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Stuart O'Brien

Do you specialise in 3PL & 4PL? 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 September we’ll be focussing on 3PL & 4PL.

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 3PL & 4PL 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.

Here’s our features list in full:

Sept – 3PL & 4PL

Oct – Labelling & Packaging

Nov – Order Fulfilment

Dec – Transport Planning & Load Optimisation

Brexit & COVID in focus at the Total Supply Chain Summit

Effects from Brexit, coping with the relaxation of Covid restrictions and sourcing the latest tech help are currently hot topic’s within the industry – The Total Supply Chain Summit can help you to explore the latest innovations, including: Warehousing, Automation, Demand Planning, Distribution, Brexit and many more.

DATE: 1st & 2nd November
VENUE: The Queens Hotel, Leeds

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

You can easily compare and benchmark potential products, services and solutions alongside fellow professionals, who are attending to source and research suppliers for their upcoming projects.

Please can you confirm your reservation details here via our online form – www.totalsupplychainsummit.co.uk/booking-form/

Half of UK firms decrease R&D as a result of Covid-19

45% of UK firms have decreased their research and development initiatives during the covid-19 pandemic, with even 18% of firms halting theirs altogether, according to new research from Durham University Business School.

However, 40% of firms have invested in their ICT, likely to be the result of firms having to facilitate working from home and remote engagement with customers, say the researchers.

Conducted by Richard Harris and John Moffat, Professors of Economics at Durham University Business School, the study seeks to understand the impact of the pandemic on UK firms’ research and development plans and whether or not companies had refocused their efforts in terms of investments.

The researchers interviewed over 4500 UK companies during the period between October and November 2020. Questions were centred around the firm size, industry, history of operations, before taking a more specific look at the companies’ previous research and development investment initiatives.

The results of the study suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic will have long-lasting negative effects on productivity and growth for firms, whilst increased ICT investment reflects the necessity for firms to become more digital.

Professor Richard Harris said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects on the world economy, and in the UK specifically Bank of England figures suggest that it has led to the largest fall in GDP since 1709. While the short-run effects of the early stages of the pandemic are now well understood, less is known about its implications for growth in the medium to long-term.

“Our research findings clearly show that research and development spending dropped drastically during the covid-19 pandemic, which likely will have a negative impact on productivity and growth in the medium to longer term.”

The research reveals that the fall in intangibles investment is distributed unevenly across firms, with industry playing a major role in predicting the change in investment and internationally-oriented firms experiencing smaller declines in the early stages of the pandemic.

These research findings showcase the huge impact that covid-19 pandemic has had not only in the short-term, but in the long-term too for UK firms, with it likely that firms will have challenges related to productivity and growth in years to come due to the lack of R&D over the last year and a half.

Top supply chain priorities in light of climate crisis and COVID

Research from Reuters Events Supply Chain in partnership with Blue Yonder has revealed the priority strategies and investments for supply chain execution and risk management within transportation and warehousing.

Following a year of intense changes in the logistics industry, The State of Supply Chain Execution Report 2021 analysed the anonymous responses of supply chain professionals and found that the COVID-19 pandemic, customer centricity, rising e-commerce complexity and costs, need for Direct-to-Consumer (D2C), and the risk of financial peril are propelling retailers, manufacturers and logistics service providers (LSPs) to digitally transform.  

E-commerce and D2C Volumes Skyrocket  

E-commerce shows no signs of slowing down. Companies looking to capitalize on the omni-channel opportunities created by increased online-order volume over the last 18 months are prioritizing more agile delivery and fulfillment models, like D2C: 

·         Retailers’/manufacturers’ online sales increased more than 120% over the past year. LSPs have seen e-commerce volumes explode, reporting a 200% increase compared to 2019-2020.   

