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Digital transformation will take patience 23/05/2024

The rhetoric is outpacing reality on value chain transformation, with only 1 in 100 manufacturers able to fully automate processes and just 14% redesigning to reduce scope 3 emissions, according to management consultancy Kearney.

THE WORLD Economic Forum, in collaboration with global consultancy Kearney, has released a White Paper exploring the actions manufacturing leaders are taking to redesign their global value chains along key trends that are reshaping those and transforming manufacturing systems. From Disruption to Opportunity: Strategies for Rewiring Global Value Chains is based on a survey of 300 global operations executives as well as 30 consultations, revealing a playbook of proven strategies enacted by leading manufacturers to redesign and future-proof their value chains in response to global challenges. However, the results also indicate a significant gap between strategic intent and operational delivery.

Mapped against the five key trends that are shaping the rewiring of global value chains, a gap exists between strategic intent and operational delivery.


92% of organisations are regionalising their manufacturing footprint, but only 28% aim to have nearly all-in-region-for-region operations by 2030.


64% or executives perceive AI solutions as the key to driving supply chain improvements, but only 1 in 100 have been able to eliminate manual Excel-like spreadsheets.


60% of the workforce needs training to bridge today’s skills gaps, but 23% of operations executives estimate the majority of their workforce is equipped with supply chain and operations skills they need by 2030.


45% of respondents highlighted sustainability as one of the two most important drivers for supply chain reconfiguration, but only 14% are redesigning their manufacturing network to reduce scope 3 emissions.


60% of those surveyed rated customer value as one of the priorities in driving supply chain reconfiguration, but 15% cited tangible actions taken to simultaneously strengthen performance, resilience and sustainability.

Kearney senior partner Per Hong, says: “It is evident industry leaders recognise the need for a wholesale rewiring of value chains in response to societal, environmental, and geopolitical upheavals. However, there is still work to do when it comes to operational delivery, largely due to the scale and complexity of the necessary changes, along with the opportunity costs. Closing this gap will require resources, patience, flexibility and agility, but must be a focus to overcome future value chain disruption.”

Read the full report here

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Logistics company snaps up Wolverhampton shed 21/05/2024

Temperature controlled logistics company Romac Logistics has taken the last unit at developer Barberry’s 224,000 ft2 Wolf Pack scheme in Wolverhampton.

By Liza Helps Property Editor Logistics Matters

THE SCHEME, which was funded by Knight Frank Investment Management and Local Pensions Partnership Investment, has been let on a 15 year lease and will act as a new hub for the logistics company. The 113,470 ft2 building formed one of three new units on a 12-acre site known at Hilton Cross Business Park, Wolverhampton. 

It was built to BREEAM Excellent and EPC A rating. Romac Logistics’ owner Rob McAdoo said: “This strategic move represents a significant milestone in Romac Logistics’ journey and reflects our commitment to providing pioneering and sustainable end-to-end logistics solutions while meeting the evolving needs of our customers.”

Barberry acquired the site from South Staffordshire Council for an undisclosed sum. 

Knight Frank Investment Management (KFIM) acquired the site for its client Local Pensions Partnership Investment in 2022 with a forward commitment to buy the completed buildings and has since worked with Barberry to secure lettings over all three units. 

The joint letting agents were Harris Lamb, Bulleys and JLL. 

Romac Logistics is a leading chilled and ambient food and drink 3PL specialist with a mission to provide high-quality, end-to-end, reliable and cost-effective solutions to customers. Formed in 2018, it has established itself as a rapidly growing business, offering first-class service.

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Midbox scheme for Havant 21/05/2024

Royal London Asset Management Property has partnered with Canmoor Developments to acquire and redevelop a 4.16-acre brownfield site in Havant to provide a brand new grade A midbox scheme.

By Liza Helps Property Editor

THE INVESTOR has paid £5.13 million for the site from the administrators of HVAC equipment manufacturer Dunham-Bush for £5.13m.

The strategic acquisition paves the way for the demolition of the 106,923 ft2 former manufacturing facility and the development of three Grade A industrial units, providing 104,320 ft2 of lettable floor area. The new development will be targeting EPC A+ and BREEAM Outstanding.

Havant is one of the South Coast’s core logistics locations, benefitting from excellent connectivity via road and rail. Strategically located at the intersection of M27, A27, and A3, the area allows occupiers to service markets across Hampshire, Surrey, and West Sussex. The region hosts a robust base of occupants including national distribution, last-mile logistics, advanced manufacturing, and naval/maritime industries.

Savills advised the administrator.

The deal was part of a series of transactions in the industrial and logistics sector worth more than £350m by Royal London Asset Management. These also included the sale of 33.6 acres of industrial and logistics assets in Southall, West London, and the leasing of 36,000 ft2 of warehousing space to a schools and colleges  educational supplier at Springfield Business Park in Chelmsford on a 10-year lease. The final two units at Springfield Business Park were developed by Royal London Asset Management Property in 2023. The units have been rated BREEAM ‘Excellent’, EPC A and are provided with PV panels, EV charging points and bike storage. The GDV of the scheme is estimated at £30m.

