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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 www.elanders.co.uk or contact us on addingvalue@elanders.com

Post Brexit Supply Chain execution – managing disruption, testing resilience

By Elanders

The supply chain operational challenges caused by Brexit, compounded with the COVID-19 pandemic, have really tested the effectiveness and resilience of some current supply chain solutions. Managing the extra customs documentation; working out now what UK operational supply chain solutions are best for an organisation, the cost of getting things wrong – these and more challenges are raising the importance today of effective and agile supply chain operations.

Many market surveys in recent weeks constantly seem to report back that supply chain solutions and effectiveness post Brexit have the strong possibility of impacting overall business performance. For some organisations post Brexit, maintaining the customer market promise and service support when things go wrong for some has been a massive challenge. What was thought to be an effective supply chain solution pre-Brexit (and COVID-19) – for some, has rapidly been exposed. Global economies and extended supply chains are now seriously being challenged and recreated:

  • Brexit itself has been a one-off challenge for organisations to understand, navigate and maintain business continuity in the short term. 
  • Brexit for many has now identified that today’s supply chain solution needs a complete rethink, with a revised strategy now required that has an agile operational solution behind it. 
  • Brexit may be a unique challenge to manage today – but supply chain change and disruption will be a constant part of every business’s focus from now on. 

Elanders UK Supply Chain solutions provide businesses with an alternative. Global coverage but delivered locally to the specific customer needs. Managing the post Brexit challenges on documentation, visibility and movements; working out for your business what the new storage strategy and the associated operational solution should now be all requires a combination of executional capability, practical experience and business partnership. 

Our bonded warehouse solutions in mainland Europe and in the UK with dedicated customs experts; our end-to-end global supply chain execution solutions – these all combine to support many leading global organisations create and maintain their post-Brexit supply chain operational solution for today’s needs – but we are also agile and innovative to meet tomorrow’s challenges. 

To find out more please visit www.elanders.co.uk/brexit-services/ or contact us at addingvalue@elanders.com.

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.

WEBINAR REWIND: How Haribo is ensuring high performance in a world disrupted by Covid-19

Don’t worry if you missed last week’s excellent webinar from FuturMaster and Haribo – You can now watch the entire session again online!

In order to meet ambitious growth challenges, Haribo France is leading a major supply chain transformation which focuses on forecasting and planning management processes, using FuturMaster’s solutions.

In the context of the global pandemic, Elsa CROS, S&OP Manager at Haribo France, and Baptiste Saissac, Demand Manager at Haribo France, detail how the company has navigated extreme volatility without compromising on their forecast reliability, service rate, or obsolescence.

You can click here or simply scroll down to watch the full session:

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.

Agility

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.

Visibility

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. 

Digitization

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.   

Connectivity

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? 

Insight

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. 

Consumer brands and retail preparing to overhaul supply chains to counter future disruption

66% of organizations say their supply chain strategy will change significantly in the next three years, as they adapt to the pandemic and embed resiliency into their operations.

According to a report from the Capgemini Research Institute examining the impact of the past year’s disruption on consumer products and retail (CP&R) supply chains, just 23% of consumer product organisations and 28% of retailers believe that their supply chain is agile enough to support evolving business needs.

COVID-19 was a wakeup call for CP&R companies: 85% of consumer products organizations and 88% of retailers say they faced disruption, while 63% of consumer products organizations and 71% of retailers say it took at least three months for their supply chains to recover from the disruptions.

As a result, the report says organisations are realigning their strategies to focus on three critical areas:-

The move to demand sensing

Over two-thirds of organizations (68%) say they faced difficulties in demand planning due to a lack of accurate and up-to-date information on fluctuating customer demand during the pandemic. To improve forecasting, 66% of organizations plan to segment supply chains according to demand patterns, product value and regional dimensions post pandemic, while 54% say they will use analytics/AI-machine learning for demand forecasting to cope with the impact of COVID-19. 

Visibility becomes critical – 75% of consumer product companies faced difficulties when they needed to quickly increase or decrease production capacity due to COVID-19. To create the agility to respond to sudden shifts in demand, manufacturers can identify opportunities to improve visibility, cites the report. This can help deal with the challenge of strategic, tactical, and real-time operational decisions.

