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

5 Minutes With… Transport Services Europe’s Tom Stangoe

In the latest instalment of our supply chain industry executive interview series we spoke to Transport Services Europe MD Tom Stangoe about the company, the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, industry opportunities and technical innovation…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

Transport Services Europe is a freight forwarding company that operates lines across Europe and the UK. At T S Europe, we believe that each shipment requires the same attention, attentiveness, and care. That is why our brand identity centres around positive customer service. We establish positive relationships with our clients by emphasising the importance of transparency and fluid communication. We aim to be with the customer every step of the way, ensuring the goods are getting delivered when promised, where promised.

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

The main challenges the supply chain industry has faced are undoubtedly the pandemic and Brexit. These challenges have compounded the driver shortage, causing turbulence in the supply chain, raising rates and creating delays.

In order for the supply chain to be operational, fluid communication is required between all parties. That is unfortunately the biggest challenge we have come across thus far, and it has been the issue we have placed most importance on. 

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

The last 12 months have brought with them opportunities as the demand for our services has never been higher. Of course, transportation services are always needed, but businesses have begun to see the importance of customer service and understand the importance of communication. This allowed our company to stand out as we were offering a level of customer service that was not commonly found in the European logistics world.

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

It is critical that the driver shortage crisis gets resolved as it is causing issues across the entire supply chain. Understanding how the pandemic and Brexit have affected the supply chain is key to guaranteeing smooth sailing onwards. It is essential that importance is placed on ensuring there are good working conditions for lorry drivers, as their health and attitude translate into the supply chain.

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

The continuing effect of Brexit and Covid-19 will increase barriers to entry for import and, export in the UK. This will result in an increase in local production, increased manufacturing within the UK and, consequently, employment.  

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

An increase use of automation – in particular, around custom clearance AI.

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

The development and adoption of electric trucks in the road haulage industry.

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

Matt Moulding, head of Hut Group, is a pioneer in his field and a great businessman.

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

How it is the perfect representation of the domino effect. Every element can create a knock on effect.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

The most exciting thing about my job is the environment and the colleagues I am surrounded by.

And what’s the most challenging?

The fast growth of the company, although a big advantage, has also presented some issues.

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

To be honest and transparent with everyone you deal with. Whether dealing with Employees, Customers or Suppliers.

Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?

Peaky Blinders!

Zencargo to host Navigate Beyond – The virtual conference for supply chain professionals

Digital freight forwarder & logistics provider, Zencargo, is hosting its bi-annual virtual conference, Navigate Beyond, providing actionable insights to professionals in the supply chain industry.

Supply chains have suffered through turmoil over the past 2 years with inflated rates, bottleneck delays and increasing demand from consumers. These current problems cannot be solved with short-term solutions. It is essential, therefore, for businesses to look beyond the norm and rethink their long-term vision.

To tackle the supply chain issues, Navigate will be split up into sessions, featuring expert speakers across various industries. The theme of this event is ‘Navigate Beyond’: how professionals can look beyond the next few months, operate beyond the basics and adopt alternative ways to work beyond the norm.

The sessions will cover a wide spectrum of supply chain topics including:

  • A Supply Chain Perfect Storm: Why Now Is the Time to Act to Create the Supply Chain of the Future
  • Making Sustainable Supply Chains a Reality
  • Reality and Route Forward: The Next Year in Brexit Customs and VAT Changes
  • What’s the Future of the Supply Chain Function?
  • What Else Might We See from the Ocean Market?

Each session will provide top level insights from industry experts such as:

  • Stuart Higgins, Partner (Consumer Goods and Retail) at BearingPoint
  • Luke Kerr, Supply Chain Director at Solent Group
  • Paul Casey, Director (Indirect Tax) at KPMG
  • Catherine Weetman, Director at Rethink Global
  • Lorenzo Rosetti, Director (Trade & Customs) at KPMG
  • Lucy Harding, Partner and Global Head of Practice, Procurement & Supply Chain at Odgers Berndtson
  • Patrik Berglund, CEO and Co-Founder at Xeneta

Scheduled for 4th November, 2-5pm GMT, book your place and register here.

