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5 Minutes WIth… Logistics Reply’s Patrick Barlow

In the latest instalment of our supply chain industry executive interview series, we spoke to Patrick Barlow, Senior Manager at Logistics Reply, about the company, the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic, market opportunities, new technology and real-time visibility…

Tell us about your company, products and services.

Logistics Reply has been creating Warehouse Management Systems for over 20 years in the Food / Retail / 3PL / Manufacturing / Automotive sectors, and as a result we now also offer our own agile microserviced Supply Chain Fulfilment software that looks upstream/downstream from the warehouse – with ‘off the shelf’ products such as Yard Management; Dock Appointment Scheduling; Proof Of Delivery; Real-time Stock Visibility; Ship From Store, Dark-Store Fulfilment and Dropship.

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

  • The ever-changing “Will They / Won’t They” game of Lockdown release/contraction (and how it’s affected people’s buying patterns and the resulting ever-changing Fulfilment challenges).
  • Close-proximity working / On-site outbreaks and Isolation / Working from home.
  • All with a delicate sprinkling of Brexit’s delightful cocktail of Border Compliance Requirements (outbound and inbound).

And what have been the biggest opportunities?

  • The ‘opportunity’ for most Store-only Retailers to have to adapt and go Multi-channel (if they succeeded!);
  • One horticultural supplier (Double H) who used to supply only direct to Retailers and were on the brink of collapse, but successfully turned it around by founding their own e-Commerce website and are now doing better than ever.
  • And anybody offering agile Warehouse Space has definitely had it all snapped up!!!

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

  • Single View Of Stock (across all players in the chain); and Cost-effective Agile Fulfilment – the one feeds the other.
  • To answer the question “Which stock is closest to which Customer, and therefore where should it be picked / fulfilled from – National DC, Local DC, Retail Store, Dark Store, or Dropship/Supplier Direct Fulfilment?”

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

  • Manufacturers/Suppliers, 3PLs and Retailers all working collaboratively to achieve Real-Time Visibility.

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

  • For More Mature/Established players – End-To-End Real-Time Inbound Visibility; AI for Demand Planning; and possibly Blockchain for Sustainability.
  • For Medium-Sized players – it could be agile/cloud-based Warehouse Management Systems;
  • For Smaller Supplier/Manufacturers – it’s likely to be Despatch-only software (to provide their larger Customers with the Inbound Tracking/Visibility they need, without actual Stock Management).

In 2022 we’ll all be talking about…?

  • How to over-correct/re-balance some of the understandably swift decisions taken in relation to Lockdown in 2020-1. (“We need to re-open in some of the store locations we walked away from… How much will it cost us?)

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

  • We’ve been lucky enough to meet the Ocado team and work with them, which is cutting-edge…

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

  • The myriad ways in which people supply different products – differing speeds of movement / supply chain models (Efficient; Fast; Continuous Flow etc.)
  • The difference in priorities by different Countries / Cultures (what works in one, won’t work in another).

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

  • I’m a big fan of red wine (Pinot Noir, Malbec, Montepulciano)

What’s the most exciting thing about your job?

  • New requests / new requirements that we haven’t thought of: “Can you do this…?”
  • Site Visits – seeing how different people and organisations achieve things, and meeting new people.
  • I’m personally also always delighted when a Brand-new Customer contacts us and says we were recommended by an Existing Customer… no better feeling!!!

And what’s the most challenging?

  • Prioritisation – with 10 products, 4 sectors and perennially vocal clients (whom we love!) there’s never a dull moment!

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

  1. “Don’t listen to the Words People Say, pay attention to The Overall Nature Of Their Behaviour.”
  2. And easily the best definition of Sales I ever heard: “Sales = Friendship + Expertise.”
    (ie. if one of them isn’t there, it will never, ever happen)

Peaky Blinders or Stranger Things?

  • Whilst the title of Stranger Things might reflect the past 1-2 years for all of us… it’s got to be Peaky Blinders!

Retail in the 2020s – Embracing green to turn red into black

An IMRG report supported by Logistics Reply, into how Retailers can satisfy the new emboldened, ethically-aware Consumer and thrive – by combining the need for Provenance, Compliance, Brand Protection and Sustainability through Technology.

