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How can manufacturers mitigate the lasting effects of COVID-19 and Brexit?

It’s no secret that COVID-19 and Brexit have had a lasting effect on a wealth of businesses. In particular, the manufacturing sector has been heavily impacted due to the UK’s withdrawal from the single market and the subsequent restrictions on imports and exports.

However, many manufacturers are optimistic at least in the short term, and a recent government business surveyshows signs of improvement. Manufacturers are the most confident of all businesses, with almost a quarter expecting to see turnover increase. What’s more, manufacturing was only second to information and communications when it came to increased turnover in June 2023.

Here, cable assemblies manufacturer GTK discusses how manufacturers can embrace this optimism and stay afloat in today’s turbulent landscape…

Streamlining processes

With production and supply chain efficiency stalling after Brexit and COVID-19 lockdowns, businesses need to find new ways to streamline their processes. One way to ensure more efficient production is to invest in better machinery and performance solutions.

Whilst updating your systems might be a significant investment, it can reduce overall costs. New technology allows for quicker production, less waste and fewer workers. Investing in new technology or even simple updates for your current machinery, connectivity solutions or production processes can help streamline your workflows, saving time and money.

Matt Eden, Engineering Director at GTK, says: “Having the option to automate time-consuming processes for high-volume work is important for business efficiency and profitability. We recommend that manufacturers who produce custom items have facilities that combine human customisation and process automation. For example, we have machinery that automates repetitive processes like wire cutting, stripping and crimping; however, our people are heavily involved in our custom production elements, like lacing and forming of cable looms.”

Maintaining supply chains

Supply chain disruptions as a result of both Brexit and enforced lockdowns had a negative impact on manufacturing output. This dip in production levels presented a serious problem for many businesses, with the majority searching for ways to adapt to our new normal.

Increased red tape surrounding imports and exports is causing frustration for many companies who trade overseas or who require materials from outside the UK. If international companies close their branches in the UK, this may present issues further down the line when they are faced with paperwork and barriers to smooth, fast trade.

Businesses are being forced to adapt to these new supply chains in order to thrive in this new climate. Paul Dearman, Head of Business Development at GTK, recommends that business leaders create strategies tailored to overcoming these challenges: “While we’ve had this in place for a few years, our Core Material Strategy has allowed us to mitigate supply chain issues caused by these recent events. We keep commonly used components and their associated tooling stocked in high volumes, so we can use these components in our builds without having to go through the red tape repeatedly.

“It’s not too late for businesses to put strategies in place that can create a workaround for these issues, whether that’s holding bulk stock, using alternative parts or working with local suppliers.”

Skills shortages

Free movement between the UK and EU ended with Brexit, with EU citizens now required to prove their settlement status to remain in the country. It’s estimated that this has created a shortage of around 330,000 workers in Britain.

The current points-based immigration system also limits the acquisition of skilled workers in the UK, with those wanting to move to the UK required to achieve at least 70 points through their qualifications and salary. They must also have the ability to speak English.

Immigrants were also one of the groups disproportionately affected by the pandemic, causing a knock-on effect for businesses attempting to recruit further skilled workers. The Workforce Institute at UKG discovered that manufacturers at frontline facilities report being understaffed 38% of the time.

Some manufacturers are attempting to address this skills shortage by implementing automated processes. And while automated processes can help make jobs easier, they can’t replace the large number of staff needed to carry out work that technology can’t replicate. Ultimately, automation should be viewed as a way to assist current staff but should not reduce the overall hiring frequency within a company.

By streamlining services, implementing tailored strategies and combating skills shortages with automated systems, businesses can build a plan to avoid the lasting effects of both Brexit and COVID-19.

Image by Emir Krasnić from Pixabay

Reconfiguration of global supply chain ‘to persist through 2030’

Global supply chains remain disrupted as the COVID-19 pandemic enters the third year and the crisis in Europe creates chaos in Europe-Asia transportation.