5 Minutes With… David Rose, Innovation Director at PALLITE

In the latest instalment of our supply chain industry executive interview series we spoke to David Rose, Innovation Director at PALLITE, about the company, the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19, industry opportunities and technical innovation…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

PALLITE® is an ambitious, award-winning international designer and manufacturer of paper honeycomb board products from Northamptonshire, UK. We focus on innovation and sustainability. All of our products are made from over 80% recycled materials and are 100% recyclable. We try to empower our customers to make sustainable choices while still achieving efficiency, productivity, and bottom-line cost improvements. We make everything from pallets and shipping crates to pop-up warehouse storage units.

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

Everyone in the supply chain deserves a huge pat on the back and the industry has definitely been the unsung hero of the pandemic….although I think more of the general public are starting to appreciate what supply chain means.

If I was to nudge towards the top three challenges, I would say the growth of online sales and the impact on warehouses and delivery; the management of spike demand (remember toilet rolls) and product shortages; and clearly the big challenge of HGV driver shortages.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

The biggest opportunity is to recognise any shortcomings that have been exposed.

If we’re candid, we’ve all had them and like us, many businesses will have put systems or solutions in place to overcome these…and that’s made us all stronger.

What is the biggest priority for the Supply Chain industry in 2022?

Getting slicker and greener. Consumers want their order tomorrow.  Consumers also want us to be more environmentally friendly. These two priorities need to work out a way of going hand in hand.

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

I think it will be a year of settling from the COVID impact. There’s no doubt the container related challenges will still have an impact, but that aside, I hope it’s a greener way of working.

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

Automation. There’s still a long way to go but I’m seeing this more and more.  Anything from robots in warehouses to payments and invoicing being used by our customers, it’s here to stay and we need to embrace it.

In 2025 we’ll all be talking about…?

What we can do to be greener

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

I think after the year or so of Zoom and Teams, I’m happy to meet anyone!

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

I’ve not been surprised, but proud of the resilience.  Not many other industries can survive and thrive after massive demand spikes, COVID, product shortages, disruption globally whilst trying to embrace automation and being more environmentally friendly!

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

Guinness, Guinness, Guinness, Guinness then a red wine.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

Love meeting new businesses and being able to help. I love it.

And what’s the most challenging?

Not having enough time in the day to give everyone the time they deserve.

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

Say ‘please’ when you’re meant to say please, say ‘thank you’ when you’re meant to say thank you and ‘sorry’ when you’re meant to say sorry.

Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?

Can I say Silent Witness?

Total Supply Chain Summit: Everything you need to know

Be a step-ahead and gain access to innovative suppliers that cover all areas of end-to-end supply chain needs, including; 3PL, Distribution, Forecasting, Logistics Management, ERP Software Systems, Order Fulfillment, Warehouse Management Software, Green Transport, Automated Storage Systems, Handheld Terminals and many more.

Date: 1st & 2nd November
Venue: The Queens Hotel, Leeds

Pass includes;

– A corporate “speed-dating” itinerary of one-to-one meetings with solution providers
– A seat at our industry seminar sessions 
– Complimentary meals and refreshments throughout
– Networking breaks to make new connections in your field
– Overnight accommodation at the venue – free of charge

Here are just some of the confirmed solution providers that can support your upcoming projects and help reduce costs;

Sofco – End to end planning
Honeywell – Voice directed work solutions for warehouses
Quinyx – Workforce management
LPR – Pallet pooling
BDP International – Logistics
Kite Packaging – Packing and shrink wrapping
Zencargo – Digital freight forwarding

RSVP here to secure your free place, or if you would like any more information then please do not hesitate to contact us today.

Pandemic, tech and environment dominating global supply chain thinking

NTT Data’s Third-Party Logistics Study  has highlighted intense pressures and new demands on the supply chain.

