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

Is staff scheduling causing you stress? New report offers invaluable employee insights and retention tips

An insightful new report from workforce management solution Quinyx is shining a spotlight on the experiences of employees within the UK shipping industry, and offering invaluable advice for employers hoping to boost staff retention in 2022.

The report, part of Quinyx’s State of the Deskless Workforce global study of 11,000 workers, highlights shipping and distribution employees’ opinions of their jobs – and their bosses.

Exploring changing work patterns and management behaviours, the report contains key insights and advice for company leaders as the industry continues to face considerable pressures.

For example, Quinyx data reveals that UK shipping workers are less likely to say they feel valued at work than employees in other countries that also have prolific shipping industries. The report also looks at the priorities of employees – e.g. flexibility versus higher pay – and examines issues of understaffing.

Full of useful tips and advice on employee engagement and staff scheduling, with details of how managers can implement scheduling processes to make day-to-day operations run more smoothly, Quinyx’s report is available to download for free here.

Toma Pagojute, Chief HR Officer, Quinyx, says: “With the shipping industry continuing to face uncertainty following COVID-19 and Brexit, looking after loyal staff has never been more important. Unfortunately, current worker shortages present further challenges. Employers run the risk of overworking existing team members while trying to keep their businesses afloat, hence it’s vital that managers make looking after their workforce a top priority in 2022.

“Prioritising staff could mean anything from improving employee engagement, to implementing processes and tools to make scheduling more effective. Great staff are the most valuable asset of any business, and companies that put their employees at the forefront are the ones most likely to succeed this year.”

Join your peers at May’s Total Supply Chain Summit

The next Total Supply Chain Summit is taking place on the 23rd & 24th May 2022 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Centre, London Heathrow – Reconnect with the industry with a free delegate place!

This two-day event allows you to explore the latest insights and solutions within the industry to help you prepare for every eventuality.

23rd & 24th May 2022

Radisson Hotel & Conference Centre

London Heathrow

Your free pass includes;

– A corporate “speed-dating” itinerary of one-to-one meetings with solution providers
– A seat at our industry seminar sessions
– Complimentary overnight accommodation
– All meals and refreshments throughout
– Invitation to our evening networking dinner & drinks reception
– Networking breaks to make new connections in your field

Click here to register today!

1 in 5 transport & logistics employees considering quitting due to excessive stress

Nearly one in five employees (17%) in the transport and logistics sector are considering leaving their job role because of excessive stress experienced in the last year.

One in ten employees in the sector (10%) have already left their job role due to excessive stress over the last year — this is double the number of retail employees, and more than healthcare workers over the same period.

During the busy Christmas period and with increased pressure on staffing and workloads across the industry, employers are encouraged to invest in mental health support for employees. More than one employee in eight who suffered from excessive stress over the last year believe their company didn’t provide sufficient support.

Up to 27% of employees from the sector have taken off work for mental health reasons in 2021. 7% of employees have required unpaid leave due to mental health issues – this is double the number of those that took unpaid leave due to physical health problems.

The 2021 Stress and Mental Health study, undertaken by Vapeclub, asked transport and logistics employees working for 67 employers in the UK about their experience of stress and mental health issues in the workplace, the cause of excessive stress in their role and the impacts on life outside of work.

Almost half (46.7%) of employees have been struggling to sleep properly as a result of excessive stress – a problem that deeply affects day-to-day life, and can be dangerous as a HGV driver.

Meanwhile, (40%) withdrew from others or socialised less, leaving them to deal with stress without the vital support of friends and family. For 33%, feelings of excessive stress led to further impacts on their mental health.

Richard Holmes, Director of Wellbeing at Westfield Health, said: “Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. Pressure at work is usually the main culprit and when budgets are tight and teams are small, people often find themselves with multiple roles and heavy workloads, piling on the stress.

Policies like turning off email servers outside of working hours helps ring fence valuable recovery time. Mental health first aid training can also help managers spot the signs or triggers and put preventions in place.”

Claire Brown, Career Coach and former Occupational Therapist for the NHS, said: “In this past year, we have seen the continued impact of the pandemic upon people’s careers and their experiences of the workplace. However, in addition to the existing challenges, there is now an increasing need to adjust to a constantly evolving and changing landscape. The constant change in expectations across a range of areas coupled with an absence of effective support structures and change management practices has led to an increase in work-related stress for many.

