Can you predict the winner?

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Recession in Britain at an end:  that was the BBC’s headline on Monday following a survey by the Institute of Chartered Accountants which found that confidence among business professionals had moved into positive territory for the first time in two years, providing evidence of an improving UK economy.

“The latest ICAEW UK Business Confidence Monitor shows a record rise in confidence from -28.2 to +4.8, the highest since Q3, 2007. Based on this, the ICAEW predicts that GDP will rise 0.5 per cent this quarter.”

Not only that, there is evidence that this return of confidence is being reflected in our industry. Distribution warehousing is coming back into vogue with investors. Property investment specialists Cushman & Wakefield, SWIP and Aberdeen Property Investors last week noted a stabilisation of yields in prime property and a cautious return in property investment especially from overseas investors.

This is all still rather tentative and fragile, but perhaps it gives a signal that it is time to start facing up to the issue of nurturing growth in supply chains.

That might sound premature. After all, for many the process of aligning resources with lower sales has barely been completed – and in some cases is still ongoing. But as supply chains have grown longer and more complex the time it takes to make changes has inevitably increased.

If the predictions are right and the market picks up, it will be instructive to see which organisations are about to gain competitive advantage. My bet is on those that have been able to maximise the agility of their supply chains.

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