Organisations understand the significance of digital investments in improving visibility. 58% of retailers and 61% of consumer product organisations are planning to increase investments in digitisation of supply chains. In particular, 47% of organisations are planning to invest in automation, 42% are planning to invest in robotics and 42% in artificial intelligence. 64% and 63% of organizations are also planning to make extensive use of artificial intelligence and machine learning across transportation and pricing optimization respectively. 

From globalisation to localisation – To prevent future disruption, organisations are recognising the importance of localisation and are actively investing. CP&R organisations are shifting from globalisation to localisation of the supplier and manufacturing base. 72% of consumer product organisations and 58% of retailers say they are actively investing in regionalising or localising their manufacturing base or nearshoring production.

65% of CP&R companies are also investing in regionalising and localising their supplier base, rising to 83% in the UK and 73% in India. In line with these strategies, global suppliers will represent just 25% of retailers’ capacity in three years’ time, down from 36% today. In consumer products, global manufacturers will represent just 17%, down from 26% today.

In line with the move to localisation, dark stores, which have independent operations and are closer to the delivery locations, are becoming an increasingly useful alternative for fulfilling online orders as physical footfall decreases.

Earlier Capgemini research showed that if deliveries from dark stores increase by 50%, profit margins could grow by 7% as a result of lower delivery costs and higher delivery throughput compared to stores (while also not affecting store operations).

“CPGs and retailers recognize the great risk of future disruption, and they have an opportunity to be in front of creating agility and resilience to adapt their supply chain networks,” said Lindsey Mazza, Global Retail Supply Chain Leader at Capgemini. “The pandemic was an accelerated learning event. Organizations realize that new technologies can enable much-needed agility – from improving demand predictions, to boosting fulfilment to quicker, cost-effective last mile deliveries. By investing now, organizations put themselves in good stead to safely support consumers in their time of need – whenever the next industry disruption may be.”

Hospitality supply chain ‘on verge of collapse’

The UK’s hospitality sector supply chain is facing devastation with 324,000 jobs at risk unless businesses receive immediate financial support from the Government, according to new research.

UKHospitality’s Supplier Alliance has released data highlighting the impact of the COVID crisis on the hospitality supply chain and the lack of financial support that has been received by businesses.

Key findings from the report:

  • 1 in 5 jobs in the supplier workforce have already been lost (workforce now just 82% of February 2020 level)
  • 1 in 3 businesses have received no Government grants or loans
  • Without support, 2 in 5 businesses will have to close, with 1 in 5 facing insolvency – 324,000 redundancies likely
  • Hospitality venues will need to return to 59% of normal trading levels to make supplier services viable.

UKHospitality has called on the Government to use the forthcoming Budget to ensure that supplier businesses receive the necessary financial support. This includes:

  • A meaningful, national grant fund for the hospitality supply chain to allow viable businesses to invest in goods/services critical to a successful restart
  • A Government backed invoice factoring scheme to free-up funds for investment and mitigate some of the risk of trading through the restart.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “It cannot have escaped many people over the past year that hospitality businesses have been completely devastated by the COVID crisis. Much less visible, but by no means less terrible, has been the destruction heaped upon those businesses that supply restaurants, pubs, hotels and the entirety of hospitality.

“The pain of the past year has filtered right down the supply chain and many of those businesses are now staring ruin in the face. One in five jobs have already been lost in the supply chain and another 324,000 are now at risk of being lost unless there is immediate financial support. One-third of businesses have not received any support whatsoever from the Government and the sector is clinging on.

“The totality of hospitality is dependent on its supply chain. If supplier businesses fail, then the entire sector grinds to a halt and we are at risk of the whole thing collapsing. We are hopeful that hospitality businesses can lead the recovery of the UK’s economy this year. That cannot happen if businesses are not supplied to do the job. The supply chain is everything and it must be supported.

“The Government has to understand this and provide the support that these businesses desperately need at the Budget. Otherwise, our sector will rapidly become a house built upon sand and the terrible damage that has been felt over the past twelve months will only be compounded.”