“Now, more than ever, employers need to prioritise the health and well-being of their staff teams otherwise they will find many employees forced to take sick leave due to stress or ill health. Any issues and grievances should be discussed openly with employees and they should seek to foster a culture in which work-related stress is de-stigmatised by recognising it as a genuine health concern.”

The future of warehousing: Automation, robotics and energy efficiency

The rise of e-commerce is underway and impacting our highstreets – even before the rise of Covid-19. Due to the pandemic, the shift from physical shops towards online spending has accelerated by an average of five years. In 2020, 87% of UK households made purchases online and recent statistics show that 70% now prefer it. Now, E-commerce is booming, and it is a trend that is here to stay, with online retail spending in the UK expected to reach £75 billion by 2024.

So, what does this transition towards digital spending mean logistically for businesses? The race is now on for retailers and third-party logistics (3PL) providers to secure more warehouse space and capture a share in this growing market. As is stands, warehouse space has already increase by 73% since Covid-19 restrictions began in March 2019. In addition to this, Brexit also played a role in companies bringing their supply chains closer to home. It’s predicted that, by 2024, the impact of growing e-commerce sales in the UK could require an additional 92 million sq ft of warehouse space.

Businesses need also address speed and accuracy, with the average consumer expecting rapid deliveries of products that are both made to order and easily returned. Therefore, the pressure is on for businesses to operate as efficiently and effectively as possible to service a growing marketplace with increasingly high expectations – and all with fewer errors and at a lower cost to serve.

This is where technology is set to play a major supporting role, bringing fundamental changes to the ways in which warehouses operate. So, what exactly does the future hold for warehousing? Here, we will explore how technology and energy efficiency will be the driving force behind a successful, smarter, and more sustainable future.

The Internet of things (IoT)

The IoT broadly refers to the connection of devices and sharing data via the internet. In the world of warehousing, this has become an increasingly important driver in boosting automation. Thanks to the IoT, modern warehouses can be more connected, coordinated, and seamless in their operations, helping them manage escalating demand and run more efficiently.

IoT sensors give an object digital intelligence. This enables devices to communicate with other online systems in real-time and share vital data with warehouse workers. Businesses can use the IoT to connect their equipment, robots, drones, and pallets, while monitoring their inventory and even supervising employees remotely. The IoT is particularly useful for a real-time view of inventory and capacity. Businesses can spot gaps when they appear and make best use of available space. Meanwhile, customers can receive full transparency on package tracking.

Warehouse Management Systems (WMS)

A fully optimised WMS can enhance a business’s productivity, boost efficiency, and lower costs by digitising its processes. It also helps avoid common mistakes like slow shipments, poor inventory management, or incorrect product details – all of which can be costly and lead to unhappy customers.

This software assists with an extensive range of key day-to-day operations. These activities might include inventory management, stock replenishment, order picking, labour management, and shipping. Ultimately, it gives an insightful and holistic overview of operations. As a result, informed decisions can be made. For example, an accurate, real-time view of inventory means companies can effectively gauge stock needs and avoid back orders. A WMS can even be used to boost productivity amongst workers, matching them to specific jobs at the right time, and guiding them around the warehouse in the most efficient manner.

Automation

Automation has become a key part of boosting warehouse operations. This can enhance efficiency, speed, accuracy, and safety. Over the coming years, all warehouse operation is expected to have some level of automation. In fact, automation is already a significant market, representing over $10 billion in annual global spending.

There are lots of exciting emerging technologies on the horizon, and it appears that the more established, proven technologies will have the biggest initial uptake. Recent industry research reveals that 65% of warehousing operations are expected to invest in conveyors and sortation systems over the next 3 years. 56% will adopt shuttle systems, which allow warehouses to increase throughput and storage density. Even well-established technology – such as stacker cranes and traditional automated guided vehicles (AGVs) – are expected to see relatively high levels of automation adoption.

A way to help transport bulk goods quickly and safely, forklift trucks (FLTs) are a popular form of automation in warehouses. Modern FLTs are fast to fuel, as they do run on liquid gas rather than batteries. Therefore, warehouses with their own centralised supply tank can benefit from automatic top-up technology. This means they always have the power they need, increasing productivity and reducing downtime.