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Urban logistics scheme secures planning 21/05/2024

Chancerygate has secured planning permission to speculatively build a 59,500 ft2 urban logistics scheme in Manchester.

By Liza Helps Property Editor

THE DEVELOPMENT, known as Eastside, will comprise nine units ranging from 4,000 ft2 to 14,000 ft2 and will be built on the 2.3 acre site of the former Walkers of Manchester printing facility in Clayton. Development is due to commence in September this year.

Units will target BREEAM Very Good and an EPC A rating and be available either on a leasehold or freehold basis. All units will benefit from electric vehicle charging points, low air permeability design and solar cells on their roofs which provide green energy on an affordable basis to occupiers.

In addition, the units will be constructed from high-performance insulated cladding and roof materials to reduce CO2 emissions. The projected gross development value is approximately £15m. 

Joint agents are JLL and Colliers.

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Harley Davidson announces supply chain partnership 20/05/2024

KINAXIS HAS signed the contract to provide supply chain management to the iconic motorcycle brand.  

KINAXIS PROVIDES end-to-end supply chain transparency and improved demand planning capabilities to adapt and respond to demand changes. The company was selected due to its trusted reputation within the automotive industry, with global brands such as Volvo, Ford, Subaru and General Motors.

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Perks are great but working conditions are key 20/05/2024

In recent years, the fulfilment industry has faced significant scrutiny over its workplace practices, particularly concerning the mental health and overall wellbeing of its employees, says Zihana Jaleel.

THIS CRITICISM has largely been directed at major organisations like Amazon - with numerous allegations of gruelling shift patterns, inadequate health and safety measures, and physically demanding tasks leading to a series of well-documented strikes.

Are the benefits, perks and initiatives offered by many firms actually making a genuine difference to employees’ lives?

In my role, I have a front-row seat to the challenges and opportunities in promoting mental health within the fulfilment industry, and work closely with our teams to understand what they find most useful when it comes to supporting their wellbeing. 

The biggest takeaway I’ve learnt over the years? The answer doesn’t just lie in free bowls of fruit or team yoga classes.

Poor working conditions will always equal poor mental health

Of course, it would be remiss of me to suggest that the fun and slightly more quirky wellbeing perks are totally redundant. Access to free exercise classes, support with gym memberships and providing healthy food and drinks are often very well received. In fact, at Huboo, we do offer our teams free yoga classes and regular sports clubs - both of which draw in a decent turnout each week and allow people to blow off some steam and spend time together, away from their desks and laptops.

However, they barely scratch the surface when it comes to addressing the core issues that impact our employees' wellbeing, especially if the foundational working conditions remain unchanged.

Improving working conditions must be the cornerstone of any strategy aimed at safeguarding mental health in our sector. Acknowledging that the mental health of our workforce is as crucial as any logistical or operational metric is key. In light of this, a profound shift towards enhancing workplace conditions should be a top priority. Not only does this improve the immediate work environment, but it also serves as the foundation for all other wellness initiatives to be effective. When employees operate in a safe, supportive, and respectful environment, they are more likely to engage positively with the additional perks and support systems, leading to a healthier, more productive workforce across the board. 

To enhance our employees' mental and physical wellbeing, we've pioneered a unique 'hub' model in our warehouses. This model breaks down the traditional warehouse into smaller, more manageable hubs that house items in a way that reduces physical strain and leverages technology to enhance the roles of our human hub managers. This not only diminishes the physical demands typically associated with fulfilment work, but also enriches job content, leading to greater job satisfaction and remarkably lower staff turnover levels.

Listen to employees, don’t just follow trends

It’s easy for employers to fall into the trap of following the latest HR trends - introducing new processes, benefits and schemes at a whim, only for them to fall by the wayside a few months later. 

In my experience, the initiatives that make the most difference are the ones that involve listening to employees - asking for their thoughts and opinions on how your business can be run in a better way; understanding their biggest bugbears and then actively addressing them.  

This not only empowers employees but also builds trust and loyalty - both crucial elements in fostering a positive workplace culture. We've been trialling Coffee & Cake in our UK offices, and plan to roll it out internationally at Huboo. These are informal gatherings where employees from various levels of the organisation can discuss their views and concerns in an open forum, directly with senior management.  

The sessions are often cited by our teams as one of the most beneficial practices we offer. Why? Because these kind of initiatives go beyond mere token gestures; they are fundamental in creating a responsive and adaptive work environment. 

By ensuring that employee feedback directly influences policy and operational decisions, we demonstrate a commitment to people’s overall wellbeing and professional satisfaction. This approach not only mitigates potential mental health issues by addressing them before they escalate, but also enhances the collective performance of the workforce.

Ultimately, the future of workplace wellness in the fulfilment industry hinges on a culture of continuous listening and meaningful action. By truly valuing employee feedback and prioritising their wellbeing, we can transform the sector into one that supports both personal and professional growth.

