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

Total Supply Chain Summit teams with Logistics Business

We’re proud to announce Logistics Business as a Media Partner for the upcoming Total Supply Chain Summits, which take place in July and November this year.

Logistics Business magazine is the only pan-European logistics journal. As the top lead-generating magazine in this industry its editorial is dedicated to the best-in-class application of technology and services spanning the supply chain: from materials handling and warehousing equipment to transport and distribution services, logistics solutions, IT, software and transit packaging.

Logistics Business is a quarterly journal, with issues published in February, May, September and November, plus a weekly eNewsletter and daily news updates at

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s Total Supply Chain Summits:

Dates: July 12th & 13th and November 1st & 2nd

Event Type: Live Events – Virtual attendance options are available

Free pass includes: Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments throughout the event.

Key Benefits: Building business connections for your end-to-end supply chain needs and gaining insight into the future challenges within warehousing, supply chain and distribution.

Multiple Seminars Sessions: Throughout the day you can enjoy two insightful seminar sessions about the current and future challenges within the industry

Format: Around your seminars we will create a bespoke itinerary designed just for you. The itinerary will include short, relaxed, 1-2-1 meetings with the suppliers you would be interested in meeting and those who would like to connect with.

These events save you time by helping you to build all the business connections you need in 2021 and the future of your business, so that you can prepare for every eventuality.

(all socially distancing measures are in place, including clear meeting patrician screens – virtual attendance options are also available)

Register your interest here via our online form.

5 Minutes With… LPR’s Adrian Fleming

In the latest instalment of our supply chain industry executive interview series, we spoke to LPR’s Region North Managing Director Adrian Fleming about the company, the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, how working remotely has produced efficiencies, the increased importance of supply continuity and a future powered by robotics & AI…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

LPR UK is a subsidiary of LPR – La Palette Rouge, a leading pan European, pallet pooling business working in the FMCG sector. The business is present in 15 countries and moves more than 107 million pallets per year.

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

Without a doubt, Brexit and Covid-19.

The changes required for businesses to be able to move their goods post-Brexit meant that LPR has had to make significant investment in new equipment, processes and procedures to continue to provide industry leading pallets. Without this, our customers would not have been able to continue to move their products and we would not have been able to deliver the service that they expect from us.

Covid-19’s impact gave us a bit of a double-whammy. Our customers produce food, grocery and household goods – including cereals and toilet roll – so demand for our pallets increased exponentially, and we needed to make sure that we were able to meet this demand whilst safely supporting our office based people in a move to working from home.

The fact that we met customer demand while we carried out this move really demonstrates just how amazing our people are. They were flexible, resilient and got the job done – no matter what!

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

The move to working from home showed us that there were other ways of doing what we do. We could use technology to become more efficient, and at the same time offer a better work/life balance with the removal of the daily commute.

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

As the world comes out of lockdown, I think continuity is going to become ever more important. Demand for raw materials is at an all time high, so ensuring continuity of supply is going to become critical.

What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2021?

One of the fundamental changes we saw during lockdown was the move to increased eCommerce. I think that this is a powerful change in the supply chain that will never fully be reversed, so we need to prepare for how this will evolve further.

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

Robotics and AI in automation – particularly in eCommerce environments, but also across all FMCG.

In 2024 we’ll all be talking about…?

2020 and 2021 – the years where we adapted to a pandemic by making some really significant step changes in our lives – how there was more consideration of what adds value and how we used the benefits of technology to stay in touch and to reduce our environmental impact.

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

Jeff Bezos – founder and CEO of Amazon. It would be fascinating to hear what he thinks Amazon’s future will look like and how they plan to make it happen.

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

Just how under-appreciated it was. It gives us food, vaccines, pharmaceuticals – yet until the pandemic, most people had no consideration for how these things made their way into their lives.

Seeing workers in the supply chain receiving ‘key worker’ status underlined just how important the sector is. We should be more vocal about it.

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

A glass of a good Sauvignon Blanc.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

The opportunity to work with and welcome great people to our business. It’s not just our pallets which are industry leading.

And what’s the most challenging?

Balancing the demands on my time whilst trying to ensure a good work / life balance. I have a great team so that definitely makes things easier.

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

Trust in people to do their jobs – and get on with your own. Trust begets trust.

Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?

Neither unfortunately, I’d rather watch a good film!

Navigate 2021, the new supply chain event is now live

Zencargo, the digital freight forwarder has announced the arrival of a new, summit-style supply chain event, Navigate.

