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Bespoke solutions lead the way

06 June 2024

The operational logistics landscape is becoming increasingly complex, shaped by many economic, geopolitical, and behavioural factors. With it brings new challenges for those operating within the industry, and while they may appear similar to previous years, they differ greatly in the way they can be resolved.

TO STAY ahead and drive productivity, an increasing number of organisations are upgrading their operations and seeking personalised, innovative solutions. In 2023 it’s estimated that 55% of leaders in supply chain and manufacturing increased their supply chain investment to ensure efficient operations, reduce costs, and increase satisfaction with partners and customers (42 per cent of which plan to spend over $10m). 

One key example of this is the move towards organisations investing in bespoke solutions and customised products that meet very specific needs or address unique challenges. A trend that Southgate Global, a leader in the supply of equipment, consumables and servicing in operational logistics and fulfilment, predicts will become more prevalent as organisations are faced with new challenges that existing options cannot resolve. 

“We are seeing a growing number of customers turning to us having recognised an issue within their workflow but are unsure on how to fix it themselves, or the standard equipment they are currently using just isn’t working to maximum potential,” Phil O’Driscoll, Head of Innovation and New Product Development at Southgate Global, explained.

“It’s here that the benefits of bespoke solutions come into play, and it’s a service we offer that more customers are utilising, as the need to maximise productivity in all areas of an operation has never been so crucial”, he added.

The way each warehouse operates is unique, differing in size and layout, systems used with or without automation as well as the products and people within it. Slotting in an off-the-shelf solution may superficially look as though it does the job required, but often requires compromises in speed or efficiency and will ultimately have a detrimental effect on productivity. 

O’Driscoll explained how Southgate’s in-house Design Team finds bespoke solutions to combat such issues. Starting each project from scratch, the team ensure they deeply understand the problem, create concepts and then prototypes and work with multiple manufacturers, and components and then design a solution to fit the client’s exact needs, whether that be fitting equipment to existing architecture or helping to redesign the process of how they move products from A to B.  

He said: “Whether you’re looking to streamline repetitive tasks or eliminate bottlenecks, finding the right fit in terms of bespoke equipment can have a huge impact on wider productivity. Using our insight from various industries and applying lessons learned from one sector to another, our Design Team finds solutions to challenges that may not have even been considered before. 

“It’s a form of flexibility and personalised service that you just can’t find from off-the-shelf solutions and something that will start to set organisations apart from one another as it gets increasingly competitive.”

Working closely with a customer who picks workwear and deals with a wide range of garments, Southgate designed a trolley specifically to work for their site, aisles and the people that were using it. As a result, the prototype alone created a 20 per cent increase in productivity. 

Describing the Southgate Design Team as ‘problem solvers’ O’Driscoll added: “Right from the initial survey to design brief, prototyping and final implementation, our solutions are built on expertise and experience.  

“Heading into an ever-evolving logistics landscape we see the new challenges in the industry as potential opportunities. Moving goods from A to B efficiently and cost-effectively will remain the key goal, but the way this can be achieved will continue to change. 

“In this environment, it will be the organisations that recognise issues within their operations and actively seek ways to not just address them but find the best solution that operates at maximum potential who will succeed. At Southgate, we look forward to working closely with them.”  

For more information about Southgate’s Design Services, click here.