UK Mail to invest £21mn to develop new supply chain facilities
Following its acqu...
UK Mail is to invest over £21mn (€23mn) in three new sites within its network across the UK to support recent and future growth.
Following its acquisition by Deutsche Post DHL Group in December 2016, the company is now handling over 20% more parcel volumes due to increasing levels of imported and domestic traffic from the B2C retail sector.
A new facility in Enfield, North London, will open in October 2017 following investment of £10m (€11.7m). The new site is 70,000 square ft, three times the size of the existing operation in the area, and will process up to 14,000 parcels a day.
In November 2017 UK Mail will also open a purpose built depot in Milton Keynes with an investment of over £11.8mn (€13mn). Parcel handling operations from the existing Milton Keynes site will be migrated over to the new building, which will also incorporate a new, larger customer call centre.
The new facility is three times the size of the existing depot at over 102,000 sq ft and will process up to 20,000 parcels a day.
Also opening in November is a new site in Aberdeen, double the size of the existing facility serving that area
All three sites are being designed to include state of the art features and equipment, high quality facilities for employees and partly automated sortation systems to improve operational efficiency.
Peter Fuller, UK Mail’s Chief Executive Officer, saysid “This investment in key sites is part of our strategic growth plan for the business. We’ve recently been awarded some major new contracts and we have ambitious targets to continue on this trajectory. To be successful we need to invest in the most effective infrastructure and equipment for our people to increase parcel handling capacity.”
The investment in strategic sites within the UK Mail network follows the recent extension of the company’s national hub in Ryton. The extension includes installation of a partly automated parcel sorting system which will increase the hub’s handling capacity to over 24,000 parcels an hour.
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.