Tomorrow’s Warehouse: Analysis
Henderson Recruitment offers this tip: ‘Queues around
terminals can be addressed by a greater use of hand-held
and wearable devices. These are becoming
increasingly affordable, and as personal equipment
they solve many of the contamination problems of
multi-user keypads etc’.
One of the most uncertain aspects of logistics at the
moment are the workers themselves. Will there be a
shortage? Will there be too many unemployed amid a
recession? Will EU-born workers stay or return? We
asked readers is they were worried about having access
to enough staff with the right skills at the right cost?
This was another very close call, with 41% indicating
they were indeed worried, while 47% were not. 12%
were on the fence.
A reader says ‘many of our staff are Eastern
Europeans, if they choose to return to their country of
origin we are very nervous about the prospect of
The pandemic has emphasised longstanding issues.
One respondent says: ‘There is an obvious shortage of
good quality drivers. They deserve a decent wage but
the rates clients are willing to pay for loads don't
support good wages’. Another adds ‘we are not currently
looking to expand, but in the future the people might
not be available, especially if they are not from the UK’.
That said, one reader told us they ‘have never really
had a problem with hiring staff for the warehouses, we
would start by using agency and convert to permanent
if the staff prove good’.
Interestingly, one respondent highlighted the
importance of staff versatility saying ‘more personnel
will be required to be multi-skilled or certificated’.
Leigh Anderson advises ‘a robust return to work plan
will create confidence by anticipating and assuaging
the concerns of current and future employees’.
Hard to argue with that. He goes on to outline the
importance of managers - ‘we will need agile and
progressive managers who can work remotely but
compassionately, and are ready to change direction
On the plus side, there may be unexpected
recruitment opportunities as highly skilled people find
themselves, through no fault of their own, without a
THE SUPPLY CHAIN
The pendulum swing in the bigger picture of the supply
chain concerns where goods are primarily sourced
from. There is much talk of the UK, and the West
generally, making a decisive move away from Asia and
China in particular. This was underway before Covid-19,
with Trump’s tariff war a symptom of the sense of
imbalance between West and East. Trust has not been
enhanced by the pandemic.
This is big picture economics and politics but it could
have a massive impact on warehousing in the UK. There
is reason to cautious, however.
We have outsourced exploitation and we have all
benefitted from it as consumers. Imagine if the Boohoo
scandal (where Leicester-based suppliers of the online
fashion retailer are accused of mistreating employees)
involved workers being paid and treated poorly in a
sweat-shop abroad. Would it even have been news?
Perhaps, this point won’t be lost on some unscrupulous
brands, who might be reluctant to reshore as it
increases the risk of exploitation in their supply chain
That said, there is undeniable thirst among our
readers to re-balance the UK economy with more
manufacturing at home.
We asked readers if they think the UK should become