How are the UK’s supply chains managing and adapting to COVID-19?

More than 72% of organizations have reported their supply chains being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, with a vast majority struggling across all aspects of their operations.

That’s according to new research from the Capgemini Research Institute, which says the pandemic has forced organisations to prioritise supply chain resilience, with just under two-thirds (60%) stating that their supply chain strategy will need to change significantly in order to adapt to the new normal. Only 9% of organizations are expecting a return to business-as-usual. 

There is growing awareness that supply chains need to be more flexible and agile so they can react and adapt quickly to potential disruption. In fact, 60% of organizations said the current crisis has forced them to adapt their business models, while increasing supply chain resilience post COVID-19 is cited as a priority for 65%.

Over the past year organizations have struggled to quickly respond to increasing disruptions and restore their operations to a steady, reliable state. Organizations surveyed across retail, consumer products, discrete manufacturing and life sciences reported multiple challenges across their supply chains. The majority have found challenges across all aspects of their operations, including shortages of critical parts/materials (68%), delayed shipments and longer lead times (77%), difficulties in adjusting production capacity in response to fluctuating demand (65%), and difficulties planning amid volatile levels of customer demand (69%). 

From a sector perspective, only 30% of life sciences organizations in the survey reported a negative business impact due to the crisis, compared to over 80% of organizations in other sectors (retail, consumer products, discrete manufacturing). Furthermore, 68% of consumer products and retail consumers prefer locally produced items in the wake of this crisis, and sustainability is influencing the purchase preferences of 79% of customers.

The obstacles presented by the pandemic, however, also provide an opportunity for organizations to build a more resilient, flexible and agile supply chain that is ready to withstand future disruption and global crises. 

As many as 51% of organizations have taken between three to six months to recover from supply chain disruptions this year, while another 17% expect to take six to twelve months to do so. Inevitably, this means few organizations are prepared for any further potential disruption that may lie ahead.

Capgemini’s research finds that to cope with a similar crisis in the future, businesses must focus on seven key capabilities for crisis-resilience; identifying the areas that need the most significant, and urgent, improvement is critical for building a resilient supply chain. Only a minority (3%) demonstrate strengths across all of these areas, covering both planned actions and the current state of organizational preparedness. 

Capgemini’s report explains that a resilient supply chain is one that has: 

·         Contingency planning: anticipating crises and running simulations to improve crisis response 

·         Localization: prioritizing localization as well as regionalization of supplier base and manufacturing footprint

·         Diversification: prioritizing diversification of supplier base, manufacturing and transportation options

·         Sustainability: prioritizing sustainability across the supply chain to withstand environmental and regulatory disruptions and meet evolving customer expectations

·         Agility: prioritizing flexibility in production and decision making, and displaying agility in shifting to new business models

·         End-to-end cost transparency: accounting for costs with a clear picture of risks associated with low-cost strategies

·         Visibility: emphasizing on data-sharing with partners and having full visibility of the supply network

A significant proportion of organizations are taking the necessary measures to build capabilities around the first three dimensions, with 84% citing improving crisis-preparedness as a priority post-COVID. In addition, 76% of organizations are actively investing in localizing or regionalizing their supplier and manufacturing base to reduce risk and be closer to their customers. As many as 79% of organizations are actively investing in localizing or regionalizing their supplier and manufacturing base in order to reduce risk and to be closer to their customers Diversifying the supply chain is also front of mind; 81% of businesses are investing in diversifying their supplier base and 58% in diversifying their manufacturing base.

However, Capgemini found that only a small proportion have the necessary levels of supply chain agility (24%), optimization of end-to-end costs (19%) and visibility (6%). Building resilience across an entire product range is expensive, time-consuming and often impractical. Instead, organizations should identify the areas where building resilience is critical and create an end-goal of building a resilient mindset throughout the entire product lifecycle. 