Robots

As we look to the future, robots are expected to take centre stage. In warehouses, robots can help operations become more efficient and productive whilst reducing errors and improving safety. It’s estimated that there’ll be around 50,000 robotic warehouses by 2025 with over 4 million robot installations. Robots are already used for a whole host of warehouse functions, from picking and packing, to sorting, batching, transporting, inspection, and security. Many large corporations are investing in these emerging technologies. As of 2021, Amazon has around 350,000 mobile drive units.

Mobile robots have been trending over the past couple of years. Among their many talents, they are particularly helpful for moving goods from warehouse shelves to fulfilment zones. They can also be programmed to perform duties traditionally carried out by conveyors, manual forklifts, carts, and towing machines. Drones are also becoming increasingly important. They are affordable, easily able to reach any part of a warehouse, useful for inventory management (working in tandem with barcode technology), and able to support workers with shipping and delivery.

Energy efficiency

Warehouses often have high energy requirements, from heating to cooling and lighting. According to the Orlando Utilities Commission,  energy costs typically account for 15% of a warehouse’s operating budget. Therefore, businesses are keen for warehouses to become more energy efficient. As well as reducing costs, this will minimise their impact on the environment and reduce emissions.

Renewable energy is set to play a major role in helping warehouses become more sustainable. With large roof areas available, they are already perfectly set up to harness energy from the sun with solar panels.

Renewable green gas will also be a key part of the future sustainable energy mix. Warehouses will be able to use renewable energy for heating or even to power their forklift truck fleet. Once it’s widely available, warehouses already running on commercial LPG will be able to switch from oil to renewable green gas and become carbon neutral without changing any of their equipment.

Lighting is another big energy consumer for warehouses. Significant savings can be made by upgrading to more efficient LEDs, bringing in more natural light with skylights, and controlling lighting more effectively. For example, a warehouse could have automatic lights-out areas where human workers are absent.

Greener, smarter warehouses

There’s no doubt that warehouses are getting greener, and there are a whole host of other efficiency measures available. Energy management systems; cool roof systems; radiant heaters; high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fans;green building materials; and measures to reduce, reuse, and recycle materials can all have a major impact. These green initiatives, married with the introduction of digital intelligence, have increased automation. This emergence of new technology means that we can expect a truly smarter, more sustainable, and more productive warehouse in the future.

Overall, the future of warehousing is technological. Warehouses will be digitally intelligent and able to communicate efficiently. For example, warehouse management systems might organise the daily activities of shipments and so on. Modern forklift trucks have evolved to rely on liquid gas, improving productivity in the workplace. Robots operate alongside warehouse workers to optimise labour and companies are investing in renewable energy sources to lead the way in sustainable manufacturing. How will you modernise warehousing?

Join us at next year’s Total Supply Chain Summit

You’re invited to attend our upcoming Total Supply Chain Summit, which is taking place on the 23rd & 24th May 2022 at the Radisson Hotel & Conference Centre, London Heathrow.

This two-day event allows you to explore the latest insights and solutions within the industry to help you prepare for every eventuality.

23rd & 24th May 2022

Radisson Hotel & Conference Centre

London Heathrow

Your free pass includes;

– A corporate “speed-dating” itinerary of one-to-one meetings with solution providers
– A seat at our industry seminar sessions
– Complimentary overnight accommodation
– All meals and refreshments throughout
– Invitation to our evening networking dinner & drinks reception
– Networking breaks to make new connections in your field

Click here to register today!

Do you specialise in Delivery Management? 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 January we’ll be focussing on Delivery Management.

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 specialise in Delivery Management 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 n.stannard@forumevents.co.uk.

Jan – Delivery Management 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 Sept – Labelling & Packaging Oct – 3PL & 4PL Nov – Order Fulfilment Dec – Transport Planning & Load Optimisation

5 Minutes With… Dassault Systèmes’ Adrian Wood

For the latest instalment of our supply chain industry executive interview series we spoke to Adrian Wood Director, Strategy & Marketing at Dassault Systèmes, about the company, the ongoing effects of the pandemic on the industry, the rise of the remote workforce, automation and the importance of listening…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

On our website you will see that Dassault Systèmes provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. Practically, that means you can use our technology to design, simulate, engineer and make whatever your customers need in the most efficient and sustainable way, even in the midst of disruption and changing markets.