Zihana Jaleel, head of HR, Huboo

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Heineken invests in demand planning IT 20/05/2024

BLUE YONDER has been confirmed as a vendor of trust to further transform its supply chain planning capability.

The brewer will implement Blue Yonder Cognitive Demand Planning, a next generation cloud-native, microservices-based SaaS solution, that utilises artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to improve forecast accuracy and reduce bias by considering dynamic external and internal variables. 

Heineken digital & technology global planning manager Corneel Hindriks, says: “We want to continuously improve our supply chain processes and adopting Blue Yonder Cognitive Demand Planning is an important step in that ambition. Working together with Blue Yonder will support us in our ambition to become the best-connected brewer and foster functional excellence in demand planning, leading to improved customer experience. And with the right supply response it could generate a positive impact on our sustainability targets as well, for example by reduced write-offs and fewer goods movements.”


The overwhelming majority (84%) of global businesses report experienced supply chain disruptions within the last year, according to a survey by Blue Yonder. The 2024 Supply Chain Executive survey found disruptions were driven primarily by the lack of availability of raw materials (48%), extended delivery times from material suppliers (47%), lack of labour (44%) and lack of availability on shipping vessels (41%). Globally, the most common results of supply chain disruptions are delays for customers (42%), stalled production (42%), and loss of compliance with new regulations (39%).

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Milestone reached in MHE training certificates 20/05/2024

THE ACCREDITING Bodies Association for Workplace Transport (ABA) members issued more than 100,000 training certificates for Counterbalance Forklift Trucks and Reach Trucks in 2023.

In 2023, training certificates were issued by ABA accrediting bodies as follows:
Counterbalance Forklift Trucks (ABA Category B1, B2, B3, B4)
    •    Novice, experienced, and conversion training – 43,755
    •    Refresher training – 44,284

Reach Trucks (ABA Category D1, D2, D3)
    •    Novice, experienced, and conversion training – 10,070
    •    Refresher training – 6,614

The majority of all lift truck training in the UK is conducted through training providers accredited by a member of the ABA. This enables employers to deliver externally verified certificates to trained materials handling equipment (MHE) operators, providing reassurance, credibility, and accountability, in addition to helping improve safety and efficiency in workplace transport operations.

For more information, visit https://abawt.co.uk

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Brownfield development gets go ahead 20/05/2024

Oldbury-based investment and development firm Goold Estates has secured planning permission to regenerate a vacant brownfield site in Wolverhampton.

By Liza Helps Property Editor Logistics Matters

THE COMPANY secured planning approval for the 12-acre site from Wolverhampton Council earlier this month.

Known as Foundry Park £28 million speculatively developed project will deliver 166,500 ft2 across 15 warehouse units, ranging in size from 2,500 ft2 to 60,000 ft2.

The scheme will target BREEAM Excellent rating and include features such as photovoltaic roof panels and EV charging stations.

Goold Estates is the City of Wolverhampton Council’s chosen developer for the Bilston Urban Village employment site and purchased the land from the council.

The Foundry Park scheme represents the final phase of development at the Bilston Urban Village. Remediation work is expected to start on site shortly, with the main construction following in 2025.  

Goold Estates managing director Dominic Goold, said: “This is a site with a complex industrial past, which has been vacant for more than 15 years, so we’ve had to make a significant investment in planning the extensive remediation that will be required before building the scheme. We now look forward to starting the remediation works.”

Foundry Park is immediately adjacent to the Black Country Route with easy access to Jct 10 of the M6. The Midland Metro runs along the boundary of the site, with Bilston Station within walking distance.

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Hillwood secures funding for Crewe scheme 20/05/2024

Logistics real estate company Hillwood has secured £33 million funding for its 335,000 ft2 Crewe 335 development in Crewe from investor Cain International.

By Liza Helps Property Editor Logistics Matters

THE DEVELOPMENT will feature 15m eaves, Grade A offices, dock level access loading bays, an extensive outdoor yard area and separate car parking. Crewe 335 will be built to BREEAM "Excellent" standards and aims to achieve an EPC “A” rating.

Hillwood’s EU Industrial Club IV and Cain International will go forward with the scheme as strategic partners. Macfarlanes and Addleshaw Goddard acted on behalf of Hillwood and Cain International, respectively, and were instrumental in completing the financing.

Crewe 335 will be located less than a mile from the A500 Dual Carriageway and some six minutes travel time from Junction 16 of the M6 motorway 

Hillwood Director Debt Capital Markets Armin Senoner, said: "This transaction signifies the initiation of a strategic alliance with Cain, as we aim to enhance our debt capital markets presence throughout the UK and other European markets."

Hillwood established its UK presence in 2018, and has delivered more than 2.5 million ft2 of state-of-the-art logistics. Currently, Hillwood is in the process of developing an additional 2.5 million ft2. 

Joint agents are Knight Frank and Avison Young.

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