Invest in equipment to beat the warehouse shortage
According to a logistics market report, the UK’s warehouse property stock will have vanished by the end of the decade, due to demands from internet retailers. Midland Pallet Trucks, one of the UK’s leading providers of pallet and pump trucks, is urging businesses to make the most of the space they have available by investing in good-quality equipment for use in warehouses.
The report suggests that warehousing space fell to a record low last year, despite the predicted increase in online sales. Following on a similar path to the last five years, online sales are expected to significantly rise again to reach £182.80 billion in 2016 (+16.7 percent) and £215.38 billion in 2017. As retailers attempt to satisfy consumer demand more quickly and efficiently, there is an unprecedented demand for warehouse space right across the country.
Although this year will see elevated levels of new developments, consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) said that retailer and distributor requirements for logistics warehouses will exceed the country’s available stock by 2020 by around 7.6 million square metres.
Phil Chesworth, Managing Director of Midland Pallet Trucks said, “It’s quite concerning that despite ongoing development, the country may see a lack of available storage.
"Warehouses are often over 30 feet high, meaning there’s ample space for companies to expand upwards instead of outwards and utilise the space they have available. By investing in quality equipment such as aerial work platforms and stacker trucks, warehouse staff are able to store products safely and effectively to make the most of their space.”
The news comes as it’s also revealed that high street bricks and mortar stores suffered during March. Thought to be as a consequence of the early timing of Easter and the heavy rain brought on by Storm Katie, the number of visitors through retailers’ doors fell by 3.9 percent – lower than the 2.9 percent dip reported in February.
Biden establishes Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force
The US government is to establish a new body with the express purpose of addressing imbalances and other supply chain concerns highlighted in a review of the sector, ordered by President Joe Biden shortly after his inauguration.
The Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force will “focus on areas where a mismatch between supply and demand has been evident,” the White House said. The division will be headed up by the Secretaries of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture, and will focus on housing construction, transportation, agriculture and food, and semiconductors - a drastic shortage of which has hit some of the US economy’s biggest industries in consumer technology and vehicle manufacturing.
“The Task Force will bring the full capacity of the federal government to address near-term supply/demand mismatches. It will convene stakeholders to diagnose problems and surface solutions - large and small, public or private - that could help alleviate bottlenecks and supply constraints,” the White House said.
In late February, President Biden ordered a 100 day review of the supply chain across the key areas of medicine, raw materials and agriculture, the findings of which were released this week. While the COVID-19 health crisis had a deleterious effect on the nation’s supply chain, the published assessment of findings says the root cause runs much deeper. The review concludes that “decades of underinvestment”, alongside public policy choices that favour quarterly results and short-term solutions, have left the system “fragile”.
In response, the administration aims to address four key issues head on, strengthening its position in health and medicine, sustainable and alternative energy, critical mineral mining and processing, and computer chips.
Support domestic production of critical medicines
- A syndicate of public and private entities will jointly work towards manufacturing and onshoring of essential medical suppliers, beginning with a list of 50-100 “critical drugs” defined by the Food and Drug Administration.
- The consortium will be led by the Department of Health and Human Services, which will commit an initial $60m towards the development of a “novel platform technologies to increase domestic manufacturing capacity for API”.
- The aim is to increase domestic production and reduce the reliance upon global supply chains, particularly with regards to medications in short supply.
Secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for advanced batteries
- The Department of Energy will publish a ‘National Blueprint for Lithium Batteries’, beginning a 10 year plan to "develop a domestic lithium battery supply chain that combats the climate crisis by creating good-paying clean energy jobs across America”.
- The effort will leverage billions in funding “to finance key strategic areas of development and fill deficits in the domestic supply chain capacity”.
Invest in sustainable domestic and international production and processing of critical minerals
- An interdepartmental group will be established by the Department of Interior to identify sites where critical minerals can be produced and processed within US borders. It will collaborate with businesses, states, tribal nations and stockholders to “expand sustainable, responsible critical minerals production and processing in the United States”.
- The group will also identify where regulations may need to be updated to ensure new mining and processing “meets strong standards”.
Partner with industry, allies, and partners to address semiconductor shortages
- The Department of Commerce will increase its partnership with industry to support further investment in R&D and production of semiconductor chips. The White House says its aim will be to “facilitate information flow between semiconductor producers and suppliers and end-users”, improving transparency and data sharing.
- Enhanced relationships with foreign allies, including Japan and South Korea will also be strengthened with the express proposed of increasing chip output, promoting further investment in the sector and “to promote fair semiconductor chip allocations”.