“As the economy transitions to a post-pandemic environment, retailers, manufacturers and LSPs are transforming their transportation and broader supply chain operations to address their most pressing supply chain challenges,” said Raj Patel, senior director, 3PL Industry Strategy, Blue Yonder. “In the long term, investment in execution systems like Transportation Management Systems (TMS) and Warehouse Management Systems (WMS), as well as end-to-end visibility, automation, and cloud strategies will help them – and their customers – build more sustainable, resilient and agile organizations for the future.” 

Pandemic Prompts Re-evaluation of Supply Chain Risk Management 

From constraints on raw materials, to labor shortages, to growing cybersecurity threats on distributed networks, pandemic-related challenges have shifted supply chain risk management priorities: 

·         Respondents are hesitant to pursue near/onshoring plans, with only 29% of retailers/manufacturers making an investment. 

·         63% of retailers/manufacturers stated that dual-sourcing was a favored strategy for risk management moving forward. Constraints on the availability of raw materials caused supply side disruptions, even for those with distributed manufacturing facilities. 

·         Environmental concerns are also being considered when planning for supply chain risks. Over half (53%) of retailers/manufacturers and half (50%) of LSPs plan to invest in sustainability as a strategy for risk management. 

Companies Prioritise Digital-First Practices and Technology Investments  

With the growth of e-commerce, investment in modern supply chain technologies and new approaches have become essential for businesses to keep pace with shifting trends and customer expectations. The report found that there are various factors driving investment in supply chain technologies and digital-first practices: 

·         LSPs cited the pressure to reduce supply chain costs (58%) while also improving service levels for their retailer customers (48%) and dealing with labor shortages (30%). 

In the current supply chain environment, companies are moving away from legacy systems and prioritizing technologies that enable visibility for customers and their operations, automate processes and support enterprise agility.   

·         63% of retailers/manufacturers and 60% of LSPs agreed that end-to-end visibility is currently yielding the highest ROI in their supply chain execution process. 

·         Roughly half (48%) of retailers/manufacturers and more than half (57%) of LSPs have a robust cloud strategy in place, helping to create high levels of infrastructure agility that on-premise, legacy technology systems can’t achieve. 

Richard Ebach, CIO Americas, DB Schenker, said: “In the current supply chain environment, companies need good visibility into their transportation/ freight and partners that help them operate in a very agile, resilient manner. Knowing this, we’ve been investing in technology that provides good visibility for customers and their operations; tools that support enterprise agility; supply chain automation solutions; and zero-trust IT security tools. Combined, these technology solutions help our customers address their most pressing supply chain challenges while also helping them build stronger, more resilient organisations for the future.”

Total Supply Chain Summit: Secure your place at November’s event!

Will you be joining us in Leeds this November for the next Total Supply Chain Summit?

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

Your complimentary reserved place includes;
– Overnight accommodation at the venue – free of charge
– A corporate “speed-dating” itinerary of one-to-one meetings with solution providers
– A seat at all industry seminar sessions (included within your itinerary)
– Complimentary meals and refreshments throughout
– Networking breaks to make new connections in your field

Within the logistics industry, being pre-pared for a post pandemic world, keeping costs low and staying up to date on the latest technology is essential.

The Total Supply Chain Summit can help you to explore the latest innovations, including: Warehousing, Automation, Demand Planning, Distribution, Brexit and many more.

Please RSVP here – www.totalsupplychainsummit.co.uk/booking-form/

Or if you would like to discuss your reservation in more detail, please do not hesitate to contact Nick Stannard on n.stannard@forumevents.co.uk

SLG Brands: Enabling better supply chain visibility

By Zencargo

SLG Brands is a design-driven beauty company, whose products are found in the UK’s biggest high street retailers. Key to their brand is ensuring availability for in-demand items. Working with Zencargo, SLG were able to take control of origin operations to manage costs and drive revenue.

Challenge

Working with disconnected systems, SLG were unable to get the visibility they needed on inbound SKUs. This left their supply chain team rushing reactively to organise shipments as they became ready, resulting in inefficient container fill and high workloads.