The study, carried out in conjunction with Pennsylvania State University’s Dr. C. John Langley, clinical professor, supply chain information systems and director of development, Center for Supply Chain Research at Smeal College of Business focuses on several areas: the current state of the Third Party Logistics (3PL) market; Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG); the intelligent supply chain; the cold chain; and revisiting effects of COVID-19.

The 2022 3PL Study findings include:

  • Pandemic puts supply chain center stage. The pandemic placed a spotlight on supply chains in a manner never seen before, as the downsides of just-in-time inventory, and the frustrations felt when raw materials and finished goods failed to arrive on time (or not even made available for purchase), were very much noticed by the consumer. The worsening effects of the truck driver shortage played a role as well. Recent supply chain challenges have accelerated the adoption of technology and further demonstrated the need for visibility. 3PL providers were able to pivot resources to those industries that surged, to offset manufacturing shutdowns. Contingency planning also received more attention.
  • Supply chains face intense pressure, planning needs, and ongoing labor challenges. The pandemic either exposed or strengthened contingency planning and risk mitigation strategies across the world, as consumers needed vital supplies and foods delivered to brick-and-mortar locations or to their homes. The areas companies (shippers) stated were most impacted by the pandemic included: International transportation and logistics (43%); sourcing and procurement (30%) and manufacturing (24%). The 3PLs listed their top areas: Labor and workforce management (33%); manufacturing (24%); and international transportation and logistics (23%). Interestingly, 68% of shippers believe that their supply chains have become too global and must be rebalanced towards more regional and local ecosystems within larger global enterprises. About 83% of these market-leading companies stated they plan to adjust sources of supply as a direct result.
  • ESG is a growing priority for supply chain leaders. The study indicated that among corporations 59% had a formal environmental, social and governance (ESG) program; of those, 51% of their supply chains utilized an ESG program. Among 3PLs, only 45% noted that their organizations featured an established ESG offering. Both shippers and 3PLs indicated that cost was a factor in establishing a program. Key reasons for creating or enhancing an ESG program included: Consumer trends and preferences; environment and climate impacts; diversity, equity and inclusion; social contribution and responsibility; and laws, policies and regulations.
  • Tech and robotics driving smarter, more agile supply chains. At the forefront is 5G, real-time data transmission, Internet of Things, and data analytics. More than half of shippers (52%) and 3PLs (63%) stated that 5G technology is either moderately or critically important. The majority of 3PLs (53%) reported that they can provide real-time data to clients in 50% or more of their supply chain services. About 63% of 3PLs stated they are investing in Internet of Things technology to improve workforce productivity; real-time decision making and create a competitive differentiator. Cloud technology gets most used in transportation management systems followed by warehouse management systems. The top technologies that 3PLs are investing in are in robotics: High-dense storage pickers and palletizers (38%), autonomous forklifts (35%) and wearables (35%). Shippers are centering efforts on intelligent data analytics (26%), robotics (20%) and autonomous forklifts (20%).
  • Need for cold chain strategies and support heat up. Companies are using a mix of in-house and outsourced programs within their cold chains. A comprehensive cold chain strategy is a contributor to the success of medicines and foods transportation, with 89% of shippers reporting they have a strong program. For 3PLs, the most important cold chain services are a range of temperatures (refrigeration to deep freeze), active temperature monitoring and product traceability. Shippers (62%) ranked proper handling as the greatest challenge to operating a cold chain, as compared to only 25% of 3PLs. Top cold chain challenges for shippers are: Proper handling; regulatory compliance; recruiting skilled labor; proper last-mile handling; and product packaging. For 3PLs this list is: Infrastructure investments; temperature monitoring; tech investment and maintenance; recruiting skilled labor; and proper truck transportation.

The full 2022 edition is accessible at and is part of an in-person session at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) EDGE conference in Atlanta.

“We are delighted to be part of this long-running and significant study to provide a view of what is happening in today’s global marketplace,” said Sylvie Thompson, vice president, consulting and supply chain practice, NTT DATA Services. “As the world has rapidly shifted, investments in technology, infrastructure, transportation and recruiting are all key to the success of improving the supply chain of the future.”