Expert Mark Millar said the disturbance offers companies an opportunity to reevaluate their sourcing and production, considering a more regional approach going forward. He also expects global supply chain reconfiguration to last through 2025 to 2030, with some businesses nearshoring and reshoring.

Millar is an internationally known industry expert in logistics and supply chain strategies with over 30 years of global business experience. He is a renowned keynote speaker and author of Global Supply Chain Ecosystems. He will deliver a keynote speech at a webinar hosted by DIGITIMES Asia on August 25: From Long Chains to Short Chains: Reforming Global Supply Chains in the Post-Pandemic Era.

According to Millar, much of the world is still experiencing vast supply chain chaos, while some regions are recovering. The more globalized supply chains are, the more prevalent the disruption gets. However, the challenges companies face today differ from two years ago, especially with the ongoing conflict, which Millar described as a “black swan” event.

He said that during 2021, an additional one million cargo containers traveled by rail from the East, mainly China, to Western Europe due to the significant congestion in the sea freight shipping sector.

Most of those routes go through Russia and are not available now. Therefore, freight forwarders and logistics companies must find space for the containers on ships which are already full to capacity.

On a broader basis, the crisis in Europe has impacted the availability of oil and gas and increased energy prices. Millar said the situation has created a knock-on effect on the global transportation network serving supply chains.

More nearshoring and reshoring to come

What can companies do to tackle the challenges? While it is an overused term, Millar said collaboration among the supply chain partners is the practical way to get through the crisis in the short to mid-term. The effort includes finding alternative sources or transportation routes that may be more expensive but can deliver the goods to the final destination.

On a medium-term basis, Millar said the disruption has created an opportunity for reevaluation after 30 years of globalization. For instance, companies might want to take a more regional approach in the future that would build more resilience into their supply chains and reduce emissions.

In fact, a movement of businesses reconfiguring their supply chains has started. Millar said some companies are looking at or implementing nearshoring, moving sourcing and production closer to the final destination market. Others are considering moving sourcing and production back into the final destination, which is reshoring, also known as on-shoring.

“We’ll see a movement towards a more regional approach to supply chains,” Millar said.

The expert added that in the European scenario, Poland, Turkey and even some North African countries with low-cost labor forces and are geographically close to Europe would all come into play as potential nearshoring locations.

Sourcing and production to remain strong in Asia

With all the nearshoring and reshoring coming, questions about whether reconfiguring supply chains would affect Asia’s, especially China’s, role as the manufacturing powerhouse have been raised.

Millar said due to multiple reasons, there will not be a mass exodus, only a proportion of production will be moved out of China or Asia. For example, some of the supply chains are so complex and fine-tuned that relocating them would be prohibitively expensive and risky.

Moreover, the majority of growth in the consumer class will continue to originate from Asiauntil at least 2030. Millar said the increase would almost make up for what would exit Asiafor nearshoring. Therefore, production and sourcing for supply chains in Asia will remain strong to serve the region.

Additionally, the China government has taken the dual circulation strategy to foster greater self-reliance for its economy. The policy will provide extra impetus to boost production within China.

Millar concluded that the real movement of reconfiguring global supply chains will become evident from 2025 to 2030. Besides nearshoring and reshoring, companies would concentrate supply chains in China for the products they sell locally – “In China for China“. Furthermore, the diversification around Asia would result in a China-Plus strategy, creating supply chains built in Asia for Asia.

Some CEOs and CFOs of major listed companies are now involved in the strategic decisions of supply chains, Millar said. Lots of executive boardroom discussions about future supply chain directions will be ongoing. The results will gradually unfold over the next five to 10 years.

“The global supply chain landscape in 2030 will be pretty different to what we’ve been used to for the last decade or so,” Millar added.

You can join the DIGITIMES Supply Chain Webinar here.

Does your supply chain need an upgrade?

By InspireXT

Disruptions will continue to occur, how prepared are you for the unexpected?

The recent COVID-19 pandemic saw that organisations with higher maturity in supply chain digitisation were equipped for quicker business rebound than others. Today, it’s imperative for organisations to consider tactical imperatives to enhance their agility, resilience, and cost-effectiveness.

