Editor's Comment

Editorial: Putting logistics and delivery at the heart of your business

With just a week to go until eDelivery Expo (EDX) and Internet Retailing Expo (IRX) hits Birmingham’s NEC on April 5-6 it’s been interesting in the last week or so to see how crucial the role of logistics and delivery is becoming.

It’s obviously a key feature of the show itself but the message has been reinforced a number of times in the last week or so. Research from Manhattan Associates showed that fast delivery was a key loyalty factor for many shoppers whilst in today’s serve yourself age checking stock availability was seen as the key role of a shop assistant. Having systems that allow for both is increasingly becoming a must-have.

Retailers realise the need for change. Another report released this week, this time from Zebra Technologies, shows that retailers are planning a radical shake-up in the use of technology within their supply chains and delivery systems with new services being explored and the role of automation increasingly coming to the fore by 2021.

In the week that Article 50 was finally triggered it’s been interesting to note that despite the uncertainty the logistics sector saw a 20% rise in logistics jobs. The analysis, from Bis Henderson Group, also showed that the greatest requirement was for logistics and supply chain specialists related to ecommerce with an understanding on the latest warehouse technology being key. It’s believed that part of the rise is down to many retailers ensuring they have the right teams in place ready for growth now.

Another example of businesses preparing for growth is seen in the number of new facilities and acqusitions announced in the last week. The biggest gamechanger of course is Amazon’s confirmed deal to buy Middle East ecommerce leader Souq.com.

Recognising the increased opportunities in automation, as highlighted earlier in the research we mentioned, is the purchase of warehouse automation specialist Vanderlande, which is to be acquired by Toyota Industries Corporation.

Also looking to exploit new opportunities are CEVA and Panther Logistics, both of whom have announced new facilities to help them meet growing demands from their retail customers. If ever there was a time to prepare for the future of retail then now is the time.

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