Mar 25

It’s a well-known fact that happy and motivated workers produce better results. A recent study found that happier workers were 12% more productive than their counterparts. It underlines staff morale and wellbeing is not just an HR goal: it’s fundamental to business performance levels.

The logistics sector employs millions of workers around the world and must actively manage morale to ensure it attracts and retains the best employees. The warehouse is a key focus here, and traditionally may not be seen as the happiest of working environments. But warehouse managers do now have the tools to keep workers motivated, in both what they are doing and how they are doing it, without even physically being there.

The concept of talking to a machine may not sound like a great motivator, but voice technology has been found to have positive effects on warehouse workers’ worklife balance and overall wellbeing. How? Through providing clear guidance and direction over the course of the shift, and enabling greater efficiency. Through voice-directed work, warehouse staff use small belt-worn portable devices and headsets, leaving them hands-free and eyes-free, focused on the task at hand.

Instructions from the warehouse management system are delivered through the headset, one simple command at a time. The picker confirms each instruction verbally and the system is updated in real time. As instructions are given on an as-needed basis, pickers can concentrate on single actions without distraction or delay, thereby reducing errors.

Compared to manual processes, which involve checking lists or screens while simultaneously trying to carry out high volumes of goods without making mistakes, a great deal of the stress associated with warehouse picking can also be removed.

The result? Businesses adopting voice have seen an average increase of 20% in worker productivity compared with previous systems. At the same time, accuracy rates have risen up to 99,98%, critical when considering that the cost of returning an incorrect item is up to five times as much as processing a new sale.


Mar 25

Seafield Logistics has gone into administration and two of its operational units have been sold.

David Riley, Les Ross and Joe McLean of Grant Thornton UK LLP were appointed joint administrators of Seafield Logistics Limited on 11 June.

Tthe bulk powder transport business has been sold to Abbey Logistics, while the warehousing business based at Winsford has been sold to Lomas Distribution.

David Riley said: “The stakeholders of Seafield Logistics have experienced uncertainty for some time and the two sales provide a positive outcome. We are delighted that we have been able to secure in excess of 110 jobs as well as provide continuity to the customers.”

Abbey Logistics Group is taking over the Winsford, Middlewich and Immingham bulk powder transport operations, increasing its fleet by 47 trucks and 57 powder tanks. This takes its total powder fleet to 104 trucks and 129 tankers.

Steve Granite, managing director at Abbey, said: “We are extremely pleased to have secured this deal to acquire certain assets of Seafield Logistics which is a significant step forward for our bulk powder division. We entered this market in 2011 with the acquisition of RH Stevens, we organically grew that business by 120 per cent in 3 years and this latest acquisition will take that growth to 320 per cent in 4 years.

The acquisition is expected to add some £6m revenue taking Abbey’s turnover to an expected £42m for the year ending June 2015.

Seafield had sales of £41.3 million for the 18 months to 31st December 2012, the last year for which accounts are available. However, it produced a loss for the period of £395,000.

Only last month, Tropicana, the fruit juice business which is part of Pepsico, renewed its logistics contract with Seafield Aylesham. Other customers include: TATA Chemicals, retailer Wilkinsons, and Premier Foods.

Mar 15

A major new distribution warehouse is to be built at Thorp Arch Estate, near Wetherby, after a decision by national drinks distributor, Matthew Clark Wholesale Ltd, to relocate there.

Building work will start on the 62,925 sq ft purpose-built facility in January with completion during early summer 2016 after the plan was backed by Leeds City Council planners this month.

Matthew Clark Wholesale Ltd, which distributes alcoholic and soft drinks to thousands of pubs, hotels, clubs and restaurants throughout the North, is to move its Yorkshire operation from Derwent Valley Industrial Estate, Dunnington, near York, where it has been based for more than 15 years.

Tenders for the building work, in which property and construction consultants, LHL Group, York, will be employer’s agent, have been issued and the appointment of a contractor will be announced soon.

Thorp Arch Estate, a 385-acre former Royal Ordinance wartime munitions factory, has demolished three former units, which had a combined area of 93, 614 sq ft, to make way for the new warehouse.

Director of Wharfedale Property Management, which manages the estate for owner, Rockspring Hanover Property Unit Trust, Tim Munns, says: “Attracting Matthew Clark Wholesale Ltd is another significant coup for Thorp Arch Estate as we continue to develop one of the most dynamic business communities in Yorkshire.

“As with many of our tenants, Matthew Clark has chosen to relocate to Thorp Arch Estate due to our proximity to the A1 and national motorway network. This is one of the most significant industrial property deals in Yorkshire this year and reinforces the estate’s ideal location equidistant between Leeds, York and Harrogate.”

Matthew Clark’s regional managing director, Ian Gordon, says: “I’m delighted to be relocating our regional operations to this new, purpose-built facility.  Our business has grown dramatically during the past few years which has meant that we are unable to continue to operate from our existing site.

“Our new warehouse will enable us to continue to offer our customers industry leading service and the best selection of our award-winning range of drinks.  This is a very exciting time for the Matthew Clark business and this expansion is the result of a continuing successful collaboration between our suppliers, employees and customers.  This new development paves the way for the next phase of growth of the Matthew Clark business.”

The two-million sq ft Thorp Arch Estate is base for a diverse range of more than 140 businesses, from start-ups to large Plcs, operating in local, national and international markets and employing more than 1,800 people. Thorp Arch Retail Park, which forms part of the estate, was the first out-of-town shopping centre in the country when it opened in 1959 and is complemented by a variety of leisure facilities.