Welcome to the February 2016 Back of Store feature, our first look of the year at warehousing and logistics for UK supermarkets, Co-ops and convenience store chains.

GTThis feature is here to inspire you to do the best possible job in this vital part of your business. At this time of year the focus in the back of store is likely to be on keeping the elements out and the heat in and lightening the winter gloom for the people working there with the ideal lighting solution. That’s on top of all the usual concerns about having the right warehouse equipment and keeping it in good working order.

The recent news is that the multiple grocers came through Christmas and New Year in style and kept their supply chains going throughout the holidays, despite our rain drenched islands suffering another festive soaking. Early 2016 will be best remembered for the heavy rains and the resulting floods covering swathes of the country as we returned to work. Here’s to the gutsy warehousing and logistics people working for the multiple retailers and their suppliers, who helped the relief effort in the worst affected areas and fought their way through to keep our supply chains moving.

It was reported at the height of the disruption that the Government had ignored the Environment Agency’s warnings in recent years about floodwater management and river dredging. Had the Government taken action early, the scale of the recent floods might have been reduced.

Meanwhile, the take out from the episode was that grocery retailers and their suppliers are expected to deliver the goods in all conditions, come rain or shine, including standing water and damaged road surfaces.

After six decades of excellent service from supermarkets, consumers take it for granted that they can get what they want, when they want it. With the move into Omnichannel the multiple grocers are now required to deliver the all-round shopping experience at all times. That’s the case regardless of whatever may be happening locally in terms of storms, floods, gridlocked traffic or other disturbances.

This expectation is not likely to change: it can only intensify, given the increased importance individual retailers place on differentiating themselves from the pack with such services as convenience format stores, home delivery and click and collect. And the Back of Store will continue to be what makes it happen.

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