Peter Ward, CEO of UKWA (United Kingdom Warehousing Association), offers a logistics sector perspective on Black Friday.
"Logistics is the engine that keeps omni-channel shopping running. When required to tackle spikes such as Black Friday logistics needs to be able to accelerate reliably.
"In omni-channel and ecommerce delivery, meeting customer expectations is fundamental and this means delivering on their promise even when faced with the order volume tidal wave generated by events such as Black Friday.
"UKWA members are in pole position to provide the agile logistics services required keep the engine running smoothly.
"During Black Friday, many retailers will be relying on the expertise of third party logistics (3PL) operators to facilitate sustainably next day, same day, within the hour delivery and free returns. Many are already taking a collaborative approach to achieve the growing demand for these services.
"However, the sector needs the right infrastructure in place – most importantly the fulfillment centre or warehouse itself. UKWA’s recently published report on the property market clarifies the fact that there are not enough warehouses being built to satisfy current demands.
"Armed with this information UKWA will be lobbying authorities and policy makers to recognise the importance that this infrastructure plays in fulfilling the ecommerce demands of not just the UK public but also, increasingly, those of the global market.
"The Association is also actively working on initiatives around other key issues such as the skills shortage and making logistics the kind of sector that will attract drivers, the multi skilled and more young and talented recruits. The logistics sector needs all of this in place if it is to keep the omni-channel shopping engine revving smoothly, particularly during demand spikes such as Black Friday."