So how was the last week for you? I have to say that getting the train out of London last Tuesday was the office worker equivalent of the last helicopter out of Saigon… in all my 20 years of journalism I’ve never reported on a situation like it.
Yet, despite the Prime Minister introducing last night the tightest curbs on personal freedom since the Second World War, the country keeps moving. And that is all thanks to the vast strides the logistics sector has made in the past few years.
I won’t go hungry, and neither will my family, in the next few weeks thanks to the amazing efforts of Waitrose.com. They brought the food to our front door with no fuss, and given the way my near six-year old child is demolishing food now she’s no longer getting a hot meal at school, it’s as essential a service as it gets. The supply chain and logistics network was robust enough to keep the delivery slot with all our items. It’s hardly a diet of powdered egg…
I’ve still been able to order 40th birthday presents for my wife thanks to the wonders of e-commerce. I even knew what hour it would be delivered in, and on what day, just so a major milestone under lockdown doesn’t experience any further drama. Again, all of this was made possible thanks to the astonishing progress in automation and technology that tracks my order from supplier to front-door. Astonishing… no wonder the Institute of Couriers called it the ‘finest hour for final mile’ (a turn of phrase of which I’m intensely jealous).
The one statistic that rings in my head from the past few days is that the supermarket sector managed to get an addition £1 billion of food into people’s homes, without the year-round build up that we normally have to achieving that at Christmas. It got done. The system didn’t break, even if some shoppers had to queue. Frankly, all we have to do is sit back, ride out COVID-19 and chow down on that £1 billion.
Once the chaos of COVID-19 resides we will all sit and remark upon the progress that logistics has made to ensure that the onset of a global pandemic did not lead to mass hysteria. Yes, we’re not out of the woods yet, but so far the systems have worked, the processes rung true, and the investments in technological progress have paid off in spades for the sector.
Looking to the future, just imagine where the next level of progress in automation; in robotics; in more robust supply chains; in next-generation warehousing will take our lives…
Finally, while supply chains continue to source food for supermarkets; supply the NHS with medicines and PPE and e-commerce keeps the UK trading at the doorstep we’ve stepped up our coverage to keep you on top of what’s happening, right now.
We’ve increased our digital coverage throughout the crisis, bringing you the very latest developments from end-users, 3PLs, integrators, suppliers and the property sector. We’ve launched a Daily COVID-19 briefing, in your inbox for the end of the day, to get all the news direct to supply chain and logistics professionals.
We will continue to bring buyers and sellers together during this testing time by keeping everyone informed. Just as the supply chain and logistics sector will not stop, neither will Logistics Manager.
Christopher Walton, Editor, Logistics Manager