THE WAREHOUSE – Strong sales justify supply chain investment – The comment from The Grocery Trader

chaz2Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s quarterly Warehouse & Logistics feature. The CBI’s latest survey shows retail sales growing at their fastest since April 2007, with the World Cup and the seasonal warm weather contributing to increased consumer spending.

The retail sectors showing the strongest growth were grocers, clothing, and footwear and leather. Better still, the CBI survey shows sales growth expected to go on in August.

Other sectors have been hit hard by the credit crunch and ensuing recession, but retail has been turning in a consistently strong performance in the tough economic climate. These latest figures definitely justify the major supermarkets’ commitment to continued investment in their warehousing and logistics infrastructures.

As reported on last month’s front page, Tesco has selected Toyota Material Handling to supply the material handling fleet for their new Avonmouth depot. Toyota will support the operation with the supply and service of a fleet of over 130 units including low-level order pickers and powered pallet trucks, helping operators to pick productively and safely. Enhancing the retailer’s supply capability in the Southwest, the new depot will handle over two million cases of fresh and frozen food each week to fill the shelves of 235 Tesco stores in the region.

Suppliers and retailers are more equal partners in the warehouse and logistics space, than elsewhere in the grocery scenario. As Alex Laffey, Network Development director for Tesco, explained, “Our supply chain is a critical part of our commitment to our customers as it allows us to provide the value for money, range and convenience they expect, all in first class condition. This means we place great importance on the partners we choose as they must share our commitment to quality, our customers and to the environment.”

In a second major development, Briggs Equipment UK, the national independent service provider and materials handling equipment specialist, is to take over Yale UK’s assets and become the exclusive distributor of Yale Materials Handling’s trucks in mainland UK excluding Northern Ireland. Under the agreement Briggs UK will look after Yale’s new and used truck sales, plus rental, contract hire, service and parts.

The deal takes effect from 1 August. Briggs will continue to look after CAT trucks in the UK until the end of September. Briggs Equipment will run its UK Yale distribution from Briggs’ existing UK base at Cannock. Briggs does not make any trucks itself and is totally service-based: it will be interesting to see how the truck manufacturers and their distributors respond with competitive service offerings.

The Grocery Trader