Scheduled for 14:00 to 17:15 BST on the 13th May, Navigate brings together supply chain leaders from across the industry – from shipping to transportation to technology – to discuss how businesses can navigate through change, which is the theme for Navigate 2021. 

Already scheduled to speak are Patrik Berglund, the CEO of rates benchmarking platform Xeneta, John Urban, the founder of GT Nexus, one of the original control tower solutions, and Mark Taylor, managing director of Britannia Bureau, a consultancy specialising in customs and Brexit.

After a year of large scale disruption from the pandemic, Brexit and the volatility of the freight market, the event looks toward the longer-term impact of those changes. Speakers at Navigate will also be discussing organisational change, including how to make transformation projects actually happen, with advice from businesses who have had success in implementing new projects within their supply chain.

“Change is inevitable,” says Richard Fattal, chief commercial officer at Zencargo. “In supply chain, that has always been true, but this past year has underscored that being ready for change – and having the agility in your supply chain to deal with it – is non-negotiable.”

Also on the line-up is Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime. After spending twenty years working with shipping lines, most extensively at Maersk, he joins Navigate to discuss the relationship between carriers and shippers moving forward, from the more controlled command of supply and demand that carriers have learned in recent months, to the change in contractual relationships between parties – and what impact that has on supply planning.

John Urban, the founder of GT Nexus, will be in discussion with Tamir Strauss, the chief product and technology officer of Zencargo, to discuss how technology can help logistics teams embed positive transformation at the heart of their supply chain, whether that’s by standardising processes or simply automating exception management.

With hundreds of supply chain practitioners expected to attend, Navigate offers the opportunity to take the pulse of the logistics profession, and share your experiences, and learn from others in the field. 

To read more about the sessions planned and register to attend, visit

Do you specialise in Total End-to-End Solutions? 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 May we’ll be focussing on Total End-to-End Solutions.

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 Total End-to-End Solutions 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:

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

CALL FOR SPEAKERS! We’re looking for experts to talk at our supply chain industry events

We’re looking for supply chain industry thought-leaders to share their knowledge at the upcoming Total Supply Chain Summits, which are taking place on July 12th & 13th and November 1st & 2nd.

If you’re available on those dates and would like to take part in this unmissable industry event, simply contact Nick Stannard on 01992 374092 /

Alternatively, if you’re an industry professional, we don’t want you to miss out on a place at these supply chain industry event – so here’s all the key information.

Date & Time: July 12th & 13th and November 1st & 2nd

Event Type: Live Events – Virtual attendance options are available

Free pass includes: Overnight accommodation, all meals and refreshments throughout the event.

Key Benefits: Building business connections for your end-to-end supply chain needs and gaining insight into the future challenges within warehousing, supply chain and distribution.

Multiple Seminars Sessions: Throughout the day you can enjoy two insightful seminar sessions about the current and future challenges within the industry

Format: Around your seminars we will create a bespoke itinerary designed just for you. The itinerary will include short, relaxed, 1-2-1 meetings with the suppliers you would be interested in meeting and those who would like to connect with.

These events save you time by helping you to build all the business connections you need in 2021 and the future of your business, so that you can prepare for every eventuality.

(all socially distancing measures are in place, including clear meeting patrician screens – virtual attendance options are also available)

Register your interest here via our online form.

WEBINAR REWIND: Managing cost volatility with forecasting – a practical roadmap with SLG Brands

Don’t worry if you missed last week’s essential webinar from Zencargo – You can now re-watch the entire session online!

With global shipping costs inflated to unprecedented highs, getting a total view of the costs of your supply chain has never been more important for a business.

In this webinar, SLG Brands’ Devinder Chana (Director of Supply Chain) and Guy Melbourne (Head of Logistics) explain exactly how they have tackled their forecasting project, and how you can do the same.

Together with Zencargo’s Scott Irvine, Devinder and Guy cover:

  • Why SLG wanted to implement better PO management and cost forecasting
  • What you need to get started on your path to better cost visibility
  • The main stages in your forecasting roadmap
  • The advice they would give to other businesses that are expanding their forecasting ability

Click Here To Watch On-Demand

Early preparation ‘remains key’ to avoid Brexit & COVID supply chain disruption

43% of businesses have been impacted negatively by Brexit in 2021 – but 19% of businesses are thriving in a post-Brexit world.

That’s one of the conclusions of Descartes Systems Group’s latest Brexit research report: Beyond Brexit: The Realities of Brexit for UK-EU Cross Border Trade.