The Brave New World Of Retail

Consumers today play an active role in retail by being increasingly conscious of their spending habits and considerate of issues such as climate change and sustainability.

While quality, price and availability are still important factors in their purchasing behaviours, demand for sustainable products, with known provenance, low carbon footprints, compliant to official market regulations and proven to be produced in good working conditions, is increasing. 

Providing this kind of information is vital for Retailers to craft a unique, “green” story behind their products so that they can stand out and be competitive.

5 Questions This Report Will Help You Answer

·        How can Retailers satisfy the new Ethically-Aware Consumer and thrive?

·        In what ways can Technology help you obtain the information you need along the supply chain?

·        What are the responsibilities you as a Retailer should be taking?

·        Is it possible to make a profit while engaging in sustainable practices?

·        How can you make a Visibility System work for you?


“The advent of digital commerce has changed the way in which Customers consume. Choice is now beyond the local shopping centre and has reached global proportions. Retail brands used to control what customers could purchase, down to tastes, fashions and even inspiration. 

The global financial crisis woke customers up to the power they possessed, even subconsciously, and this has been building steadily ever since. Increasingly we are seeing a game of brinkmanship; Retailers have warehouses of stock, consumers are worried about how far their money will go and wait for discounts.

We are now seeing the beginnings of another consumer revolution. Customers are taking much more notice about where their products are coming from, how they are produced and increasingly, their impact on the environment. Veganism is on the increase and climate change is becoming a key ingredient in politics, nationally and internationally.

The demand for global resources is coming to the fore and provenance of products and services is becoming a factor in consumer purchasing decisions. Whilst this view might be a luxury that only consumers in ‘developed economies’ can afford, it has ramifications beyond that. So, what does this mean to retailers and their supply chains? Perhaps, this dynamic is already being adopted in the developing economies…”

This report reviews these changing dynamics and seeks to highlight why this ‘consumer first’ approach will affect how merchants manage demand, source product and the role that the disparate technology systems will play in this brave new world.

Download the report now to find out how Retail will change over the next decade, and why Logistics Reply’s products are poised to be at the centre of this revolution.

IMRG is the UK’s online retail association – a membership community offering neutral and unique resources for online retailers; helping members understand and improve their online retail performance through a busy programme of performance benchmarking, data analysis, insight, best practice-sharing and events. IMRG have been tracking online sales since 2000 – and now measure over 120 individual metrics in a series of indexes, providing in-depth intelligence on online and mobile sales, delivery trends, marketing ROI and channel performance.

Logistics Reply provides cutting-edge software solutions that help companies achieve an efficient and more connected digital supply chain where different systems, partners, humans and machines seamlessly interact embracing the use of next-generation technologies such as AI, robotics, wearables and IoT.

LEA Reply™ (‘Logistics Execution Architecture’) is Logistics Reply’s most advanced Supply Chain platform, which uniquely utilises cloud-based ‘microservices’ to offer a bespoke suite of software solutions designed to bridge the gap between real-world operations and the need to provide real-time visibility across any supply chain configuration.

To learn more visit our website www.lea-reply.com or contact us at lea@reply.com

Reply’s low-cost “Scan & Despatch” software improves inbound supplier despatch accuracy

By Logistics Reply

Reply’s “Scan & Despatch” Supplier Portal is a low-cost, easy-to-adopt Cloud-based solution that quickly enables both Companies and Suppliers to accurately track Packing & Shipping activities from Supplier Despatch Locations.

The award-winning software already operates successfully for M&SOcado and Waitrose – by offering Retailers / 3PLs / Manufacturers instant Real-Time Visibility of Inbound Stock In-Transit, whilst providing the Supplier with Guaranteed EDI Messaging and Load Presentation Compliance.