Strategically aligned and responsive supply chain frameworks and accurate data sources can help businesses gain insights and enable them to continuously outperform market conditions. It’s time for leaders to be proactive in optimising their end-to-end processes with technology to ensure excellence across the extended value chain.

At InspireXT, we leverage leading Cloud technologies, our award-winning value chain framework, and our customers’ existing technology assets to deliver a unique CONNECTED SUPPLY CHAIN solution. The Connected Supply Chain helps businesses unify order fulfillment, transportation, trade, and warehouse capabilities, provides visibility into orders and shipments from start to finish in real-time, optimises regional and global stock, all while reducing overall logistics and distribution costs—empowering organisations to deliver best-in-class service to their customers.

Our Connected Supply Chain comprises the following components that have multifold business benefits, from achieving the perfect order to executing the perfect delivery.

  • Efficient Order Orchestration solution that seamlessly architects the order journey—from capture to fulfilment and manages omnichannel complexities to deliver best-in-class customer experience.
  • Consistent Product Portfolio offers standardised capabilities that are easy to manage and measure with meaningful extensibility that product stewards can implement to greatly reduce time-to-value.
  • Product Customisation is a response to rapidly changing customer requirements and offers tailor-made solutions that enable businesses remain agile and nimble.
  • We ensure businesses become resilient to overcome disruptions through Continuous Innovation that starts with establishing their end-to-end architecture and then adds the requisite building blocks.
  • InspireXT’s Balanced Supply & Demand solution connects multiple demand channels to a common process model, eliminating complexity and providing end-to-end transparency.

If you think your supply chain needs an upgrade, we’ll help you transform it!

Visit to find out how!

OPINION: Once the supply chain crisis subsides, we can digitally transform our way to a better future

By Quy Le, Head of Delivery, FPT UK

It was impossible to go through 2021 without hearing about the crisis afflicting global supply chains.  Back in the first quarter of 2020 the pandemic triggered a catastrophic sequence of events that would ultimately impact how efficiently the world’s distribution networks operated.

As Covid-19 ripped across the world and instigated lockdowns across nations and industries, including manufacturing, many assumed that global demand would drop.  As we know, the opposite happened, and the pandemic ended up supercharging the public’s appetite for goods as people ended up spending less on things like travel and eating out, preferring to make a beeline for shopping online.  Retail sales for items like home improvements, home office setups, exercise machines et al all went through the roof.

Even though production could be increased to meet the demand, sourcing parts or raw materials gradually became more difficult as parts of the world remained in differing states of shutdown.  Transportation delays, temporary port closures, container shortages, absent and reduced workforces all conspired to destabilise the intricate supply lines that delivered items around the world.  No industry escaped the carnage.  Food supplies, on occasion, became sporadic.  The availability of consumer goods was, for several periods, erratic.  A lack of vital semiconductors caused upheaval across several industries, notably the automotive sector, with production lines around the world having to close for weeks at a time due to a lack of components.

The pandemic created the conditions for a perfect storm – collapsing all the efficiencies built into the world’s supply chains.

When our distribution systems do return to previous, and they will, operating smoothly once again, they are the epitome of precision collaboration, coordination and communication.  These disruptions over the last two years have taught us some valuable lessons as well as bought us time to reflect on how products are produced and some of the insourcing and outsourcing requirements.  The vulnerability of our supply chains has forced some re-evaluation on how we can improve things and whether technologies such as digital transformation, artificial intelligence or 5G could play a part in alleviating problems if they occurred again.

Data Analytics is an imperative in logistics

Today, data is driving the economy and disrupting how businesses operate.  Data analytics in logistics is one of the domains that is experiencing widespread adoption and utilisation.  The intricate structure of the supply chain makes logistics a perfect use case.  Information can be extracted from numerous internal and external sources and touch-points along the chain i.e., traditional operational systems, sensors incorporated in vehicles, connected devices, suppliers, partners and customers.  Valuable insights from the data will unlock efficiencies and optimise business.

