5 December 2022

The rise of resilient supply chains

The covid pandemic brought home many things to us all. How quickly normal life can be turned upside down. How much we value and owe our National Health Service and the wonderful people who work in it. How brilliant scientists and innovation can save countless lives. It also brought home just how important supply chain logistics is, both for our economy and for us as individuals.


We are incredibly proud of our colleagues at Menzies who literally went the extra mile to make sure PPE was delivered to care homes and hospitals and that businesses received the vital supplies they needed to keep going. Countless others across our industry did the same to keep supermarket shelves stocked and petrol forecourts open. Yes, there were huge challenges and times when shortages hit but, overall, our supply chains adapted and coped with what was the biggest shock our country and economy have seen for many decades.


Given what we have all been through it is no surprise that supply chain resilience has risen up boardroom agendas. More than ever businesses are looking to work with logistics partners that have the scale and fire power to provide reliable, time-critical solutions that can also flex and adapt to dynamic, fast-changing requirements. The impact of the pandemic and our leaving the European Union have both sparked and accelerated significant market changes. For example we have seen growing demand for ‘just-in-case’ deliveries, and the industry sees rapid growth in the B2C and C2X sectors as business models have evolved through and beyond the pandemic.


The drive towards net zero is also having a major, but positive, impact on supply chains. Menzies is proud to have targeted 2035 for reaching net zero for Scope 1 and 2 emissions – 15 years

ahead of the date set in UK legislation. We recognise the scale of the challenge, particularly given the nature of our business, but we also know it is the right thing to do for our own future, as well as for our customers and the country as a whole. Leading businesses across the entire economy are also working hard towards a fully sustainable future and recognise that their logistics partners are a critical element in helping them deliver on their own commitments. Aside from reducing the environmental impact of deliveries, they are increasingly demanding the ability to track and audit emissions on a per package basis, both as a means of engaging and informing their customers and to measure their progress.


Our business is meeting these changing demands and our own targets through a raft of initiatives to innovate and drive down our environmental impacts. We have a dedicated electric vehicle fleet for final mile deliveries and were the first to introduce EV deliveries to the Scottish Highlands & Islands. We ensure we use 100% clean, renewable power across all our sites. Through advanced telematics, route-planning, trailer aerodynamics and driver training we are minimising our fuel usage. We also have pioneered the use of longer semi-trailers which offer 20% more capacity and a significant reduction in road miles. Combined with creating one of the largest commercial EV charging infrastructures in the UK with vehicle-to-grid technology, major investments in the adoption of Euro 6 standard vehicles, recyclable and non-PVC livery and scoping the trialling alternative fuels like hydrotreated vegetable oil, we are continually looking at everything through a sustainability lens, asking ourselves what more we can do.


One area we have been developing rapidly and that we believe will play an increasingly important role in the future is consolidation. Today, too many vehicles are delivering different products to the same end user. Consolidation centres – where products are delivered to a hub and sorted for efficient delivery to a single address – can help businesses reduce both costs and environmental impacts. This requires the scale and truly national network that a company like Menzies has to offer, but will in our view become an increasingly important capability in the years ahead.


One other factor is becoming recognised by our customers as being key to the logistics solutions they need for the future – the ability to get fully under the skin of their business and develop a truly one-team approach, focused exclusively on their needs. Only by working closely in partnership can you develop the kind of relationship that delivers ongoing innovation and continuous improvement for both the business and the environment, while also turning the supply chain into a strategic advantage. Consequently, we see longer-term partnerships rather than short transactional contracts becoming the norm rather than the exception. Bespoke logistics solutions that deliver real and evolving value for the client rather than a simplistic off-the-shelf approach.


This rapidly changing landscape means that logistics is a fantastic and fascinating industry of which we can be proud to be a part. Recognised by the Government as the backbone of our economy, it offers a wealth of interesting career options for everyone interested in creating a better, sustainable future for us all.

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