Solution

SLG moved all their purchase orders and suppliers onto Zencargo’s cloud-based platform, creating transparency and accountability across the supply chain. Zencargo’s operations team also worked with SLG to manage purchase orders from placing them with manufacturers all the way to arrival at their customers’ DCs.

Results

With advanced visibility, SLG were able to plan orders and loads strategically, improving container fill percentages and enabling them to secure capacity in advance. They were also able to provide their retailer customers with more reliable delivery schedules and communicate any changes long in advance.

Learn how our advanced supply chain platform can help you drive more value for your business.

Reusing 10% will stop 50% of plastic waste from entering the ocean

It is possible to prevent almost half of annual plastic ocean waste by reusing just 10% of our plastics products – just one of the key findings of The Future of Reusable Consumption Models Report.

The report is a collaboration between the World Economic Forum and Kearney and suggests that shifting from single use towards a ‘reuse’ model of consumption can help society regain ground in the fight against plastic waste. Currently, 50% of global plastic production is for single use and only 14% of global plastic packaging is collected for recycling. The report outlines the urgent need to drive a systemic shift towards reuse models as an integral part of the reduce-reuse-recycle agenda.

‘Reuse’ is a production and consumption model gaining ground around the world as an alternative to single-use. In this model, consumer items are designed to be used several times, generating added value across the economy.

The findings are based on proposals by governments and NGOs around the world and research conducted with senior leaders from private and public sectors. The team conducted in-depth interviews, data analysis and scenario modelling to create first of its kind framework that can be applied across consumer product categories and geographies.

Three scenarios show how much plastic waste could be reduced from ocean and landfills if a reuse model is used:

Scenario One: Between 10 and 20% of plastic packaging could be reusable by 2030. This equates to 7-13 million tonnes of plastic packaging, representing 45-90% of annual plastic ocean waste.

Scenario Two Reusables make up between 20% and 40% of packaging, equivalent to 90–185% of annual plastic ocean waste or 25–50% of plastic landfill waste.

Scenario Three If between 40-70% of all packaging is reusable, it would equal anywhere from 185% to 320% of annual plastic ocean waste or 50–85% of plastic landfill waste.

Zara Ingilizian, Head of Consumer Industries and Consumption at World Economic Forum, said: “The shift from disposable consumer goods to reusables is still in its early stages, but there are already signs of progress. Just as recycling and composting were once considered eccentric and electric cars were written off as science fiction, when it comes to sustainability, attitudes about just what is viable are changing rapidly. Reuse may well prove to be among the most potent manifestations of that shift.”

Beth Bovis, Project Leader, Partner, Leader of Global Social Impact & Sustainability at Kearney, said: “We need to shift from merely “treating” or “handling” waste to simply never creating it in the first place. But any shift towards reusable consumer goods will depend on the choices and actions of the three driving forces of our economy: consumers, the private sector and the public sector. Each of these groups has a unique role to play in making reuse a reality. The need for a more reuse-centred economic model is urgent and grows more so with each passing year. It is up to all stakeholders to answer the call.”

Mayuri Ghosh, Head of Consumers Beyond Disposability initiative, Future of Consumption Platform at World Economic Forum, said: “When we talk of the three scenarios, it is worth emphasizing that any of these scenarios would represent extremely valuable progress over the present status quo. The plastic waste challenge has grown too large for us to simply recycle our way out of. With no global agreement over an ambition level to target plastic waste, the sooner we can make systemic and meaningful advance towards reuse, the better.”

The report goes into these scenarios in depth and provides detailed information on the methodology. It addresses some of the key challenges businesses and the public sector have faced about reuse, namely, how to make reuse scalable and viable.

The report aims to give leaders in business, government, civil society a clear picture of an alternative plastic waste-reduction model. The first half of the report discusses the three primary actors of systems change required. The second half presents the Reuse Viability Framework to help leaders make reuse scaleable and viable.

It calls for the public and the private sectors to collaborate on the development of reuse systems to meet the needs of our economy and the environment. It is part of the World Economic Forum‘s Consumers Beyond Disposability initiative, which focuses on innovative reuse solutions, and has been working to test and scale such solutions.