Faster delivery at lower cost

With hundreds or even thousands of vehicles to manage daily, determining the optimum travel routes to minimise fuel or energy costs while ensuring deliveries are on-time is a major headache.  Data analytics have been streamlining route optimisations – the process of determining the most cost-effective route with routing systems.  Vast amounts of data are garnered from shipment information, vehicle capacity, holidays, road quality, traffic densities, crime hotspots and weather conditions which can be leveraged to calculate the most efficient route and stop sequences for fleets or to determine the most suitable modes of transportation (airplane, truck, train or ship) for long-distance routes, as well as the junction points to optimise the flow through the supply chain.

With real-time-routing solutions, on-the-fly data is collected and analysed to control delivery routes.  Shippers, drivers and recipients can respond to real-time events and plan remediation alternatives.  Routing intelligence balances changes in weather, traffic congestion and access to each destination with information about the availability and location of the receiver guiding drivers to the next best point of delivery to avoid an unsuccessful delivery attempt.

Not only do route optimisations systems help to reduce fuel and energy costs, overtime expenses, windshield and planning times they also improve the on-time arrival rates and fleet utilisations; the product being improved customer satisfaction.

Elements of AI are also finding their way into predictive analytics systems for intelligent transportation, route and demand planning.  Big Data from the supply chain is analysed to identify patterns that help provide insights into every link of the supply chain.

Smarter warehouses

Warehouses go beyond the role of just storing and handling goods.  Smart warehouse systems utilise various interconnected technologies to form an ecosystem to automatically track where goods are received, identified, sorted, organised and prepared for shipment.  Smarter warehouses automate the entire operation from supplier to customer.  Data analytics, combined with automation, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence, provide enterprises with a bird’s eye view of the entire warehouse operation and relay back performance information related to the organisation and the delivery of goods.  A smart warehouse improves productivity, efficiency, and accuracy while providing more flexibility and capability.

Lots of information can be collected from sensors to help keep track of parcel movements and detect abnormalities in the routes of forklifts.  The monitoring of temperature and moisture levels will help companies plan the most efficient routes for picking perishable products and reduce wastage.  While insights into inventory management reveal which parts of the warehouse are the busiest i.e., what products are in high demand and where should seasonal products should be stored to maximise full use of the floor space.

Furthermore, logistics operators have control over stock inventory at each warehouse based on historical and real-time data on customer demand and buying behaviours.  An example where this may be useful is when popular products are ordered within a certain area.  The closest warehouse to that region carries a higher inventory of that specific product to meet demand.  Data-related technologies also enable companies to optimise the number, location and capacity of warehouses to minimise capital investment and ensure more efficient warehouse management.

More accurate planning

Over the past few years, the logistics industry has benefitted from predictive analytics advances.  Algorithms anticipate future behaviours based on historical data for predictive analytics to forecast supply and demand.  Businesses can make more intelligent decisions about inventory planning, shipments, labour and capacity requirements.  Logistics operators can generate reports on customer preferences, forecast demand and allocate workforce and resources accordingly.  Predicting machine failures more accurately would make maintaining a site easier.  Repairs or servicing can be factored in before they need to occur.  Catching these issues ahead of time, maximises equipment uptime, reduces delays and rationalises operational costs.

Digitally transforming logistics for a better future

Global supply chains are lean and mean – and operate smoothly.  While the pandemic exposed some of its fragilities embracing digital transformation has the potential to help logistics companies to take operations to another level – improving efficiencies, enhancing customer experiences as well better preparing us for unexpected events.  Exploiting the data available is central to success as we digitally transform our way to a better future.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT: T S Europe helps you manage logistics uncertainty

The lorry driver shortage is making headlines again. Grocery store shelves are empty, the prices of goods are increasing, and businesses are beginning to worry. The logistics world is volatile as industries are faced with the challenge of acclimating to the new, demanding changes.

Amid the chaos, Transport Services Europe has embraced the storm and is actively adapting to the new changes. By continuously analysing the market, keeping up with freight affairs, and speaking to different suppliers, we have formulated a comprehensive approach to tackle the driver shortage.

