The Manufacturer’s guide to Logistics

Posted on 8 Mar 2012

Manufacturers need modern, slick, reliable logistics. Technology, such as automated warehouse systems and RFID, can provide part of the solution. But the UK logistics sector is blessed with several stakeholders dedicated to improve the efficiency of your logistics.

Download the report

In this special feature, TM explores:

  • Planning for the London Olympic and Paralympic Games with Freight Transport Association
  • Carbon Plan proves that industry is its own best referee for carbon emissions
  • AMHSA’s Future Material Handling symposium debates big issues for automated warehouse management
  • World Couriers case study: Critical aircraft part is delivered to Paris CDG airport 4.5 hours after company receives the call
  • Palletised freight in Scotland and Ireland get a lift from Palletline’s new Scotland hub
  • Benefits of outsourcing to 3PLs explained by the United Kingdom Warehousing Association

Business must get on the starting blocks for Olympic Challenge

Natalie Chapman of the Freight Transport Association
Natalie Chapman of the Freight Transport Association

In just under four months the UK will host the largest and second largest events in the world. Both the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games present a huge challenge to the logistics industry that supplies manufacturers, especially in the South East. Natalie Chapman of the Freight Transport Association explains that while some companies are on the starting blocks, many have not begun to warm up.

Whether you supply manufacturers or are reliant on those suppliers, the level of business preparedness ahead of the Olympics at this stage in the game is far from convincing.

In a recent survey conducted by the FTA, transport operators were asked by FTA to rate their Olympic contingency plans. Around one in four were ‘not at all prepared’ to hire additional vehicles or drivers to cope with greater volumes. While around one in six road freight operators had not made contingency plans with their customers, among them manufacturers, to deal with potential disruption on or around the Central London road network.

There is certainly information out there but it is not a complete picture and some information has come quite late in the day, such as details on the Olympic Route Network. At the time of writing we are still waiting for all of the local area traffic management and parking plans around venues from the organizing committee LOCOG , and how boroughs will relax night time deliver curfews, which many in the industry see as an essential part of Olympic planning.

For companies that rely on suppliers of parts for manufacturing, it is perhaps more worrying that under half of transport operators said they were ‘adequately prepared’ in terms of talking to their customers on contingencies for potential disruption within and outside the Central London road network.

While it should be noted that this figure was closer to a quarter in July 2011, at this rate there will still be some suppliers who are leaving it until the very last minute to make sure that all their bases are covered should something unexpected disrupt the supply chain this summer.

However, some logistics providers are rising to the Olympic challenge. Norbert Dentressengle Transport Services is one such company aware of the potential disruption the Olympics will bring to the normal movement of freight in and around London. As a major player in the supply chain, it supports everyone from global brands such as Ford and Coca-Cola, to smaller UK manufacturers and their customers.

They deliver to and collect from literally thousands of locations that will be affected by the Olympics and Paralympics. Zac Brown, Operations Director, said: “We have access to huge quantities of data that mean that we know which collection/ delivery points will be affected and when plus the usual volumes of freight involved – the next steps are working with our customers to mitigate the effects.

Contingency planning

“We have a large owned fleet which provides the latest specifications to limit impact to the low emission zone; vehicle maintenance has been brought forward, and; fuel bunker preparations are in hand to avoid disruption. We have undertaken a full review of our infrastructure in the area to ensure we are fully prepared for the forthcoming disruption. Our vehicles are also equipped with telematics – allowing us to see where they are and allowing us to re-route if needed.”

Olympic planning might not require as onerous a solution as you might imagine; perhaps necessitating little more than arranging to receive goods and parts out-of-hours, for example. So, if your supplier hasn’t spoken to you about contingency planning yet it might be worth putting the call in yourself.

It’s not all doom and gloom; Olympic preparedness in the industry has crept up since we first asked these questions back in July last year, but it still falls way short of where it needs to be. A prolonged period of high demand – FTA is telling its members to treat the Games and the Paralympic Games like a three-month Christmas period – against the backdrop of severe delivery restrictions poses a huge challenge. But there are things that transport operators can do right now to limit the impact and help make the UK’s Games a transport success story.

