10 February 2017

Confidence grows in UK logistics

A recent report looking at the logistics sector in the UK has shown a slight rise in confidence among businesses. Following four successive reports of a fall in confidence levels, this rise is seen as significant, although the level still remains lower than the highs of 2014 and 2015. The report by Barclays Corporate spoke to 100 senior decision-makers across the logistics sector and overall, many reported feeling cautious about the future, but less so than previously. The results indicate that for many companies the focus over the coming year is to consolidate market position rather than grow or expand. The rise in confidence levels appears in tune with the UK Manufacturing PMI, which also rose at the end of 2016 to a ten-month high.

Ongoing uncertainty

The report reveals, perhaps as expected, that there is ongoing uncertainty regarding Brexit, the application of Article 50 to exit the European Union and the resulting trade agreement. Almost half (48%) of those questioned say that they believe business conditions will be somewhat more difficult in the coming months. Furthermore, a key issue highlighted by many was customer price pressure, with firms stating they fear customers will demand lower prices in an ever-competitive market.

The use of technology

With regards to technology and products such as EPOD, 60% of those questioned said that embracing new technology to help their business gain a competitive edge was very important and that the use of technology is growing in importance. Many felt that the key perceived benefits of using new technologies are internal rather than external. However, we would disagree with this. EPOD provides benefits both internally and externally, with customers seeing an advantage by being able to track their own delivery and gain an electronic proof of delivery – providing reassurance and confidence particularly to those buying high-value goods. In today’s competitive marketplace, offering technology solutions such as this can make your logistics company more attractive to businesses and help you to stand out from the crowd.

Other benefits

The Barclays Corporate survey highlighted two key areas in which those questioned believed that technology will most assist them: warehouse management and transport planning management.   With regards to warehouse management, the ability to plug an EPOD solution into your existing warehouse management system (WMS) will allow you to have better control of stock levels – crucial if you’re to keep things running smoothly. Once a product has been confirmed as being delivered, its space in the warehouse can be reallocated to keep everything moving as it should. If the customer refuses delivery for whatever reason and the item needs to be sent back to base, data in the WMS is immediately updated accordingly and you’re kept in the loop.  For transport planning, with data provided in real-time, you’re able to keep a close eye on your fleet drivers as they go about their working days. This means you have a chance to analyse and optimise delivery routes, with the potential to increase productivity and cost-efficiency in the long run. By knowing where your vehicles are and being alerted when they’re held up, you can manage your resources more effectively. It may be that a certain junction is causing regular delays and could be avoided, or a driver is completing personal errands in between stops – either way, you can take the appropriate action.

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