their head office to an EU country (20%).

Luke Vinogradov, Digital Transformation Principal at ThoughtWorks, said: “For years, people have speculated about the impact of Brexit. Since Friday of last week the speculation has ended as Britain sets out on a new journey. For the business community there will be uncertainty and those that turn it to their advantage will be the agile enterprises that anticipate change and adapt quickly. Our research suggests technology will be key. Those enterprises that fully use technology to achieve competitive advantage are already making plans to expand, to innovate and to grow.

“New ways of working can align your whole business around customer value; data can help you to build engagement and advantage; platform thinking and a test-and-learn approach will maximise the impact of your investments; and a delivery mindset will help you cut through the complexity and get things done. All of these digital capabilities can help businesses to modernise, change and grow – and get in shape to seize the opportunities that the post-Brexit era may present.”

CASE STUDY: ARaymond uses QAD DynaSys Demand to redefine supply chain processes

On the ARaymond website it is clearly stated: “Five generations of entrepreneurs focused on the future,” encapsulating 150 years of history by this fastening and assembly solution specialist. Since the invention of the snap fastener in 1865 through to its current areas of expertise in fastening by clipping, fluid connecting solutions and bonding assembly solutions, this family venture is constantly innovating their products. 

ARaymond, headquartered in France, is one of the leaders in the automotive market and has gradually transferred its expertise and skills to new markets, such as industrial (household appliances, lighting, electronics etc.), energy, agriculture and life science. The company is located on four continents with 26 production facilities employing 6,800 people that manufacture approximately 25,000 items, and include 1,600 active patents that were designed in their 11 design departments. 

ARaymond’s supply chain is decentralized as each country has its own organization but all share one information system, SAP. Therefore, ARaymond saw a need to launch a demand management project aimed at improving sales forecasts and production planning in hopes of bolstering their reliability to anticipate and strengthen decision-making, and assist production throughout the group entities. 


“Prior to selecting any market solution, we wanted to define and structure our processes. It’s an essential step because technology has to adjust to our processes and not the other way around” says Odile Daragon, ARaymond Project Manager. 

Each group entity manages its supply chain independently, and each of them has set up a sales and operations planning (S&OP) process addressing its requirements in terms of market, products, customer demand, production capacity, etc. An initial investigation revealed a weak link in the digital chain for production capacity management caused by a lack of visibility. This weak link made it impossible to anticipate investments in machinery or molds requiring up to 18 months from design to customer acceptance. A better analysis of customer requirements and sales forecasts over two years would enable ARaymond to anticipate these needs, be more predictive and less responsive regarding investments.

Organizational changes are also on the move; ARaymond has created the forecaster position among their entities. Their S&OP processes have become strategic and collaborative as the supply chain, operations, sales and finance teams now attend monthly meetings. Forecasts will no longer only be considered customer demand, but will be based on in-house consolidation, and production will run more smoothly thanks to robust planning. While this conversion is underway, ARaymond needed to find a demand and supply chain planning (DSCP) solution to support and accompany this transformation.


Following a market survey, conducted by a project group including representatives throughout the company, QAD DynaSys Demand planning and production planning solutions were selected. 

“The process of conducting a market survey is a good way of taking into consideration from the very start what everybody wants. Even if we share some of the same needs because we work in the same fields in France, Germany or in the United States, India and China etc., it helps to ensure we are in agreement”. Adds Daragon 

Why did ARaymond choose QAD DynaSys? 

  • Ergonomics
  • Ease of use
  • Flexibility and technological robustness of the software
  • Scalability
  • Guaranteed sustainability
  • Seamless integration into SAP combined with the global presence of the editor, and especially, the professional expertise of the QAD DynaSys teams


Organizational and functional considerations merge enabling ARaymond to make the most of its supply chain while the deployment of DSCP solutions takes place country by country. After a pilot project in France and Germany, DSCP was implemented in China, the USA, India and Turkey or the Czech Republic. Eventually, it will be used in Spain, Italy, and the rest of the world.