What have been the biggest challenges the Supply Chain industry has faced over the past 12 months?

The disruption clearly tested the resiliency and agility of our global, interconnected supply chains. Those companies that did not have true visibility to the real-time status of what was happening across their own facilities and their outsourced partners suffered the most: they didn’t know how to react and respond to the changes with any confidence.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

Some industry segments saw growth based on specific needs. The need to enable remote workforces drove increases in technology, data and communication providers. Government aerospace companies remained strong and while commercial aerospace is slowly climbing back, many companies saw the slack time as an opportunity to update some of their technology infrastructure.

What is the biggest priority for the Supply Chain industry in 2021?

Most companies are now trying to determine how to gain (or regain) that visibility across their end to end network which was sorely lacking. In some cases, companies are looking to near-shore or actually regain ownership of previously outsourced supply chain operations to ensure they have more control and visibility in the future.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2022?

As consumers, we will continue to demand highly customized products and items with short lead times. This pace and complexity will increase and put pressure on manufacturers to become more agile as demand accelerates for products and services (including travel). I think it will start to separate out the true leaders from the laggards in industry.

What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?

I think it’s all about visibility and optimization. The concept of the “control tower” is top of mind for many companies, but it’s more than just seeing what’s happening; it’s about being able to take (almost) infinitely complex scenarios and develop feasible plans that allow companies to have confidence in executing sustainably.

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

Fully optimized and automated fulfilment. We’re all getting used to the “Amazon” effect where whatever you want is just a few hours away from arriving at your door. We’re going to want this for more complex products also and the industry leaders will be figuring out how to make it happen.

Which person in, or associated with, the Supply Chain industry would you most like to meet?

If I think of iconic supply chain “shifts” then people like Jeff Bezos and Michael Dell come to mind but really pulling off effective supply chain execution is a collaborative effort inside an organization, so I think you would have to think differently. I’d love to meet the team at Cisco as they seem to consistently be ranked top in supply chain capabilities.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the Supply Chain sector?

Two things. The first (like everyone else) is how fragile supply chains actually are. The pandemic was obviously unprecedented but one stuck cargo ship is all it takes. The second thing is the lack of resiliency of supply chains. The pandemic has been with us now for almost 20 months and we’re still talking about stocking up on essentials and preparing for a lack of Christmas gifts. I would have hoped more innovation would have been put into effect by now.

You go to the bar at the Total Supply Chain Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?

I’m still missing my beach vacations, so I’ll take a Mai Tai or anything with an umbrella so that I can imagine I’m sitting in the tropics.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Being on the cutting edge of virtual technology and seeing how it interacts and impacts real life. We do so many cool things that continually amaze me.

And what’s the most challenging?

Connecting with customers and our audiences, although that is starting to get better. We’ve found some really creative ways to engage with people but you can’t beat standing in front of them face to face.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Listen before talking. In almost any situation (personal and professional) this is something that has served me well.

Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?

That’s tough. Stranger Things satisfies my inner sci-fi nerd but having grown up in England around the area where Peaky Blinders is set (and even having a “brummie” accent for a bit) I’d have to go with the Shelby family.

Why financial inclusion in emerging markets is the backbone of a strong global supply chain

By Stephan Wolf, CEO, Global LEI Foundation (GLEIF)

LSEG (London Stock Exchange Group), Zimbabwe’s NMB Bank Limited, GLEIF, Cenfri and Cornerstone Advisory Plus recently collaborated to launch the first iteration of GLEIF’s digital business identity initiative in Africa. This has been a success for all involved, making it a model showcase for how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the world can gain ‘financial inclusion’ through Legal Entity Identifiers (LEIs).

The World Bank’s definition of financial inclusion for businesses is that they ‘have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way’.

While financial inclusion for SMEs across the world is a desirable end goal in its own right, it is also important to recognize that the impact of this initiative – when it is rolled out more broadly across multiple emerging markets – will go far beyond the SMEs and financial institutions involved. It has the potential to positively impact the broader economy by significantly strengthening the global supply chain. Let me explain how these two concepts are linked.