Reply’s software quickly brings Suppliers and their Customers closer together and quickly improves their business relationship:

  • Retailers / 3PLs / Manufacturers receive an accurate report from the Supplier of all goods arriving at their Warehouse/DC (via electronic Advance Shipment Notices, SSCC-labelled Dollies/Pallets, and Printed Vehicle Manifests) – facilitating all Inbound Activities, Visibility, Productivity and Planning.
  • Suppliers speed up/improve tracking of their Outbound Despatch process, frequently receive Better Payment Terms for Higher Compliance Scores on EDI Messaging / Load Presentation Standards – and the highly-accurate data provided by the Scanning Process also minimises Product Supply Disputes.

Suppliers receive electronic Purchase Orders via EDI, use Handheld Scanners to scan their Product Data against POs and instantly create ASNs, SSCC Labels and Transport Manifests in guaranteed Retailer-, 3PL- or Manufacturer-compliant formats.

Extra Value-Add Functions such as Best-Before Date Check and Units Per Tray Check have already been added – and similar compliance-check features can quickly be created to match any Inbound Requirements of the Retailer / 3PL / Manufacturer.  

Quick Setup, Ease-Of-Use, and Minimal Training make it easy for Suppliers to achieve Low-Cost Agile Supply via Temporary / Pop-Up Despatch Locations – ideal for Seasonal Peaks and Temporary Oversupply Periods.

To know more, Logistics Reply’s website is https://www.reply.com/lea-reply/en/Platform-and-solutions/supplier-portal – or for further information please contact Pat Barlow on p.barlow@reply.com or 020 7730 6000.


• Yard Management

• Dock / Bay Appointment Scheduler

• Warehouse Management System

• Urban Fulfilment Hub / Parcel Warehouse

• Last-Mile / Proof Of Delivery

• Dropship / ‘Supplier Direct Fulfilment’

• Dark-Store / In-Store Picking

• In-Store Product Tracking (RFID)

• “Scan & Despatch” [ASN / SSCC / Vehicle Manifest]

• Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility 

• ‘Create Your Own Software Solution’

Logistics Reply’s quick-to-adopt Supply Chain software offers Business Continuity & Scalability to Food / Retail / 3PL / Manufacturing / Automotive sectors

In a world of Lockdown/Social Distancing; of Restrictions on Movement Of Goods; and the sudden rise of ‘Do or Die’ eCommerce as a survival tool – Italian technology firm Logistics Reply (part of the Reply Group) is a refreshing change.

Its award-winning Supply Chain Fulfilment software is sought out by the likes of M&S, Costco, Eddie Stobart, Ocado – and has been at the forefront of developing revolutionary agile/micro-serviced software to solve the problem of Inbound Product/Transport Visibility, ASN/SSCC Supplier Collaboration Tools and eCommerce Customer Fulfilment (whether Ship-From-Store, Dark Store or Dropship / ‘Supplier Direct Fulfilment’).

Logistics Reply has spent the Pandemic providing quick-to-adopt / instantly useable software to its home sectors of Food / Retail / 3PLs / Manufacturing / Automotive – and its software has kept the Nation’s supply chains up and running by allowing the use of Temporary/Agile despatch locations to enable business continuity and scalability (Temporary DCs, Pop-up Despatch Stores, Urban Fulfilment Hubs).

The company’s ultra-agile software platform LEA (’Logistics Execution Architecture’) is composed of a catalogue of ready-to-use business services which can be quickly combined as microserviced building blocks to quickly develop / realise new solutions for flexible business needs. 

This modular ‘business services’ approach allows Logistics Reply’s development teams to swiftly deploy and modify individual services and create new software applications at an unprecedented rate – offering a flexible, interconnected platform for all activities along the supply chain:


• “Scan & Despatch” – Instant Supplier/3PL/Retailer Compliance for ASNs/SSCCs

• Yard Management

• Dock/Bay Appointment Scheduling

• Warehouse Management System

• Parcel Warehouse / Urban Fulfilment Hub

• Electronic POD / Last-Mile Execution

• Dropship / ‘Supplier Direct Fulfilment’

• Dark-Store / In-Store Picking

• In-Store Retail Product Tracking (RFID)

• Real-Time Supply Chain Visibility Radar

• ‘Create Your Own Software Solution’

Logistics Reply’s website is https://www.reply.com/lea-reply – for further information please contact Pat Barlow on p.barlow@reply.com or 020 7730 6000.