John Maguire

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The increasingly close partnerships between logistics providers and their suppliers in developing services for customers have been highlighted    by the election of John Maguire of Flexi Narrow Aisle as chairman of the   United Kingdom Warehousing Association.

The United Kingdom Warehousing Association has elected John Maguire as national chairman, for the first time choosing an associate member rather than someone with a traditional warehouse keeping background. Electing Maguire, who is sales and marketing director of Flexi Narrow Aisle, reflects the increasingly close partnerships between 3PLs and their suppliers, many of which are now associate members of the association.

There are changes going on in the industry, says Maguire, highlighting the increasing integration of warehousing and transport which means that UKWA members have been moving into the broader logistics arena.

Associate members account for almost 15 per cent of the association’s membership and play an increasingly important role in partnering with warehousing providers and 3PLs in developing a service offering for a specific customer or group of customers. In addition, Maguire points out that Flexi Narrow Aisle is a significant buyer of logistics services.

Maguire is in no doubt about the scale of the task ahead of him. “It’s a real responsibility following Derek Potter as chairman – he has been a very successful chairman guiding the association through the recession,” says Maguire.

“The challenge now, post-recession is to grow and develop the association. I have skills in that direction. It’s a competitive world and we have to sell the benefits of membership as well as developing new benefits,” he says.

Maguire is well positioned to do this. He is a well-known figure in the industry having led sales teams at a number of leading suppliers over the past 25 years including Lancer Boss, Linde, and of course Flexi Narrow Aisle.

He points out that the association has been successful in growing through the recession by being proactive and getting out and talking to people.

The UK Warehousing Association was established in 1944, when the government of the day asked for representatives from warehousing companies to form a committee to discuss the storage and distribution of food and materials in wartime Britain. It was originally known as the National Association of Inland Warehouse Keepers.

It changed its name to UKWA in 1994, just as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. Today it represents more than 600 member companies who, between them, operate around 100 million sq ft of warehouse and distribution centre space from some 2,000 locations across the UK.

While UKWA membership is comprised predominantly of third party warehousing and logistics service providers, the Association’s membership is not restricted to companies operating in the third party logistics and warehousing sectors and this means that retailers, manufacturers and wholesalers are free to join UKWA

UKWA’s principal objectives are to represent members’ views to government departments and agencies, the European Commission and Parliament and other relevant organisations; to promote the logistics services providers industry; to protect the interests of the member company through the provision of effective Conditions of Contract; to raise the standards of the industry through training and best practice; and to provide relevant marketing information and statistics to interested parties.

The resurgence of UK manufacturing is good news for many UKWA members that work with manufacturers.

Maguire points out that manufacturers are increasingly targeting markets in the BRIC economies and with its international relationships, UKWA can help its members in these markets. The UKWA is a founder member of the International Federation of Warehousing Logistics Associations which aims to promote the warehousing and logistics industry, collect, study and exchange information and views on matters of common interest to members, advance global connections and develop good relationships between members.

Skills is a key challenge for UKWA, says Maguire. “It’s not only the fact that industry is growing so skills levels need to increase.

“We also have to compete with ‘sexier’ industries. We need to get the right people in and train them properly,” he says.

UKWA is working with Skills for Logistics on this. Maguire welcomes the development of the new apprenticeship schemes. “We are also keen to lobby for government to invest in skills training.
He highlights key areas such as man management, IT, and systems such as vehicle tracking and warehouse management systems. “I want to deliver more information to members and help them be more efficient,” he says.

Maguire also highlights the importance of regional events to focus on sharing knowledge and encouraging best practice.

curriculum vitae

John Maguire has held several senior posts within the materials handling industry and is widely known for his warehouse system design expertise. He is sales and marketing director of Flexi
Narrow Aisle, and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

1974 – 1977 Maguire studied structural engineering at The University of Bolton.

1984 – 1986 Sales manager at the Lancer Boss Group.

1986 – 1994 Sales director at Lancer Boss Group.

1994 – 2004 Maguire moved to Linde Material Handling as sales director.

June 2004 Director of Flexi Narrow Aisle, manufacturer of the Flexi range of articulated trucks.

2010 Vice-chairman of the United Kingdom Warehousing Association.

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