Just 16% of UK consumers are satisfied with delivery services every time

Over two thirds (68%) of UK consumers have had an issue with delivery in the last three months – and, as a result, 24% lost trust in a delivery company and 24% lost trust in the retailer.

That’s according to Descartes Systems Group’s latest Consumer Online Delivery Research, which set out to assess consumers’ online purchasing experiences across Europe.

Undertaken by SAPIO Research during July 2021, the interviews with consumers across Europe highlighted that quality of the delivery service is undermining overall customer perception of both delivery companies and retailers – leading to lost sales.

The research concludes that retailers need to take ownership of the end-to-end experience, in order to address consumer expectations regarding tracking and communication; safe delivery and ease of return; and, increasingly, environmental considerations.

Key findings include:

  • The quality of the experience has been far from perfect: just 16% of UK consumers are satisfied with the delivery service every time.
  • Over two thirds (68%) have had an issue with delivery in the last three months – and, as a result, 24% lost trust in a delivery company and 24% lost trust in the retailer.
  • Over a third (37%) of consumers also share their perception of both delivery company and retailer with friends and family – creating a ripple effect that rapidly undermines consumer perception.
  • 71% of European consumers consider the environment when making an online order
  • Almost a third are interested in bulking all orders to one weekly delivery.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the proportion of purchases made online has grown from an average of 32% to 43% and is expected to remain at 41% for the foreseeable future. More than half (51%) of consumers have increased the number of purchases they make online, and 51% now make an online purchase at least once a fortnight – almost double the number (28%) pre-pandemic.

Despite these statistics, the research findings underline the fact that deliveries are failing to achieve complete customer satisfaction, with nearly nine in ten (87%) customers not always satisfied with the delivery services received. With satisfaction rates even lower for consumers who have reduced their online buying behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic, the implications of inadequate delivery experiences cannot be overlooked.

Timing is the biggest issue for home deliveries – with two in three (68%) UK consumers reporting a delivery problem in the last three months. Delivery problems radically affect customer perception – and not just of the delivery company. While almost a quarter (24%) lost trust in the delivery company, 24% also lost trust in the retailer and 23% did not buy from that retailer again.

Given that many consumers were a captive audience during COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns, these delivery problems should raise serious alarm bells for retailers. With just 16% of UK consumers confirming they are totally satisfied with the delivery service, a company’s ability to meet its delivery promises will become increasingly important to reinforce the quality of customer experience and maximise the chances of customer retention.

Descartes says questions retailers should, therefore, be seriously considering, include:

  • How proactively is the retailer tracking delivery performance?
  • What is the strategy for managing spiralling delivery costs and optimising driver time?
  • What is the strategy for meeting customers’ environmental expectations? Can the delivery model support bulk orders and green scheduling? Are the right vehicles being automatically assigned to deliver in Clean Air Zones?

Pol Sweeney, VP Sales and Business Manager UK, Descartes, said: “Consumers will not return to pre-pandemic shopping habits; having become used to the convenience of ecommerce, online purchasing will continue to dominate. Individuals have become far more confident and sophisticated online over the past 18 months and expectations have risen, leading retailers to enhance the online experience, but as this research reveals, the quality of the delivery service is undermining the overall customer perception and leading to lost sales. Retailers that take ownership of the entire end-to-end experience and truly optimise the delivery process have the opportunity to transform customer perceptions, drive additional sales and, critically, entice customers from poorer performing competitors.”

Total Supply Chain Summit is just over a month away!

Make sure you secure you place at the Total Supply Chain Summit, which takes place on November 1st & 2nd in Leeds – demand is high, so don’t miss out on your complimentary delegate place!

With the increasing demand surrounding supply chain and logistics at the moment, now more than ever is a crucial time to ensure you have access to as many suppliers as possible.

The Total Supply Chain Summit is an intimate event, that allows you to build business connections with new innovative suppliers via your own personalised “speed-dating” itinerary.