The business model of T S Europe is structured around providing a service that ensures fluid and transparent communication with an emphasis on reliability, – all while remaining competitive.  As a result, we have established, maintained and developed positive relationships with clients, such as Aldi, and McDonald’s.

The impact of Brexit and Covid has led to companies being faced with late deliveries, customs problems, and a competitive market. When transportation issues arise in the supply chain, businesses and consumers alike face the consequences. As such, T S Europe highlights the importance of establishing mutual trust with your transport partners. The added security of having a transport partner by your side every step of the way is crucial for a business to run smoothly.

In times of need, a helping hand makes all the difference.

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.”

Easing of lockdown and effect on the supply chain

With Step 4 of the Government’s ‘Roadmap out of Lockdown’ delayed beyond June 21st, Oliver Hall, Managing Director at allmanhall, the independently owned food procurement experts, comments on its effect on the supply chain and the foodservice sector…

After a challenging fifteen months, the food service sector is trying to remobilise and welcome back customers but is facing added complications from a supply chain under extreme pressure from multiple lockdowns. The challenges faced by suppliers are nationwide, and are a culmination of factors including the re-opening of hospitality creating an unprecedented surge in demand, recent good weather resulting in further heightened demand, and an extreme shortage of drivers UK-wide.

With these unexpected pressures on the supply chain, one unavoidable outcome is changes to delivery days and delivery frequency being enacted by suppliers. The national shortage of HGV drivers has had a huge impact on the whole supply chain with foodservice suppliers experiencing a knock-on effect on both in-bound and out-bound deliveries. Suggestions and proposals are being made to the Government, in an attempt to alleviate the driver shortages, even including military intervention.

One way for foodservice providers to reduce the risk of inconvenience, is to place orders with suppliers  with as much advanced notice as possible,  a minimum of day 1 for day 3 ordering wherever feasible. These longer lead times will reduce disappointment and help ensure orders are booked before any temporary cut offs are imposed by suppliers. Some suppliers are also making other adjustments, such as restricting the availability of a significant number of ambient and non-food split product lines. This will help to speed up picking times and help vehicle dispatch times, thus helping to meet delivery expectations.

Forward planning and communication are crucial when it comes to placing orders or liaising with suppliers over stock shortages and alternatives. However, all sectors of the hospitality industry have had to adapt “on the job” to deal with major changes in the way they operate. Staff shortages and training deficits is a worrying outcome of the lockdown, and together with depleted financial reserves, and the intensity of new operational requirements (increased cleaning, sanitisation, supervision of customers to ensure they are leaving their contact details, logging in using track and trace), may impact back-office tasks. 

By allocating these tasks to team members and ensuring they have the capacity to do the work along with other operational requirements, pressures can be eased.  It’s important to remember that all suppliers are struggling and many are working together to address shortages and meet customer’s demands. Another alternative is to outsource to a procurement provider, who will have a case and resolution handling service, and a helpdesk who can contact suppliers on your behalf.

Another result of the pandemic has been a rise in prices of foodstuffs. allmanhall operates analysis and insight updates throughout the year on food pricing, and 2021 is likely to be a volatile year which  is now being experienced through the supply chain. Many input prices and raw material costs are at the highest that they have been during the last 4 years, with a resulting rise in food prices.

A procurement expert will monitor these price fluctuations, negotiating and mitigating price increases as much as possible.

Digitalisation in the supply chain – Better solutions made easier

By Kevin Rogers, Managing Director, Elanders UK

The COVID pandemic has resulted in much being written about the importance of a robust supply chain and how it is managed and controlled. In that context, what has the past 18 months taught us as consumers and as managers in the supply chain? Amongst many:

  • The need for greater supply chain resilience and the better use of data / technology.
  • The need for agility in both the design and execution of a supply chain solution.
  • Cost is important – but – is it all that is important?
  • Greater clarity on product segregation that we now buy – critical to have vs like to have. 