Following its 2020 research on Brexit preparedness of UK companies, this latest report analyses how business has been affected by both Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic and the level of uncertainty around the future.

Undertaken by SAPIO Research during March 2021, the interviews with supply chain managers assessed the specific elements of EU trade that have been affected, the resulting disruption and the expected performance of supply chains in 2021.

Key findings include:

  • Mixed performance: 43% of businesses have been impacted negatively by Brexit in 2021 – but 19% of businesses are thriving in a post-Brexit world.
  • Disruption reality: 90% of businesses have faced disruption since the end of the Brexit transition period.
  • Economic impact of Brexit: 53% expect their 2021 turnover to be lower than if the UK had remained in the EU – and the average reduction is 29%.
  • Pandemic impact: 76% had their Brexit response disrupted by COVID-19.
  • Early preparation has proven key to success, with those businesses that started their customs filing preparations in 2019 (24%) and early 2020 (33%) thriving most.

As predicted in Descartes’ 2020 research, Brexit has had a negative impact on both business and the economy. Of the companies surveyed, 90% have experienced disruption in their ability to trade in and out of the EU in 2021 – with 20% experiencing significant disruption since the transition period ended. Despite the high level of concern revealed in the 2020 survey, 40% of companies have actually experienced worse-than-expected EU supply chain performance, according to Descartes’ latest report. Additional key findings include:  

  • 80% of businesses reported disruption to their cross-border trade with the EU or Northern Ireland (NI), rising to 93% for medium and large enterprises 
  • 40% have experienced delays in their supply chains 
  • 37% have experienced increased cost of imports
  • 36% have had to manage customs declarations 

The combination of COVID-19 on top of Brexit created unprecedented challenges for businesses of every size, in every market. Confidence has been affected. Three quarters (76%) of companies confirm that COVID-19 disrupted their Brexit response. 

However, a significant finding is that almost one fifth (19%) are actually thriving in a post-Brexit economy, with 35% of electronics, computer and telecommunications companies enjoying a positive outcome. Preparing early proved essential, allowing these companies to take a holistic approach by working closely with experts who understand the complexities of global trade and by putting solutions in place for customs declarations.

The research findings underline that with the next phase of Brexit changes – an end to deferred import declarations from July 2021, and safety and security filings required from 1st January 2022 — there are lessons to learn about the value of preparation and acting ahead of deadlines. When it comes to successful global trade, planning is not just essential for compliance – it makes a tangible difference to successful business operations. 

“Brexit has thrown many businesses into a spin, but the companies that prioritised Brexit preparation are thriving and provide a best practice blueprint that the rest of the market can now follow,” said Pol Sweeney, VP Sales and Business Manager UK, Descartes. “Our research highlights that with the changes due from July through to January 2022, early preparation is, once again, crucial to avoiding expensive disruption.”

For the full research findings, see Descartes’ Brexit Realities Report and for additional Brexit resources visit Descartes’ Brexit Resource Centre.

Learn from the best at the Total Supply Chain Summit

If you have not already confirmed your attendance to the Total Supply Chain Summit on the 12th & 13th July then you can secure your free place online.

We have virtual attendance options available, or you can join us for the live event at the – Radisson Hotel & Conference Centre London Heathrow and receive FREE overnight accommodation.

Your first seminar session will be presented by Bethany Windsor, Operations Manager at NOVUS (part of CILT UK) and Career Ready Think Logistics.

Bethany’s passionate advocacy of young professionals in logistics secured her the Talent in Logistics awards (2019) for “Industry Champion”. 

She will present the following session at this Julys Total Supply Chain Summit;

“Inspiring the next generation of logisticians” 

The logistics market struggles to attract suitably skilled workers to cater for the future. Bethany Windsor shares the perspective of young professionals on the ways in which a company’s approach to recruitment and retention affects their employment decisions.

• How a young professional’s career journey differs from their predecessors
• Key success factors for a great placement or graduate opportunity
• Tangible efforts to support attraction and retention of young professionals 

If you have any questions then please do not hesitate to contact us via email here.

Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët improves the performance of its supply chain with FuturMaster

Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët, the Cognac and Champagne prestige subsidiary of Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-largest wine and spirits company, is launching a supply chain planning project with FuturMaster’s Demand and Supply Planning solutions in Cloud mode to improve its customer service rate while optimising stocks.

They will deploy the FuturMaster solutions by July 2021 in the two Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët entities, namely the Cognac entity (Martell) and the Champagne entity (Mumm and Perrier-Jouët). The scope of the project will be based on the demand, production and supply planning modules.

