Monday 5th Dec 2016 - Logistics Manager

Innovation is alive and well in the supply chain

One of the privileges of my job is that I sit as a judge in the European Supply Chain Excellence Awards – and every year I am struck by the drive, commitment and sheer ingenuity exhibited by the entrants.

Nowhere was that commitment better demonstrated than by the Royal Logistics Corps, which won the Team of the Year Award for its work in Afghanistan.

The Retail Award went to John Lewis for the way it has responded to the growth of e-commerce – developing processes and facilities that give customers a seamless experience regardless of whether they choose to buy goods in a store or on a mobile phone.

The UN’s World Food Programme has developed supply chain processes that enable it to reach more than 80 million people in 75 countries every year. Tangle Teezer, the SME of the Year, has not only transformed the hairbrush consumer category, it has also taken an innovative approach to its supply chain to achieve best performance/cost ratio.

The awards also highlighted outstanding work by the third party logistics providers in becoming key partners in the supply chain strategy.

The winners’ entries were not only outstanding – they were the best of an outstanding group. The runners up also demonstrated a high level of achievement – and many of the categories were very closely fought. In this issue, we not only look at who won, but also why.

My congratulations to all the shortlisted companies, and especially to the winners. Innovation really is alive and well in the supply chain.

Innovation Required

If ever there was a time when the innovation and ingenuity highlighted above was needed, it is now.

The introduction of the Driver CPC has exacerbated the driver shortage to the point where there are dire warnings of empty shelves at Christmas. The Road Haulage Association reckons that the industry is short of some 40,000 drivers.

The Freight Transport Association highlighted the issue in a meeting with employment minister Esther McVey. It is suggesting an extension of the student loan scheme to enable people to take driver training. It’s certainly worth exploring – this is problem that will not go away of its own accord.

Malory Davies FCILT,
Editor