Daragon specifies, “We are beginning to have a consistent and agile forecasting and planning system, even if it is not yet centralized. We are improving our collaborative method and in this way, optimizing our global S&OP approach. We have already made significant gains, in particular in the reliability of our forecasts. As it now stands, our forecast plan is built using Demand Planning and is 80% reliable instead of the 50% we obtained when we allowed customer to provide forecasts. In addition, this information is transparent to all the departments attending our monthly meetings, helping us align and improve our decision-making processes.“Another benefit is the reduction in the number of expedited shipments. ARaymond has a 98% customer service level. This fits in perfectly with the group values; respect for commitments and people, but at what cost? In some cases, to meet deadlines, the company was obliged to use taxi, or even air shipment. “Just-in-time” has become easier without the need for expensive last-minute solutions resulting in substantial cost cuts. Finally, production planning is more refined and reliable, helping team members to plan time out of the office with total peace of mind. 


Flow management has become one of ARaymond’s priorities. Having demand-driven, not production-driven, flows is the basis of any demand driven material requirement planning (DDMRP) approach. 

Araymond team members are now able to employ three decision-making layers: Demand Planning, Production Planning and the DDMRP solution, which is in the pilot stage in France. These processes complete and strengthen one another by adjusting and adapting to each entity, allowing for a fast consolidation of results. 

The DDMRP solution is ready for deployment at the various production sites depending on their requirements. Daragon notes, “We are still in the test phase, but there is no doubt that having a reliable and realistic vision of quantities to be put into production represents a key asset, especially when considering our varied and complex product portfolio with heterogeneous manufacturing lead times.“ 

The initial building blocks of the demand management project are in place and ARaymond looks forward to further enhancements to the solution. QAD DynaSys’ end-to-end solutions have become accepted standards within the various entities of the ARaymond group.      

These fleet professionals need your help!

This summer’s Fleet Summit will have around 60 senior fleet management professionals who are attending the event to source new suppliers and new solutions.

This unique event takes place on June 8th & 9th at Heythrop Park Resort, Oxfordshire where you will have the opportunity to connect with them for a series of pre-arranged, 1-2-1 meetings.

Our fleet buyers come from all areas of industry – and from both the private and public sectors. But their common goal is to create new business relationships with suppliers like yours.

Their reasons for attending and sourcing new suppliers include:

  • Driver training
  • Electric charging infrastructure
  • Fleet management software
  • Fuel card tender
  • Hybrids
  • Leasing tender
  • Low emission
  • Moving fleet to minimum Euro V1 diesel or electric
  • Replacement of ambulances and fast response cars
  • Road safety
  • Vehicle replacement programme
  • Vehicle tender

If you can help with any of these projects, contact us today!

Discover the latest innovations in supply chain, distribution and logistics

We’d like to invite you to the Total Supply Chain Summit on May 18th & 19th 2020 at Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire.

Meet with new suppliers, attend insightful seminar sessions and network with fellow senior supply chain, distribution and logistics professionals.

Plus, your complimentary guest pass includes overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments and an invitation to our networking dinner with entertainment.

Simply register your place here!

5 reasons you can’t miss the Fleet Summit

Register today for the Fleet Summit – It’s FREE for you to attend and could help reduce your expenditure by matching you up with innovative suppliers who match your business requirements.

As one of our VIP guests, you’ll be joining just 60 other senior fleet managrment professionals who are attending the event to network, learn and forge new business relationships.

If that’s not incentive enough for you to register here are 5 more reasons…

  • As our guest, you will be provided with a bespoke itinerary of face-to-face meetings with suppliers based on mutual agreement. No hard sell, and no time wasted.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to attend insightful seminars and interactive workshops.
  • Network with 60 other senior professionals who share your challenges.
  • Enjoy complimentary overnight accommodation plus all meals and refreshments.
  • Attend our gala dinner with entertainment

You will be joining fleet professionals from the likes of:-

  • Aggreko UK 
  • Brandon Hire Station
  • Bristol Waste Company
  • Cadent Gas 
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Central Bedfordshire Council
  • DS Smith
  • Envirovent 
  • Forterra Building Products 
  • KTC Edibles
  • Manchester Airport Group
  • Morrisons 
  • Northern Gas Networks
  • PD Hook
  • Pickerings’s
  • Polypipe Civils & Green Urbanisation
  • Royal Mail Group
  • RSPB
  • Schindler Lifts
  • Scottish Water
  • SSE
  • Tivoli Group
  • Via EM 
  • Wolseley

Taking place on June 8th & 9th at Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire, the Fleet Summit provides a platform for new business connections.

Register today!

Do you specialise in Distribution services? 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 market – and in February we’ll be focussing on Distribution.