The improvement of Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët’s supply chain performance is part of Pernod Ricard’s “Transform & Accelerate” group project, which aims to transform the organisation of certain functions and working methods to accelerate growth.

“The main objective of the project carried out with FuturMaster is to replace the planning tool in place on demand, production and supply planning perimeters. Our goal is to improve the performance of our supply chain to meet the challenges of tomorrow,” explained Loïc Morvan, Supply Chain Director at Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët.

“After launching a call for tender, we received various proposals from software publishers. We selected FuturMaster for its business expertise and the ergonomics of its solution,” added Mathilde Bechetoille, Supply Chain Planning Manager at Mumm Perrier-Jouët.

The FuturMaster Demand Planning module will allow Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët to manage all their products and customers’ forecasting.

The FuturMaster Dashboard, a real cockpit for the Demand Planner, will enable it to prioritise the SKUs to be analysed to work by exception and concentrate on high value-added tasks.

This new work methodology will enable the company to obtain more accurate forecasts and the demand planning teams to improve their productivity via an ergonomic, user-friendly tool.

Pernod Ricard’s Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët subsidiary has chosen to deploy FuturMaster’s Production Planning module to deliver a production plan by SKU. The objective is to establish bottling and packaging programs and identify the supply needs in components and liquid manufacturing to provide the necessary information to the scheduling and supply departments.

FuturMaster, via its integrated Bill of Supply (BOS) and Optimiser, considers all of the exogenous production planning constraints of Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët for both Cognac and Champagne.

“The planning process differs from Cognac to Champagne. We needed a sufficiently robust solution to be able to manage both pull flows (MTO) and push flows (MTS) to calculate the production plan sequences starting from the bottling/capping plan and going up to the assembly plan for Cognac and the riddling plan for Champagne,” said Morvan.

The FuturMaster solutions automatically integrate the elements of the production plans from the Production Planning module as a basis for the development of a dry material purchase plan.

“FuturMaster allows us to obtain a dry material purchase plan that takes into account the minimum quantities to be ordered and the delivery times of our suppliers. This saves our teams valuable time,” added Loïc Morvan.

“We decided to trust the FuturMaster teams to help us with three major issues: improving our service level, optimising our stocks and finally getting all the players to collaborate around a single solution and thus gaining agility in operational and strategic decision-making.”

“Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët’s project is fully in line with FuturMaster’s value proposition. It involves reconciling agility, resilience, and responsiveness to strengthen the Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët subsidiary’s capacity to manage its supply chain. Our client will be able to take advantage of FuturMaster’s unique data model to synchronise all the decisions made in its organisation’s different process levels. This project demonstrates FuturMaster’s ability to support an ambitious and decisive transformation in the fulfilment of the Pernod Ricard Group’s strategy“, said Yacine Zeroual, Southern Europe General Manager at FuturMaster.

How to build resilience into Supply Chain 4.0 strategies

By Ian Terblanche (pictured), Strategic Sales & Channel Director at Sigfox

With the rise in supply chain disruptions during COVID-19, companies may already have an eye on streamlining and improving supply chains but they are also under immense pressure to manage supply chain disruption.

When examining the challenges faced by supply chains today, companies need to build resilience by digitising their infrastructure?  But how can they digitise and track their supply chain assets end to end when they are outside the enterprise boundary for most of their lifetime, often crossing country borders; how do they digitise an asset that has no access to power for months or years; and how can companies digest and make sense of multiple data sources from their own enterprise and external providers? 

Disruption and digitalisation

Today, disruption is the new normal, and it is affecting supply chains a lot more frequently. Examples include earthquakes, tsunamis, sanctions, trade wars, COVID-19 and changing consumer demand. The magnitude and the frequency of this disruption has been escalating, and that is partly due to the globalisation of supply chains, and new risks presented by geopolitical and climate change issues.

The lesson is that disruption is here to stay, but businesses recognising, and taking advantage of, the changing demands that disruptions herald are primed to succeed. While manufacturers have suffered from supply chain disruption, online retailers like Amazon have profited and the unprecedented surge in businesses shifting online to continue sales means that many had to adapt their business processes to ensure their own survival. There is also a blurring of the line between retailer, shipper and pooler, which is itself creating new market opportunities.

