Last week saw the annual United Kingdom Warehouse Association (UKWA) conference take place in the historic town of Stratford-upon-Avon.
However, whilst the town may be steeped in Shakespearean history, the conference has perhaps never been so forward thinking and inspirational to its delegates.
Attended by Carlton Forest 3PL’s Head of Transport, James Brindley; Head of Operations, Bradley Hall and Sue Schofield, Head of Sales Logistics, the team reflect on the positive influence that being at the conference has had on them, the business, and the industry.
Discussing many topics throughout the two-day event and welcoming a number of guest speakers, the conferences packed programme encompassed some of the subjects that are most pressing to those that work in the industry.
Summarising the event, the team cited their conference highlights as:
· The honesty to tackle the volatility of the economy at the moment and the impact that is having on the industry. However, a very in-depth explanation and predictions from Dr Walter Boettcher painted an overall positive outlook on the future of our economy and why it will continue to grow.
· How saving costs is critical to ongoing business success. The piece on alternative energy supply was interesting, and left us with food for thought going forward, together with a sense that Carlton Forest Group (CFG) already has a strong presence and influence in this sector, through our renewables division.
· How important Cyber Security is, and how much damage could be caused if businesses are not prepared. Highlighting the way in which threats raised are ever-changing, it helped us to understand how we need to be one step ahead. Reassuringly, our Technology and Innovation function are constantly working on ensuring that CFG is fully supported and protected against any future threats.
· That digitalisation needs to be the new norm. It was pleasing to see how we compared our current operation to some of the modernisation techniques that are out there already. The team have been embracing these changes and understanding what is needed to be, not only competitive, but industry leading.
Alternative energy and sustainability
One of the focuses of the conference was how alternative energy can be integrated into warehousing operations. UKWA CEO Claire Bottle, has been leading a campaign for the installation of solar energy to warehouses, and in September last year commented; “Out of sight, easy to maintain and affordable, the case for solar should be obvious and yet we are being held back by poor market practice and failures of regulation.”
Perhaps the presentation highlighted that it is not as cost prohibitive as people may have thought and certainly provided the room with inspiration as to how they could become more sustainable in the future.
The future looks bright
James Brindley, Head of Transport, Carlton Forest 3PL commented; “It was really positive to catch up with several our current contacts, who are also seeing the same trend of availability of work in the industry right now, and share experiences and best practice in readiness for the coming months, and the expected growth in 3PL and transport requirements.
“It was interesting to see the focus on digitalisation, and the importance of embracing the relevant platforms, to enhance offerings and support to our customers, something we are utilising daily through Hubspot at Carlton Forest 3PL.”
Engaging with the wider industry can deliver tangible reassurance and consolidate opinion, activity, and the way in which the industry is future proofed.
Reflecting on the conference and the new perspectives gained, Bradley Hall, said; “Listening to experts, colleagues and industry peers made me realise that, as a business, we are ahead of the curve in terms of the current processes and improvements we have made as the business has grown.
“We’ve already embraced and embedded technology and digitalisation to help support existing and new customers working with us and this is why it’s so important not to stand still. We must continue to be consistent in our approach to improving our offering, and looking ahead to what the future will bring for the industry, both in the 3PL and Renewables divisions.”
Known for its forward thinking approach to delivering bespoke 3PL and transport solutions, Carlton Forest 3PL continues to push forward with its five year strategic growth plan which will see it continue to expand its operations and continue the integration of technology and sustainability into the business.
Sue Schofield concluded; “Following the Conference it is clear from the presentations that the biggest changes in the next five years will be across technology, digitalisation, and environmental improvements.
“The start that we have already made as a business, understanding that these areas will be an important and a necessary part of the industry moving forward, has given us a strong foundation to build upon, and will mean we can be pro-active in our approach to change, particularly as economic growth continues at pace.”