Progress and evolution of supply chain solutions will always keep happening – what worked yesterday will probably have to change and adapt to meet tomorrow’s needs. Keeping businesses fresh and on point, utilising the latest technology and data to support this constant evolution is now the norm. For businesses – this constant progression and development of solutions is a fundamental strategic requirement to be successful in the future.

As consumers, we have seen a rapid change in both what we buy, but more importantly how we buy the products and items we need. The prolific rise in the e-commerce and omni-channel retail use is also changing the business landscape. For retailers, who historically managed the direct customer interface and engagement in a physical shop, they now must pivot their customer experience to more of the on-line solution – where the actual physical interface and engagement is now via the supply chain solution and delivery.

E-commerce solutions though have their problems. As consumers, we become increasingly more defined on what items we now want and buy on-line, and it is easy to get frustrated and “dissatisfied” with the buying experience because of the lack of personalisation, engagement and communication that may happen during a sale. Where this is really visible though is in how returns are managed and processed from consumer back to the retailer. 

This is where the Elanders Supply Chain return product integrated platform can support. Using technology and data to make better informed decisions that benefit both the consumer and the retailer. 

  • For the consumer – how they feel the returns process is conducted and how they feel the interaction back with the retailer values them.
  • For the retailer – how it allows both a bespoke classification of the individual consumer and what return rules apply per individual and how each specific SKU is assessed for its e-commerce profitability and contribution.

Historically – many organisations had one business solution for all return’s management and interaction with the consumer. Today, there is now a single returns management platform and operational solution that is agile in its structure, adaptable in its scale and customisable in its interaction with individual consumer. The Elanders platform integrates the customer returns experience with the retailing profitability needs – data driven technology that makes a better solution for all and helps make life that little bit easier.

Elanders Supply Chain: Customer returns solutions – Reimagined. 

For further info please visit or contact

Supply Chains 2023 – A dramatic focus shift in business requirement

By Elanders

As global economies start to extract themselves out from the grip of COVID restrictions, with the need for businesses to continuously pivot and adapt to short term blockages and lockdowns, the role of the supply chain has rapidly moved up the Board level agendas.

The short-term impacts like rising container shipping costs on core routes; the Suez Canal blockage; compounded by more longer-term impacts like the rise in e-commerce and Trade relationship changes (like Brexit) – it looks like the future will be based on a platform of continuous change and challenge for many organisations.

Supply chains must adapt and adapt quickly. The relationship between customers, their supply chain and any partners used in that supply chain will no doubt change as the post COVID transition period continues.

So, what can all this mean for a supply chain solution? One word and solution covers the many possible outcomes, and that word is “agility”. Where in the past, a customer may have tried to functionally optimise specific individual supply chain elements in isolation, going forwards he will no doubt need to synchronise the complete supply chain process and solution.

Organisations that provide just a single service or capability may well struggle – ones that can offer customers multiple solution capabilities will be the ones that drive the agendas and growth. The rise in environmental and sustainability of a supply chain has also started to impact corporate decision making – where in the past supply chain solutions were maybe chosen on cost and capability, going forwards it could be about sustainability / environment and customer service solutions that drive the agendas.

Agility in design and agility in supply chain execution will require new relationships between supply chain parties – one based on true integration capability, flexibility in business relationship and a wide geographical coverage. Welcome to the Integrated agile supply chain partner.

The Elanders Group is already well on the way to supporting its customers with the integrated offer.  Today, we are already offering the integrated solution capability:

  • Designing environmentally friendly e-commerce packaging for products that are then managed through agile e-commerce solution hubs, using the latest technology. 
  • When the product has reached its end-of-life stage, Elanders offers a value recovery solution that feeds into the circular economy strategic objective.
  • Sustainable solutions; customer service raised via integrated supply chain visibility; depth in solution execution with breadth in solution capability; responsive without a large corporate noose; business focused with the agile financial backing.

An agile complete supply chain provider that has an integrated customer focused offer today. Elanders Group – meeting the supply chain business needs of 2023 – today.

For further info please visit Elanders website or contact us on