Current Issues

Regular Industry Development Updates, Opinions and Talking Points relating to Manufacturing, the Supply Chain and Logistics.

Building a sustainable supply chain in uncertain times

Building a sustainable supply chain in uncertain times
One of the biggest challenges facing UK companies will be navigating the inevitable market turbulence associated with next year’s departure from the European Union. A key reason for this is the critical role that the supply chain plays in the movement of goods and services, both internally and across borders. Currently, many organisations are concerned potential delays to border check processes and changes to legislation could leave them short of vital resources.

In the manufacturing sector, recent polling has suggested that these organisations are braced for the worst profits outlook in at least nine years, with many choosing to freeze spending until the ramifications of the departure become clear. Likewise, in the automotive sector, where instant supply processes are critical for keeping costs down, the impact of late payments or delivering of critical vehicle parts could have a devastating impact on production.

Against this backdrop, there have been numerous reports of companies stockpiling supplies to prevent potential problems from gaining a foothold. In the food and beverage sector, it has been reported that Majestic Wine is planning to stockpile 1m bottles, manufacturing firms are also under pressure aerospace suppliers are said to be pushing smaller suppliers to the brink. It is logical to make necessary preparations for potential border delays due to the UK’s changing relationship with Europe, but could there be a better way forward for the supply chain?

It is clear that organisations can only operate effectively with easy access to products and services. Likewise, no organisation can continue to grow if late payments and poor procurement processes remain in place.

This is where blockchain technology can play a crucial role, in both the modernisation and improvement of the logistics and operations which are vital to the performance of supply chain systems. In a recent poll of 200 UK business decision-makers, we discovered that over 50% were planning to increase use of blockchain technology within their respective organisations next year.

When asked to rank the key reasons why companies would be planning to increase blockchain use, one third (33%) said they will be using it to reduce fraud followed by 18% saying it was to keep up with technological innovation. Additionally, 11% cited costs savings and 10% said they would be using it to improve supply chain management. It is clear that many companies are investigating the best application for the technology, with many seeking to expand capabilities within that area.

The business case for adopting such a system is becoming increasingly clear, particularly with stricter regulation and legislation taking hold. For example, the ability to demonstrate secure transactions in a distributed ledger that cannot be tampered with is a major benefit to companies when preparing for an annual audit or quarterly stock take. This removes the need for complex investigations, as every point of contact is logged, allowing companies to examine and demonstrate true accountability.

Tackling late payments is another area where blockchain can provide a major advantage.

For many organisations, poor payment processes can have a serious impact on profitability and cashflow, which in turn damages productivity and by definition, wider economic growth. Blockchain is already being deployed by major financial services organisations to help manage complex contractual agreements and provide insight into the flow of money between banks, businesses and individuals.

Moving forward, organisations need to recognise that the digitisation of supply chain systems is essential to increasing productivity and ensuring an efficient flow of payments and revenue.

Blockchain can deliver these critical capabilities alongside maximum accountability. That’s why such investments are critical in challenges times.

Johannes Panzer
Head of Industry Strategy for Ecommerce, Descartes Systems UK
Is digitisation the key to preventing cross-border landed costs from disrupting international ecommerce?
Richard Seel
Managing Director Supply Chain & Logistics, Delaware
Meeting the Challenge of Supply Chain Efficiency – How Manufacturers Can Achieve their Goals
Olivier Binet
Managing Director International Markets, InPost
How to build sustainability into last mile deliveries
Ron Volpe
Global Vice President Apps Business Development, Tradeshift
Under-Pressure Retailers Turn to D2C to Level the Playing Field
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
Margin Erosion is turning the spotlight on the Warehouse
Simon Runc
Principal Visual Analyst, Atheon Analytics
Unlocking the Value in Data
Steve Purvis
Operations Director, Bis Henderson Space
Brexit Uncertainty Highlights Need for Flexible Logistics Strategy
Alan Gunner
Business Development Director, Adjuno
Starting at the source: achieving a sustainable supply chain
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
Conquering Connected Commerce
Mark Jolley
EMEA Manufacturing, Transport & Logistics Solutions Sales Lead, Zebra Technologies
Augmented Reality is becoming a Retail Reality
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
The Cost of Doing Nothing
Sam Ireland
International Marketing Manager, Loftware
Are You Navigating Global UDI Compliance?
Stephen Cameron
Business Development Director, SWRnewstar
How the Resource and Waste Strategy Can Empower Industry
Georgia Leybourne
Senior Director International Marketing, Manhattan Associates
Are we embracing the profit potential of the over 50s?
Jon Moody
Chief Executive Officer, SSG Insight
The Future of Supply Chain Management
David Luttenberger
Global Packaging Director, Mintel
Mintel announces top global packaging trends for 2019 and beyond
Andrew Tavener
Head of Marketing, Descartes UK
Compliance Management – it’s time for joined up thinking
Stephen Cameron
Business Development Director, SWRnewstar
Primark's move to 100 per cent sustainably sourced cotton should be commended
Marc Corriveau
Account Manager, Loftware
Changes in packaging result in ROI for F&B products
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
Why an extension is best for British businesses
David Jinks MILT
Head of Consumer Research, ParcelHero
Booking a courier? No printer required, says ParcelCompare
Graham Parker
CEO, Gravity Supply Chain Solutions
Mitigating The Risks Of Trade Wars And Tariffs
Sam Ireland
International Marketing Manager, Loftware
How Brexit Will Impact Supply Chain Labeling?
Sid Holian
Managing Director, Bis Henderson Consulting
Three critical steps to a hi-tech, agile supply chain
Manu Tyagi
Associate Partner, Retail and Consumer Goods, Infosys Consulting
M&S and Ocado have signed a £750 million deal to take M&S groceries into the home delivery market
Olivier Frère
Serialisaton Expert, Zetes
Understanding the Tobacco Products Directive
Paul Heiden
Senior Vice President of Product Management, Ultimaker
6 overlooked benefits of 3D printing for your supply chain
Dave Locke
EMEA Chief Technology Officer, WWT
Merged pharmaceutical firms seek fast-track route to savings
Johannes Panzer
Head of Industry Strategy for Ecommerce, Descartes
How to make international ecommerce transparent, efficient and cost-effective
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
Putting the WOW in the checkout experience
Richard Parfect
Fund Manager, Seneca Investment Managers
The cessation of Airbus A380 production
John Perry
Managing Director, SCALA
What next for British business?
Chris Jones
EVP Marketing & Services, Descartes
5 Key Logistics Trends and Technology Implications for 2019
Craig Summers
UK Managing Director, Manhattan Associates
What is the Checkout of the Future?
Andres Richter
CEO, Priority Software
UK Manufacturing: The Productivity Conundrum