We live and breathe delivery – it is the underlying rhythm of our industry

# # #

Logistics and supply chain has always been focussed on delivery. As practitioners we are tasked with delivering to our customers on time and in full, within (and preferably under!) budget.

We deliver projects, boxes, parcels, and results. It’s at the heart of what we do, and for many of us it’s the execution of the plan which gives us job satisfaction. We’re proud of what we do. And we should be. I spent 2020-21 supporting the pandemic response. As the country went into lockdown, I received a call asking me to support the set-up of a dedicated PPE hub for the NHS, and I rolled straight onto the Vaccine Programme in January 2021.

At the core of both operations was something we’re all familiar with – the need to store and ship the right things to the right people at the right time.

However the speed of execution required, and the uncertainty of the operating parameters, made this uncharted waters. There wasn’t any planning for peak – we were in it. The focus had to be on immediate need.

Removing that future view, that pressure to plan for the future, left us with one core objective – to deliver. In last month’s Focus I wrote about ‘Direction’ – developing plans to operate your end-end supply chain. ‘Deliver’ focuses on the creation, maintenance and fulfilment of customer orders.

  • Planning and control
  • Capacity management
  • Supply Chain management and inventory management
  • New product introduction and product life cycle management

Making sure your operation has the tools to deliver gives you a solid platform for change, and a baseline to measure improvements against. It’s critical to achieving, and quantifying, success.

“Embracing technology and automation, and building flexibility into supply chains, will be instrumental to the survival and success of businesses going forward.” John Hayward, Consultant at Hatmill.

The future of our industry lies in adopting and harnessing the technologies available to us, but you can’t do this without a robust starting point. Next time you’re planning for the future, or looking to invest in new technology, take the time to check that you’ve got the basics in place first.

This month, Peter Karan talks about how to increase your competitiveness, sharing insight from both his experience and wider reading on the topic. I was particularly taken by his comment on ‘best practice’ being a limiting phrase – we will always be constrained by our knowledge and we need to appreciate that what was considered optimised last week, and is ‘best practice’ today, is likely to still have room for improvement in the future.

Marie Brewster’s piece on Integrated Business Planning (IBP) demonstrates how this constant development of ‘best practice’ works in reality, as she highlights how her colleagues continually review their live IBP process to drive improvements to it.

How to have valuable engagement with automation suppliers from the get-go here



Ideas & Insights

Sharing Our Expertise

Our guides, ideas and views. Explore our insights to deliver tangible improvements to your supply chain and logistics operations.