SWIRE Cold Storage (SCS) embarked on a recent tour of the UK, with the focus on 3PLs providing Primary Consolidation Centres (PCCs) or acting as Regional Distribution Centres (RDCs) for the major UK retailers.
This tour follows highly successful study tours of the US, UK and Europe in 2001 and 2003.
The tour provided SCS with great insight into some of the major emerging trends in the UK market and the potential impact of such supply chain initiatives on the Australian industry, including the challenges these will present to Australian suppliers and 3PLs.
Craig Bowyer, SCS General Manager-Retail Contracts and tour leader, described some of the UK trends:
* Significant growth of factory gate/primary freight transport initiatives, controlled by the major retailers.
* Increased focus on inbound delivery disciplines, with a further tightening of delivery windows and KPIs measured on both early and late delivery.
* Shortage of drivers and warehouse staff causing UK companies to source staff from Eastern Europe and Africa.
* Growth in commodities packaged in 'shelf ready' format, especially produce, flowers and meat products.
* Continued emergence of retail convenience type outlets, either as express outlets or integrated into fuel stations.
* Limited uptake of RFID technology for a variety of reasons but mainly due to non-substantial benefits.
SCS is determined to continue to stay abreast of the world's best practice, and in doing so, share with its customers the implications of supply chain initiatives currently taking place within the Australian market.