Updated: Nov 25
According to new analysis from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), “the number of business premises used for transport, logistics and warehousing in the UK has almost doubled in the last decade.”
Attributed to significant changes catapulted into force by Covid and Brexit, an increased number of warehouses and logistics facilities have been created to adapt to the quick growth and substantial reliance on eCommerce and online shopping trends.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the ONS also reported increases of 114% and 147%, respectively, between 2011 and 2021 of business premises categorised as freight by road and courier services. Accounting for 69% of all transport and storage business units in 2022, compared to 58% in 2011.
With this sharp increase in this industrious sector creating significant expansion to the originally 'Midlands only' associated ‘Golden Logistics Triangle’, just what does this mean for your current business, your facility, and its location?
The Supply Chain Network team provide guidance in planning your business continuity to adapt to this duration of expansion…
Does your supply chain still align with your business’ direction?
The ‘Golden Triangle’ is comprised of many different, literally moving parts, including transport, storage, freight, warehousing, and post and courier services.
Traditionally, your business may have set out with one or several aligned business objectives in mind. For example, you may have designed it to provide for best customer service needs, or maybe even to simply achieve the lowest supply chain costs at the expense of overall business optimisation?
In addition to this, your facility purpose, layout, location, and workforce would probably have been curated to effectively match these requirements and enable your business to achieve its business goals.
With so many changes occurring during the past years, however, with many operations and processes accelerated to be digital and streamlined, you may now find yourself asking whether the configuration and behaviour of your original business model continue to successfully meet the wider needs of your organisation.
Is your business still delivering efficiently?
While the UK transport and storage industry only accounts for 5% of business premises (155,000 out of 3.2 million) – data from ONS - the recent industry disruption has seen a spiked increase (in shares of business units) to the largest sector across the UK ranging from in the Midlands and East of England to as far as Yorkshire and The Humber.
Following so many changes, the Supply Chain Network (SCN) team suggests it beneficial to conduct an audit of your network and facility to analyse whether it remains efficient in delivering benefits across functions efficiently and cost-effectively.
You may then also want to ask yourself how efficient your operational planning processes are, particularly the synergies between procurement, warehousing and distribution, as well as considering whether your network continues to deliver optimal service.
An audit will also enable you to best recognise any problems that have occurred since Covid and Brexit changes and allow you to plan how best to overcome these in terms of allocation of resources, space, and service, in addition to technological changes, and impacts upon efficiency.
Is your supply chain an environment of continual improvement?
It is no coincidence that the supply chain disruption caused by Covid-19 created an environment of reliance on eCommerce and digitisation that had never before been witnessed in the UK, in turn resulting in the increased demand for warehousing and the sharp rise in new warehouse construction projects that we continue to witness to date. As of 2021, the ONS reported that new orders for warehouse construction were worth £5.6 billion.
Additionally, data from ONS shows that eCommerce sales peaked at nearly 38% of all retail sales in January 2021, compared to 19% in February 2020. During 2022, this figure has fallen to 28% but still remains significantly higher than rates of online shopping witnessed just 2 years prior to the pandemic.
Amidst all these constant changes, it is vital for you to take stock of your business and recognise where it is adapting well to change, and to other areas where more progress is needed. You may begin to ask yourself whether your execution systems (ERP/WMS/TMS) fully deliver to your needs or whether these technologies, without upgrades, are now causing your operations to become compromised.
You may also begin to question whether your operations and processes are sufficiently and correctly benchmarked and assess those fundamental to your warehouse and transport operations. This may include reviewing whether your inventory, space and resources effectively meet changing demands, how well your business executes operational change, and how well you manage individual and group productivity and service levels. You additionally may want to evaluate your standard of operational reporting in terms of wider visibility utilising your data to drive continual improvement.
Prepare your business for the ‘Golden Triangle’ on the horizon with SCN
As the share of transport and storage businesses continues to increase across the Midlands and the East of England so does the emergence of logistics hubs and couriers throughout Yorkshire and The Humber. Further developing the angles of the Golden Logistics Triangle.
Experts in all aspects of warehouse and network design, SCN understands the importance of remaining competitive in a dynamic industry and the critical data analysis required to achieve this.
Specialists in Warehouse Design and Fit-Out, the SCN team can help you reach your facility’s fulfilment potential in 2022 and beyond. Visit www.scnuk.com to learn about the work that we do and to ensure you are ready, and future-proof your business plans and warehouse design. We work with our clients and ask questions about their supply chain at all levels. Email: email@example.com or call: 07581 496580
*All images sourced from pexels