Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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Is Your Warehouse Ready For A Billion-Pound Online Christmas?

Corporate finance consulting firm Deloitte have forecast that season sales figures will hit the £40bn mark this year – with IMRG predicting £10.8bn in online sales alone. This is around a 5% increase on the last two years, where sales figures grew by less than 2% – hampered by a struggling economy still well in the throes of recession.


However, with consumer confidence on the rise, unemployment rates at their lowest since the effects of the credit crunch were felt towards the end of 2008, and overall economic growth of 0.8% in Q3, purse strings are expected to loosen and spending is likely to increase.

The shoppers are ready, but are you? This guest post, courtesy of warehouse supplier SHS Handling, runs through what analysts predict the challenges to be and what your warehouse can do to overcome them.

Ensure You Have Enough Staff

images (1)According to recruitment organisation, The Cordant Group, roughly 28,000 temporary seasonal workers will be hired every week between now and Christmas – a 40% increase over typical recruitment levels. To ensure that your warehouse can handle the inevitable extra work, orders and stock processing, utilising this seasonal recruitment drive is absolutely vital – it’s almost certain that your current staffing levels won’t be able to (or will struggle to) cope.

downloadIt’s important to identify which areas of your warehouse operation suffer the most strain and increase in work (e.g. pickers and packers), and from there decide how many temporary staff you’ll need to cope with the extra work load. It’s important to note that zero hour contracts have come under scrutiny recently, meaning temporary work with some kind of base hours in the contract will likely attract more applicants.

Enough Stock, But Not Too Much

images (2)Spending might be up, and predicted to only rise further, but companies are taking a more tentative approach to stock levels, hoping to preserve the improving health of the retail sector. Professional services company KPMG have forecast that 2013 will be the UK’s most understocked Christmas to date.

Far from being a sign of retail weakness (all predictions point to the opposite), KPMG’s retail head, David McCorquodale, says it’s to preserve margins by not carrying unnecessary stock. He said: “[Retailers] are carrying three to four per cent less stock in comparison to this time last year. This reduction will save these retailers millions in wasted margin.”

imagesThe key takeaway here is that overestimating your stock needs will certainly result in too many products in your warehouse, requiring discounting to shift and recover as much of your margin back as possible. With many retailers funding stock themselves, due to difficulty for buying on credit, this isn’t a risk that it’s possible to take.

Correct Handling Access Equipment

According to the HSE’s latest figures on accidents in the workplace, handling and lifting accidents are the most common, with slipping and tripping coming in at a close second. Avoid unnecessary carrying with trucks, trolleys and pallet trucks; stem the risk of falling with correct access equipment; avoid forklift accidents with relevant attachments for your industry.

download (1)It’s therefor vital that sufficient equipment is introduced into your operation to reduce the risks of these accidents occurring which, additionally, relies on relevant training to staff.  Amazon’s ‘fulfilment centres’ are perhaps some of the largest retailer warehouses in the country, and they enjoy a RIDDOR rate (“Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations” rate) of less than 40% of the UK average – showing that high safety rates are possible even in the largest and busiest warehouses.  

This guest post was written by Tom McShane – industry blogger, Christmas lover and writer for SHS Handling, who supply handling and logistical equipment to warehouses across the UK.

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