  • Check your known delivery locations against the TfL postcode list available from (you will need to register)
  • If a postcode is affected, look at the ORN maps on the TfL website to determine how that delivery point will be restricted. Even if there are no additional restrictions to the delivery point, routing may be affected, so check your current routes against the ORN maps. (
  • Talk to your customers about how their deliveries may be affected next summer. Ask for estimates of volumes. Can you deliver in a different way (Reduce, Retime, Reroute or Revise-mode)? (See uk/2012 for more ideas)
  • Consider how you will resource your business next summer. Plan your scheduled maintenance to minimise vehicle down time during the Olympics. Consider any changes to your staff holiday policy for the Olympics. Do you need to hire in more drivers or extra vehicles?
  • Check if there are any other operating restrictions that you need to overcome. Are all the vehicles you will be using in London compliant with the new tougher Low Emission Zone standards which take effect in January? Do you need to apply for a London Lorry Control Scheme permit if you wish to operate at night or at weekends in London? Do you have environmental restrictions at any of your operating centres which will prevent you from servicing your customers at night?

Businesses unsure about how the Olympics will affect the supply chain this summer should visit www.fta. html or contact Natalie Chapman at [email protected].

Voluntary scheme shows CO2 reductions in supply chain

2011 saw the challenge of climate change emerge as a potential solution to create green growth and employment by UK Government.

A major publication known as the Carbon Plan was launched in December by the Department of Energy and Climate Change effectively drawing together all governmental policies, from transport to agriculture, in one strategy. The opportunity to encourage efficiencies and create new low carbon industries is at the forefront of the Carbon Plan. But it is not just Government that has the monopoly on good ideas on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Fifty-nine freight operators from 3PLs and retailers to small hauliers, waste companies and local authorities, have committed to record, report and reduce their carbon emissions and collectively reduce the carbon intensity of their freight operations by 8% by 2015 based on 2010 levels. FTA believes that when it comes to carbon reduction, industry is best placed to voluntarily report emissions and adopt decarbonisation measures that make commercial sense.

The recently published Logistics Carbon Reduction Scheme (LCRS ) second annual report shows that given the opportunity to take action voluntarily, industry can and is making reductions in carbon emission levels. And the Government agrees. In April 2011, Mike Penning, Transport Minister endorsed the scheme as a key initiative for industry to significantly reduce carbon emissions. At this time, there were just over 40,000 commercial vehicles covered by the scheme; by the publication of the second annual report, this number has grown to over 56,000.

Between 2009 and 2010, there was a 2.6% reduction in emissions intensity when measuring carbon against vehicle kilometres. The beauty of the scheme is that participants have flexibility over reporting, they provide what data they have, and while some operators are just starting on the carbon journey, others are more advanced. Operators are asked to supply simple data like the number of litres of diesel used by the company, number of vehicle kilometres, turnover and full time equivalents, all on a strictly confidential basis. This is on a strictly confidential basis. The main requirement is that operators are consistent in their reporting and the LCRS team are always on hand to answer any queries.

We also visit each operator at least once to discuss the company’s data submission in more depth to ensure that the data is robust and credible. This doesn’t mean sifting through fuel invoices but talking about how the data that is provided to the LCRS is relied on within the rest of the business. The initial start-up data review was a key factor in securing the Minister’s endorsement for the scheme last year as there was confidence that the aggregated figures published each year are accurate and credible.

Join the freight review

As the scheme enters its third year of operation, FTA has developed a framework to monitor the uptake of carbon emission reduction interventions from logistics. This is designed to support the datasets and provide core examples of how operators are cutting their emissions such as eco-driver training, reducing engine idling and making greater use of double deck vehicles. In the second annual report, the results of 2010 low carbon intervention survey are published and reveal the measures that LCRS participants are using to cut emissions the most popular carbon saving interventions that are being trialled. For instance, by extending the use of onboard vehicle telematics and using low carbon hgv technologies.

The LCRS shows that the issue of carbon is being taken seriously by operators and reductions in emissions are happening. The scheme has succeeded in avoiding government taking regulatory action to make cuts in freight emissions. But there is still much to be done in growing the scheme to an even bigger critical mass.

The Department for Transport is committed to undertaking a Freight Review in summer 2012 to assess the contribution that industry is making to national greenhouse gas reduction targets. LCRS will form part of the evidence to decide whether the Government needs to look again at regulation. Our voice will be much more influential, as the more transport operators join the scheme. The scheme is free of charge, open to all commercial vehicle operators, large or small, and collects simple datasets.

For more information, contact Rachael Dillon: [email protected]. To access the LCRS second annual report visit: and search LCRS.