The importance of prioritizing the supply chain

Resilient and flexible supply chain can be instrumental if not vital to recovery so now, more than ever before, supply chains are on boardroom agendas due to their impact on global businesses and CSR. Traditional prioritises like keeping costs down are becoming less important as companies actively consider how they can mitigate any loss or other supply chain risks. The focus of investment is on risk mitigation and increased resilience for rapid recovery and profit restoration, so COVID-19 has been the catalyst to more businesses understanding the magnitude and importance of investing in a supply chain. While costs may increase, this is outweighed by the benefits of fleet optimisation and the increased chance of business survival.

With supply chain modelling and optimizations changing, the time to make the investments in supply chain resilience and flexibility is now and, during COVID-19, a number of business cases, including Austrian Post from our own client base, have been approved. Industry reports have also forecast significant changes ahead in the supply chain sector with predictions of the global connected logistics market expected to grow during 2017-2023 at a CAGR of approximately 22% with supply chain analytics exceeding US$ 10 billion by 2027.

Resilient supply chains not only recover much faster from destruction, but when done correctly, with the right level of investment, a robust plan and systems in place, supply chains become a source of competitive advantage and open up new and interesting marketplaces or valuable segments. Resilient supply chains typically reduce risk exposure but only if they incorporate these five common characteristics: agility, digitization, connectivity, insight and rapid recovery capabilities.


A flexible ecosystem of suppliers and partners where materials can be swapped, and a dual or triple sourcing strategy is adopted, makes a supply chain agile. But so too do companies creating smaller more nimble manufacturing sites that are more able to adapt to challenges and change, rather than relying on traditional manufacturing sources, like China.


It is often the case that when a shipment has left the last checkpoint, for example a sea port, organisations do not have visibility of that shipment’s exact location until the next checkpoint, which is often the next port. However, the Internet of Things (IoT) enables all elements of the logistics process from packaging and loading to distribution and storage to be tracked. This makes IoT solutions the ideal tool for supply chain visibility. Attaching IoT sensors to valuable components that need to be tracked gives all interested parties a holistic view of the supplier network so they can obtain accurate and ‘live’ information about shipment location, route and arrival time, amongst other things, as and when they need it. 


Digital transformation and Industry 4.0 connectivity are creating agile operations more capable of responding to and recovering from disruption. Aside from warehouses and production lines being fully automated, autonomous vehicles for short distance deliveries are providing supply chain flexibility. When combined with other technologies, based on digitisation & IoT, this helps manage market volatility, especially in industries that track assets. 

Adoption of cloud-based supply chain applications is critical, with plug and play interfaces for connectivity, as regardless of the manufacturer, if apps and devices are interoperable, they can be used widely, and drive more valuable and deeper data. 

Everything from raw materials and finished products to the vehicles that transport products can be tracked digitally to provide complete supply chain visibility of product and asset movement. This then helps businesses identify and respond to disruption quicker, while adhering to compliance needs. 

Visibility is crucial. However, with digitization comes cyber risk too, so security needs to be firmly factored into a resilient supply chain strategy. The data derived from full digitisation has deep tactical and strategic value so defining a clear evaluation model is critical.   


By implementing IoT-connected devices across the supply chain, businesses gain a vast array of data that not only fulfills regulatory requirements, but also offers extremely granular insights into the efficiency and real time operation of their networks. From a full overview of routes travelled, warehouse delays and network gaps to ensuring vehicles deliver best performance limiting downtime and repairs, while ensuring driver safety is of the highest calibre, the opportunities are almost endless. 

Some businesses operate a “control tower” model to connect and manage their digitized supply chains. This set up resembles an airport control tower where they receive continuous updates about raw and finished material, orders, and production levels at manufacturing sites. This model provides complete local visibility, even of global supply chains, resulting in faster reaction times when problems occur, but the critical question is do you own this control tower or build trust in a third party who can manage it for you? 


Data analytics provide insights into the supply chain, allowing teams to build forecasting, plan scenarios and develop early warning systems, which is key. As the pandemic evolved, the use of continuous scenario simulation has been employed to ensure that supply chains were all clear on what the required next steps would be, no matter what the disruption situation was. 

Rapid recovery

The final characteristic of a resilient supply chain is the ability to recover rapidly. For success here, recognise that it is down to the people involved. Empowering teams to problem solve whether they are at home, in the office or warehouse, means that decision making is decentralised and teams on the ground can get on with deciding how to deal with a situation while feeding data back into a central command. This helps a business to understand and manage crises quickly.

The use of simple and accessible IoT solutions to digitise their infrastructure means that supply chain will continue to flourish, whatever disruptions they face.