Investment is key to building supply chain resilience

A resilient supply chain requires investment and businesses are starting to recognize this, with 59% planning to increase their investment in improving supply chain resilience. In addition, organizations are investing in technologies that make supply chains more autonomous and intelligent. Both are key enablers of resilience, allowing supply chains to sense and adapt more quickly to changes or disruptions. Almost half (49%) of organizations are accelerating their investments in automation and 39% in robotics, with the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) also among the top focus areas. Investments in certain technologies which are critical for building long-term resilience, such as control towers that enable increased visibility and digital twins that support contingency planning, are expected to accelerate at a slower pace than others – a gap that organizations must address cites the report. 

Sustainability will also see significant investment as a result of the pandemic

More than three quarters of organizations (77%) recognize the need for change, saying they are accelerating their investments in supply chain sustainability over the next three years, with logistics and manufacturing the key focus areas. This shift is not just crisis-driven; businesses are increasingly recognizing changing consumer preferences in favor of green alternatives and the fact that they are willing to back this up with their buying decisions.

Capgemini’s research followed a two-pronged approach. 1,000 supply chain executives at director level or above were surveyed between August and September of 2020; each was from an organization reporting revenues of more than $1 billion for the last financial year. Organizations surveyed were from the United States, France, Germany, United Kingdom, India, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Sweden, Norway and China and were across four industries: consumer products, retail, discrete manufacturing and life sciences manufacturing. In addition to the survey, Capgemini conducted more than ten in-depth discussions with senior supply chain executives. These interviews discussed the impact of COVID-19 on supply chains, the path to recovery, and how organizations can be better prepared for future disruptions.

5 Minutes With… Hazel 4D’s LEE ARMSTRONG

In the latest instalment of our supply chain industry executive interview series, we spoke to Hazel 4D Marketing Director Lee Armstrong about the company, it’s products & services, the ongoing challenges of COVID-19 and Brexit, and upcoming opportunities…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

At Hazel 4D, we provide a wide range of innovative products that help you save time, money and the planet, but know from experience that the packaging process isn’t simply about the supply of materials. It also relies on having the right equipment, and on carefully training staff and monitoring performance, to ensure that packaging is always applied as efficiently as possible.

That’s why we offer our unique service, where we partner with you to improve your business performance and profitability – typically you will end up spending significantly less on packaging. 

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

Partly due to the time of the year, and partly due to the situation that Covid and Brexit have brought upon us, lead times of packaging products are extending every day at the moment. Here at Hazel 4D we are working hard to ensure that we continue to meet your needs. We have increased stocks substantially to ensure that we can support you with covering your Christmas/seasonal trade, as well as the additional pressures of panic buying and the huge increase in E-commerce.

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

There’s been exponential increase of end users buying online has created huge demand for effective packaging.

Investing in PPE products at the request of customers. The company has helped multiple businesses by supplying these products and has even taken on new customers as a result of this. Successfully pulling through a difficult time.

We took the opportunity to help out the community as much as possible. We donated cardboard boxes and E-tape free of charge to our local Burberry site that was producing PPE for the NHS – Read article here: https://www.hazel4d.com/en/page/550/hazel-4d-news-ppe-for-the-nhs

Hazel 4D donated a number of poly bags to a local seamstress hoping to put a smile on the faces of frontline workers. Read article here: https://www.hazel4d.com/en/page/551/hazel-4d-news-polythene-bag-donation

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

Ensuring that business can continue without interruption whatever the outcome of Brexit.

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

An increase in online shopping and e-commerce – We’re expecting the economy will improve and consumer confidence will rise making B2C suppliers even busier.

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

We expect to see a huge focus around recycled products into plastic products such as stretch film, driven by the Plastic Packaging tax coming in 2022.

In 2022 we’ll all be talking about…?

Looking back on 2020 and how the pandemic has changed the world for forever, with more of a focus on e-commerce and sustainable packaging alternatives.

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

Just how resilient, adaptable and flexible it’s proved itself to be during the turmoil of 2020.

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

The people that I interact with on a daily basis and the work that we do together to solve challenging packaging requirements. We’ve worked with a multisite printing company this year to significantly improve their pallet wrapping process whilst saving them around 70% on the cost of every pallet they wrap. One happy customer!

And what’s the most challenging?