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 an Distribution specialist 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’s our features list in full:

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

Total Supply Chain Summit – Complimentary places going fast!

There’s a free guest pass reserved for you to attend the Total Supply Chain Summit in May – make sure you claim it before it’s too late!

18 & 19 May – Heythrop Park, Oxfordshire

This unique event is entirely FREE for you to attend – simply reserve your place here.

  • Source new innovative and budget-saving suppliers
  • Learn from inspirational seminar sessions hosted by industry thought-leaders
  • Network with like-minded FM professionals who share your challenges
  • Enjoy complimentary overnight accommodation, plus all meals and refreshments

RSVP now to avoid disappointment!

Transport & logistics staff more likely to be off work sick – Study

UK transport and logistics workers took nearly three times more sick leave than the average British worker last year, according to new research that identifies the countries most and least notorious for pulling a sickie. 

The research from time and workforce management solutions provider Mitrefinch, found that transport staff took 11.4 days where other workers in the UK took on average 4.4 days leave for sickness last year.

Switzerland topped the charts when it came to excellent attendance with its workers taking just 1.6 days sick leave on average over the course of a calendar year. Ukraine (4.1 days) and Malta (4.2 days) made up the rest of the top three.

While the stats for Swiss workers are impressive, it’s important to note that companies in the country are also notoriously generous when it comes to annual leave entitlement – the average worker took over five weeks holiday according to recent statistics – perhaps making the sick leave by UK transport workers more understandable. 

However, with recent figures also suggesting that more than two thirds of UK workers avoid taking sick days and still go into work when feeling unwell, it’s questionable as to why transport and logistics workers are taking 3 times more sick leave and whether their working day is contributing to the illness. 

Bulgarian employees were found most likely to call in sick, taking on average 22 days off per year according to the most recent figures available. Workers in Germany didn’t fare too much better taking 18.3 days, with those in the Czech Republic also taking off the equivalent of more than three working weeks with sickness (15.4 days).

The full results can be found below:

CountryAverage days sick leave per year
United Kingdom4.4
San Marino6.8
Czech Republic (Czechia)15.4

Commenting on the figures, Matthew Jenkins, CEO at Mitrefinch, said: “Workplace absences cost the UK economy a whopping £18 billion a year through lost productivity, with this figure expected to creep up to £21 billion in 2020 – so transport and logistics workers might think that skipping the odd Monday at the office to sleep off the weekend’s excesses is no big deal, but it all adds up. On top of the dip in productivity, employees who repeatedly call in sick put a strain on other members of staff who have to pick up their workload, which can impact workplace morale.

“However, that’s not to say taking a sick day should be seen as a weakness or a lack of commitment. Taking time out of a demanding role to recover from physical or mental health problems is integral to the productivity and growth of any successful business and the fact that more than two thirds of UK workers admit going to work when feeling sick is a serious cause for concern, particularly within this space where any human error can have drastic consequences.”

Lizzie Benton, culture consultant at Liberty Mind, adds: “In Britain we still live by outdated legacy attitudes in the workplace. Fear and control is what many organisations are run by, and for employees, asking for a day off sick is like showing a weakness, or admitting a failure. We all think we should ‘keep calm and carry on’.  

“It’s not just the act of taking a day off, but the repercussions this may have when an employee returns to work. Managers treating them coldly, or over-questioning their day off as if to assume they were faking it in some way.

“I think managers often behave this way because it is bred in the company culture. Attitudes and behaviours start at the top, and if you have a boss who comes in no matter how they’re feeling you create a culture where people feel they can’t take a sick day. Trust is also a key issue. There are many organisations who have trust issues with their employees and which have policies to control their people rather than help them thrive. Too many businesses still believe that people are just there for the pay cheque and will do anything to get the most out of the company. There is no empathy and a severe lack of emotional intelligence.”

For the full results of the research, visit

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: QAD DynaSys – Let’s build the future of your supply chain

In 1985, QAD DynaSys was founded in an old bakery by a former planner who saw a need for addressing the planning issues manufacturing companies were facing, thus, developing and launching one of the first computer-based supply chain planning software.  

QAD DynaSys began by supporting a few large food and beverage customers from their headquarters in Strasbourg, France. But as their customers went international, QAD DynaSys had to adapt quickly to keep up. Today, QAD DynaSys supports customers all over the world. 

Our passion is innovation. For three decades, QAD DynaSys has proved its experience and unique know-how in the areas of forecasting, planning and supply chain optimization.