1st & 2nd November – The Queens Hotel, Leeds

We can reserve you a free place at our upcoming event that includes complimentary overnight accommodation, a bespoke itinerary, all meals and refreshments throughout, including a seat at our drinks reception and evening networking dinner.

Plus, enjoy access to a range of insightful seminar sessions including;

“Redefining The Retail Experience” – Explore Industry Trends, Customer Demands and Retail Automation Success for the Store of the Future – Presented by Russell Holmes, Business Development Manager at AutoStore System Ltd

Accept your free place here –

Do you specialise in Labelling & Packaging? 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 October we’ll be focussing on Labelling & Packaging. 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 Labelling & Packaging 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: Oct – Labelling & Packaging Nov – Order Fulfilment Dec – Transport Planning & Load Optimisation

Plotting a path out of disruption that leaves businesses stronger

Constant phone calls and emails looking for space. Trying, or failing, to secure rates that preserve a level of margin. Last minute changes and blanked sailings. These were the daily challenges facing supply chain professionals shared at a forum hosted by Zencargo and B2G Consulting in July.

In response, the two organisations have produced a new roadmap for supply chain transformation Beyond Firefighting: How to start the journey out of supply chain chaos.

This new guide gives supply chain teams the questions, structures and techniques they need to to make a case for fundamental supply chain change within their organisations. And the need for change could not be more urgent.

With current volatility set to last until at least after Chinese New Year in 2022, it’s essential to think of a new way of working. However, leadership at some businesses still seem unwilling to make improving their supply chain a priority.

Moving past the way things are right now requires a whole-business approach, from sales prioritisation to financial planning. For companies that hadn’t already embarked on a supply chain transformation, this is the ideal moment to start making the supply chain more efficient, more resilient, and more fit for purpose. And for those who had already started, it’s time to redouble those efforts, rather than putting them to one side in order to tackle daily fires. 

Bringing about organisational change has to start with, and be led by, supply chain teams. As the experts within the business, it’s down to logistics and commercial professionals to build a case for change and lead the business forward. 

This guide walks you through:

  • Finding a ‘burning issue’ to engage senior management
  • Building a data-led case for change 
  • Packing your arguments to take root internally and drive change 

To find out more about the guide and to start making a difference, click here to download the roadmap.

CEOs upbeat but agree supply chain issues major threat to recovery

CEOs of the world’s largest businesses are increasingly optimistic about the outlook for their own business and despite the Delta variant slowing down the ‘return to normal’ – but remain concerned over problem with supply chains slowing recovery.

The KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook, which asked more than 1,300 global CEOs about their strategies and outlook over a 3-year horizon, finds that 60 percent of leaders are confident about the global economy’s growth prospects over the next 3 years (up from 42 percent in the January/February’s pulse survey).

The prospect of a stronger global economy is leading CEOs to invest in expansion and business transformation, with 69 percent of senior executives identifying inorganic methods (e.g. joint ventures, M&A and strategic alliances) as their organization’s main strategy for growth.

A majority (87 percent) of global leaders stated that they are looking to make acquisitions in the next 3 years to help grow and transform their businesses.

The survey found that 30 percent of CEOs plan to invest more than 10 percent of their revenues toward sustainability measures and programs over the next 3 years.

However, when looking at risks for growth over 3 years, senior executives identified three areas they see as top risks: supply chain, cyber security and climate change. Fifty-six percent of global CEOs say that their business’ supply chain has been under increased stress during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, just 21 percent of CEOs now say they are planning to downsize, or have already downsized, their organization’s physical footprint, a dramatic shift from August 2020, with the first wave of the pandemic at its peak, when 69 percent of global leaders said that they planned to downsize their space.

CEOs are focused instead on providing increased flexibility for their workforce with 51 percent (up from 14 percent in the January/February’s pulse survey) looking to invest in shared office spaces. Furthermore, 37 percent of global executives have implemented a hybrid model of working for their staff, where most employees work remotely 2–3 days a week.