Taking on a new role of Marketing Director for the company and writing a marketing plan for 2021.

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

You progress faster when you’re working outside your comfort zone.

Retailers to on-shore £4bn of products to the UK as COVID-19 ‘resets’ supply chain strategies

More than £4.2 billion of products will be on-shored to the UK by retailers in the next 12 months in a move that would represent a significant fillip to manufacturing, being equivalent to the country’s entire current clothing manufacturing output.

That’s according to a new report by global professional services firm Alvarez & Marsal, in partnership with Retail Economics, that estimates that COVID-19 has created new pressures on retailers, exposing weaknesses in global supply chains and leading many to rethink strategies for the future to remain resilient.

Nearly three quarters (70%) of Europe’s largest 30 retailers say they have conducted a review of their supply chains as a direct result of the pandemic.

Of the same group of retailers, more than half (55%) have already begun to diversify their suppliers, with 29% planning to do so within the next 12 months. 14% are already sourcing more from domestic economies, with almost half (42%) planning to do so in the next 12 months.

Erin Brookes, Managing Director and Head of Retail and Consumer, Europe, A&M said: “COVID-19 has brought about a fresh set of financial and logistical challenges which retailers must overcome while accommodating permanent shifts in consumer behaviour. Our research shows that despite these new pressure points, most retailers are responding at speed, creating new growth opportunities within their domestic economies and protecting against future risk.

“This Christmas will be a major test for this new operating environment. The structural shift towards online will place extraordinary pressure on distribution and in some cases, we are likely to see supply not meeting demand. Meanwhile, new lockdown measures which prevent most physical retail from opening over key sales moments like Black Friday will only exacerbate these challenges. In the next few weeks, retailers will need to deliver a steady flow of online sales to contain the usual last-minute rush.”

The report says retail businesses are being forced to reassess the future of their supply networks and how they can not only meet COVID-19 related challenges, but simultaneously address underlying structural changes to ensure they are future-proofed.

Now the initial shock of the pandemic has resided, businesses and governments are considering how to build back better, with sustainability playing a major role. As European retailers come under increasing pressure to create visible ESG commitments, 70% of the retailers surveyed have already begun changing the way they source products to help meet their goals – with the remaining 30% planning to do so in the future.

Part of these plans also incorporate on-shoring, with 46% stating they already source more from their domestic economies to help meet ESG targets, while 39% suggest they intend to in the future.

Retailers are also increasing their focus on sustainability in response to growing consumer demand for ethically sourced goods. A third (32%)³ of U.K. consumers say they would be prepared to pay more for products sourced from Britain to help meet carbon emissions targets, while a further 35% would if there was no impact on price.

The COVID-19 crisis has put even greater emphasis on using technology to build more resilient supply chains and accelerated trends towards digital trade and e-commerce. Technological innovation and adoption will shape the future of supply chains, helping to streamline operations and drive efficiencies.

Of the retailers surveyed, the majority recognise the need for continued investment into technology, with 77% who are considering investing in digitalisation, 63% in automation and 23% in artificial intelligence.

Tim Waters, Managing Director and European Supply Chain Practice Lead, A&M said: “The impact of the pandemic has been felt throughout retail supply chains across the world. Despite significant distress and disruption, COVID-19 has also acted as a catalyst for change for retail businesses, with evolving consumer behaviour, ESG commitments and technological potential leading new strategic thinking. 

“Across all sectors, businesses are looking for ways to rebuild for the better, with sustainability swiftly climbing agendas. Our research highlights that on-shoring operations is already underway for many retailers. Not only will this help to create more ethical supply chains, it will help to manage future risk.”

Away from the pandemic, the uncertain outcome of the ongoing Brexit negotiations will have significant repercussions for UK retailers and their supply chains, with no-deal creating costly delays and interruption. According to A&M’s analysis, a no-deal scenario would create new tariffs of £7 billion for UK businesses, with most of the burden placed on food (17.1%) and clothing (10.6%).

As such, A&M’s research suggests that European retailers are reluctant to commit to any permanent changes to their supply chains until a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is negotiated between the U.K. and the EU.

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