WEBINAR: Retail profitability the focus of new event collaboration between Zencargo and Bis Henderson

Retail margins are under increasing threat from soaring freight rates, poor carrier reliability and fluctuating demand. In response, Zencargo, the digital freight forwarder has announced a new online forum to analyse end-to-end retail profitability.

Scheduled for 14:00 on the 12th August, Guarding profitability through disruption: the retailers guide is being delivered in collaboration with Louisa Hosegood, of global supply chain consultancy Bis Henderson, who formerly held senior logistic roles within Marks and Spencer and John Lewis.

The online event comes in response to the unprecedented disruption in ocean and air freight that threatens the profitability, and even the survival, of many businesses. The event’s moderator, and Zencargo co-founder and CCO, Richard Fattal explains:

“The rules have completely changed, and every business needs to be keeping an eye on their bottom line profitability. It’s not just about logistics teams any more – finance, sales and data teams need to be working together to create joined up decision making that works for the whole business.”

“The changes in logistics, commercial environment and social habits formed in the last 18 months will have long-lasting consequences. Consumers will be voting with their wallets based on new values, higher expectations and evolving ways of living and working. The businesses that can adapt to these changes are the ones that will be able to maintain and grow profits.”

The topics under discussion include:

  • Analysing and comparing the commercial environment of 2021 with recent years
  • Managing customer expectations through uncertainty
  • Calculating landed costs of goods in a volatile environment
  • Updating planning and execution strategies to maximise flexibility and profit.

To read more about the webinar and to register, click here and save your place.

Supply chain management & planning solutions – 2021 buying trends revealed

Distribution, Logistics Management and Operations Management top the list of services the UK’s leading supply chain professionals are sourcing in 2021. The findings have been revealed by the Total Supply Chain Summit and are based on delegate requirements at this year’s events. Delegates registering to attend are asked which areas they needed to invest in during 2021 and beyond. A significant 60% are looking to invest in Distribution and 53.3% for Logistics Management. Operations Management and Supply Chain Planning both came in at 46.7%. Just behind were Delivery Management (40%) and Home Delivery Solutions (both 40%). % of delegates at the Total Supply Chain Summit sourcing certain products & solutions (Top 10): Distribution 60% Logistics Management 53.3% Operations Management 46.7% Supply Chain Planning & Optimisation Software 46.7% Delivery Management 40% Home Delivery Solutions 40% Outsourcing 40.0% Inventory Optimisation 33.3% Network Optimisation 33.3% Order Fulfillment 33.3% To find out more about the Total Supply Chain Summit, visit https://totalsupplychainsummit.co.uk.

71% of supply chain IoT projects only ‘somewhat successful’

UK organisations are being challenged with connectivity, device deployment and rollout to a greater extent than their US counterparts, according to a new State of IoT Adoption Study published by global IoT connectivity specialist Eseye.

41% of UK respondents said connectivity was a top challenge compared to 29% in the US. Likewise, 36% of UK respondents said device deployment and rollout was also a key issue, compared to only 28% of US respondents. This is likely because UK survey respondents have more multi-region deployments than those in the USA.

As a result, IoT projects have failed to reach their full potential according to three quarters of UK enterprises who have embarked upon an IoT initiative in the last 12 months.

The Study was undertaken by independent research organisation, Opinion Matters, among 250 UK and 250 USA-based senior decision makers and implementers of IoT strategy within five vertical markets. It explores the current state of IoT adoption; the challenges, opportunities and untapped potential of IoT; the impact of COVID-19 and how this has accelerated adoption; and the criticality of intelligent connectivity to fuel future growth.

