Monday, March 23, 2020

Responsibility for Ensuring the Importance of the Supply Chain Lies with Logistics Firms Themselves

Sign Up to Your Industry Lobby Groups If You Want Permanently Enhanced Recognition
Shipping News Feature

UK – As the world faces up to a pandemic, the like of which is beyond living memory, so the role played by the array of professional associations which represent the entire supply chain has become highlighted. When, as now, a government is bombarded from all sectors, scientific, technological, financial, agricultural, medical and, particularly logistical, it is forced to draw on the expertise of those employed solely to ensure their particular profession maintains the standards essential to keep society on an even keel.

In normal times everyone in the trade knows logistics is the ‘hidden industry’. No matter that everything we use and consume in our daily lives first has to be delivered, society has now reached a stage where it expects ‘free’ delivery on many items, the truth of which is that pressure is put on final mile companies to cut costs to the bone.

Now we have a situation where the government is seen to be drowning, not waving, and it has turned to the professional bodies which understand the realities of supply, both domestic and international, to advise and update it to minimise what would otherwise be an even bigger catastrophe.

The likes of the British International Freight Association (BIFA), the United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA), the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the Rail Freight Group (RFG) and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) have all been called upon to advise and consult on how to minimise problems and keep Britain moving.

Issues such as drivers hours, MOTs for trucks and trailers, the lifting of delivery restrictions at night, the temporary cancelling of emission zones, suspension of lorry control schemes, the agreement to help with salaries to ensure staff are on hand, the acknowledgement that we work in a ‘special category industry’, access to loans, help with business rates, all of these and much more have come about because of advice given by the trade bodies to local and national government.

One day this will all be over. It is important that those organisations maintain the level of influence they now have in the current political climate, something they will surely strive to do. However it is for each company within that long line of links that forge our supply chain to support them in their ongoing task.

This really is a case of no legislation without representation. If any company expects to derive the benefits of a situation in which the rule book has been torn up, it is incumbent on each one to sign up as members of the organisations most relevant to their sector of the industry. Only by supporting those lobbyists who have the ear of government, particularly at this time, and hopefully for the future, can logistics move out of the shadows.

So whether you are a freight forwarder, a fulfilment house, a road haulage operator or even a wholesaler or retailer, all of you depend on having the voice of the logistics sector heard in the corridors of power. Therefore it is essential for you to join the appropriate trade bodies to ensure your representations will be considered.

Photo: Suddenly the urban dwellers may come to appreciate the benefits of night time deliveries. Courtesy of Volvo.