You’ll often hear us say that at the heart of QAD DynaSys is a strong and loyal customer community. We really believe that to create the best full-featured demand & supply chain planning solution for our customers, we need to work together. We pride ourselves on our customer engagement and our commitment to continually evolving as our customer’s supply chains do; we have spent years innovating and growing our offerings to match our customer’s needs.

QAD DynaSys is a leading provider of integrated and collaborative cloud based end-to-end demand & supply chain planning (DSCP) solutions that enable businesses to optimize, analyze, simulate, understand and efficiently plan supply chain activities. Our software can cover all supply chain needs: 

  • Demand Planning
  • Inventory Optimization
  • Supply Planning
  • Manufacturing Planning
  • Financial Planning
  • Sales & Operations Planning (S&OP)
  • Integrated Business Planning (IBP)

Our mission is to empower global companies to realize supply chain excellence and agility through innovative technology and best-practice expertise whilst respecting our core values of trust and integrity.

Together, let’s build the future of your supply chain!

Establishing an ethical and sustainable supply chain

Insight from Mark Morley (pictured), Director, Strategic Product Marketing, OpenText

What factors are driving businesses to reconsider their supply chain and whether it is set up for ethical sourcing?

“Last year, supply chain research specialists APICS found that 83% of supply chain professionals thought ethics were extremely or very important for their organisation. When you consider the brand and reputational damage – not to mention the legal implications – of unethical labour, it’s not difficult to see why. Every company operating in the supply chain now has a part to play when it comes to Corporate Social Responsibility.

“Additionally, customers are more informed than ever before. They are asking more questions about the products that they are purchasing and the vendors that they buy from. Vendors need to be able to answer these questions. Otherwise they risk their reputation. Thanks to modern technologies, companies can no longer absolve themselves of responsibility for what happens in their supply chains. The transparency and visibility that supply chain professionals worldwide can build into their operations are exactly what’s needed to ensure ethical policies and practices are being followed.”

What can organisations do to ensure their supply chain is ethical?

“In complex global supply chains, ensuring ethical operations is up to everyone – from a company’s employees to its suppliers, customers and trading partners. Each has a vital role to play.

“When a company doesn’t have a clear understanding of its suppliers’ operations – even at the start of a contract – how can it monitor and manage supplier performance against a backdrop of continually evolving environmental, market and political conditions?

“Ultimately, at the heart of delivering an ethical, sustainable supply chain is visibility and the key to achieving that visibility is information. An organisation must be able to access information on their suppliers and their activities. They must also be able to make that information accessible to partners and customers. Key areas such as workers’ contracts and conditions, the provenance of materials, environmental performance and financial process need to be able to be monitored, and organisations need to be able to identify any supplier breaches of their ethical policies so they can take remedial action quickly.

“As a result, the entire supply chain needs to ensure that areas such as provenance of materials and overall environmental performance are monitored and that the data accumulated is easy to access. After all, brands cannot sell stories of ethics and suitability if they cannot see the exact routes their products take, from creation to market, for themselves.”

How can setting up a more ethical supply chain create a competitive edge for the business?

“Nowadays, the majority of modern supply chain operations have become much more customer-facing, and many companies strategically use their supply chain to drive business initiatives and improve customer experience. Delivering on customer experience means understanding their needs and expectations. Today sustainability and ethical business are key differentiators. To remain competitive, leaders need to dramatically alter how their supply chains operate, including a shift away from wasteful linear models to circular models that reuse, renew and focus on responsible sourcing. Supply chains will need to limit waste production, as unnecessary waste will be viewed by society and consumers as unacceptable.

“According to EuroMonitor International, 65% of consumers now say that they attempt to make a positive difference through their choice of everyday purchases. Therefore, ensuring your supply chain promotes ethical practices throughout is a good form of marketing. It is only through achieving and being able to prove this that you can convince your customers that they are buying sustainable products from an ethical brand.

“It’s not just the right choice, it’s the smart choice and makes business sense. If you have the processes in place to ensure ethical practices are followed, you can also use these to monitor operations and ensure that processes are as smooth as possible throughout the supply chain. It can also help to ensure that your business is able to attract and retain the best talent. Job seekers often want to work for companies that are seen as more ethical and taking sustainability seriously. Attracting the right people can improve overall morale, business satisfaction and even productivity.”