The lack of a universal identity prevents SME growth and overseas trade

SMEs make up 90% of businesses globally. However, without legal credibility or a way to officially prove their identity across borders, many of these businesses struggle to access finance, form partnerships or trade overseas – particularly for those in developing markets where a higher risk factor may be perceived. Banks are prohibited from offering them trade finance without undergoing painstaking and costly Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering checks – processes which are hampered without a verified identifier. As a result, the gap between the demand and supply of global trade finance is growing and has now reached $1.7 trillion following a 15% rise since 2018.

The launch of the business identity initiative has illustrated this problem with a focus on Africa. However, it’s important to remember that this is a global challenge faced by SMEs and banks all over the world. And as a result, countless SMEs are prevented from engaging within the global supply chain – whether that is because they can’t invest, scale, or form the necessary partnerships – due to one simple factor. An inability to prove who they are.

The LEI supports expansion of global supply chains and traceability of suppliers

As we’ve seen in Africa, a profusion of benefits arise when financial institutions facilitate the issuance of LEIs to SMEs by becoming Validation Agents. Which is why financial institutions should now be motivated and encouraged to use this model to deliver a globally recognized identity to their SME customers. Not only will it give SMEs broader access to financial services – a clear benefit to banks – but it has the wider impact of enabling SMEs to apply for trade finance and establish contractual, regulated agreements with banks, payments networks and trading partners. The result will be greater participation in domestic and international markets and a bolstered flow of inbound capital, which can then be used to further fuel the market’s economic development.

Imagine a world where millions more SMEs were able to scale and trade, with trust, internationally. How many more – both in terms of volume and diversity – products and services would be available to us all through the global supply chain, and what would the impact of increased competition be on service and price? It’s an aspirational thought and one which lies within reach. By opening up cross-border trading opportunities to more SMEs, the LEI can be seen as a critical – and immediately available – tool in the drive to create a much broader and more competitive supply chain for businesses worldwide. Additionally, using a global open identifier would help bring transparency to supply chain relationships – a critical component of sustainable supply chain monitoring and reporting.

What’s needs to happen next?

All change has to start somewhere – and the success of the first iteration of GLEIF’s digital business identity initiative in Africa shows what great potential lies ahead for the global supply chain and subsequently the world’s economy if financial institutions across more countries take up the reins and drive it forward.

The result of greater financial inclusion among SMEs will be a strong, more diverse, transparent and competitive global supply chain ecosystem. Consequently, we could expect to see the positive impact – financial growth and prosperity – across all types of companies across all regions of the world.

Now that the initiative has been set in motion, GLEIF invites more financial institutions to explore the benefits of becoming a Validation Agent to support – and derive the benefits from – broader financial inclusion among SMEs. GLEIF continues to seek dialogue with governments, NGOs, banks and other stakeholders interested in either expanding the LEI initiative across Africa or in replicating the model in other developing countries.

Do you specialise in Transport Planning & Load Optimisation? 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 December we’ll be focussing on Transport Planning & Load Optimisation.

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 Transport Planning & Load Optimisation 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 n.stannard@forumevents.co.uk.

Dec – Transport Planning & Load Optimisation Jan – Delivery Management 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 Sept – Labelling & Packaging Oct – 3PL & 4PL Nov – Order Fulfilment Dec – Transport Planning & Load Optimisation

Level up in 2022 with these courses for supply chain professionals

Our selection of online courses tailored specifically for the Supply Chain sector will enable you to both learn new skills and improve existing ones – sign up today! These are specially-curated online courses designed to help you and your team improve expertise and learn new things. The Management, Leadership & Business Operations online learning bundle provides you with over 50 courses, which cover all areas of both professional and personal development:
  • Costs, Volumes and Profits Certification
  • Agenda Setting Certification
  • Health and Safety in the Workplace (UK) Certification
  • GDPR in The Workplace Certification
  • Project Management Foundation (Small Projects) Certification
  • Project Preparation Certification
  • Making Meetings Matter Certification
  • Marketing Certification Level 2
  • Managing Emotions at Work Certification
  • Managing Your Workload Certification
  • UK Employment Law Certification
  • Workplace Monitoring and Data Protection Certification
And many more! Find out more and purchase your course online here. Additionally, there are a variety of bundles available on all spectrums;
  • Personal & Professional Development
  • Healthcare
  • Sports & Personal Development
  • Human Resources
  • Customer Services
  • Health & Safety
  • Education & Social Care Skills
  • Sales & Marketing
  • IT & Personal Development
Book your courses today and come out of this stronger and more skilled!