Key UK IoT adoption findings:

  • 85% of UK respondents said IoT is a priority for their business.
  • 54% of respondents are planning further projects in the next two to three years.
  • 91% are planning budget increases for IoT initiatives; 41% plan to boost spending by between 51 and 100%.
  • 99% said that COVID-19 has impacted their IoT plans; for 28% it has accelerated development of their IoT initiative and 30% said they had increased investment plans. Only 19% of UK respondents had cancelled IoT initiatives owing to the pandemic, compared to 33% in the USA.
  • However, 76% of UK respondents said that their IoT project was at best only somewhat successful in meeting expectations and realising benefits.
  • Connectivity, device deployment and security were cited as top challenges; 41% said cellular connectivity was their biggest hurdle, while for 36% device deployment and rollout, and security had proved difficult.
  • Cellular IoT deployments have still not reached anywhere near critical mass; most UK respondents (90%) had deployed fewer than 10,000 devices.

IoT at a tipping point

The Study found the larger the project, the faster the acceleration as organisations embrace IoT. The more devices respondents have in the field, the more they are planning to deploy in the coming twelve months. This indicates a tipping point in IoT projects in terms of scale. However, of 250 UK respondents only 8% had deployed between 10,001 devices and 100,000 in the field and only 2% had deployed more than 100,000 devices.

Increasing profit, reducing costs, disrupting markets and business models

IoT projects are undertaken by innovative organisations to disrupt traditional business models and deliver tangible business benefits. When asked about the benefits their IoT initiative has or is predicted to deliver 36% of UK respondents said it increased profit, 34% said it enabled the business to enter new markets, 34% said it helped to reduce costs and 29% of respondents said their initiative was aimed at delivering new lines of business.

Nick Earle, CEO, Eseye, said: “Is IoT finally coming of age here in the UK? Certainly, our results indicate that there is a level of maturity and an eagerness to fuel adoption plans here in the UK. Surveyed UK companies see IoT as a way to increase profit and reduce costs as well as disrupt business models and introduce new product lines. However, adoption is not without its challenges. We know security and connectivity have been an issue for businesses rolling out large-scale IoT projects. To this point cellular connectivity was a far bigger challenge for UK respondents than USA, with 41% saying it was the biggest hurdle they had to overcome versus 29% in the US. This is likely down to the fact that UK respondents are more multi-region with deployments than the USA, where deployments still tend to be national and focused on the domestic market.”

Technology drivers

Cloud and remote access were cited as the top technology drivers by 48% of UK respondents which, given the events of the past year, is not surprising, as many businesses look to accelerate their digital transformation plans with IoT initiatives. 5G was the second highest technology driver for UK respondents with 42% compared to 35% in the USA where respondents rated LPWAN technologies (45%) and Intelligent Edge hardware (44%) higher.

Intelligent connectivity

As the UK market matures and more organisations embark on multi-region rollouts, the importance of intelligent connectivity is growing. UK respondents were asked to what extent they agreed or disagreed with the statement, “I think the evolution of intelligent connectivity is going to be critical to continue to fuel adoption of IoT?” Overall, 81% of all UK respondents either somewhat or strongly agree with this statement. 33% strongly agree with this statement compared to 21% of respondents in the USA. In fact, nearly one-quarter of USA (23%) of respondents were ambivalent towards this statement, neither agreeing nor disagreeing.

Earle continued: “UK organisations are clearly determined to overcome the challenges they’ve identified, with 91% planning to increase budget, more than eight out of ten stating that IoT is a priority for the business, and over half of UK respondents planning future IoT projects. Therefore, IoT adoption is well under way and the pandemic has negatively impacted plans less here in the UK, with only 19% cancelling projects compared to nearly a third in the US. With that maturity comes challenges and certainly device onboarding and rollouts was cited as more of a challenge by UK respondents than USA. Likewise, 5G is definitely more on the radar here in the UK than the USA, which isn’t surprising as the UK was one of the earliest countries to officially commercialise 5G.”

Eseye’s State of IoT Adoption Report offers detailed analysis of the IoT challenges and trends affecting businesses in the UK and USA, and examines the variation between vertical markets including: Smart Vending; Supply Chain and Logistics; EV Charging and Smart Grid; Manufacturing; and Healthcare and Medical Devices.

Download the full report here.