The need for digital transformation – and the challenges facing the UK and global supply chain – were at the heart of the inaugural BT Field Engineering Forum, held at the iconic BT Tower on 19th June and sponsored by Kuehne+Nagel.
The host, BBC newsreader Huw Edwards, brought together industry experts to discuss the rapid evolution of technology and how innovations such as self-driving cars, drones, blockchain – and even BT’s own Final Mile solution – can help organisations to improve performance and efficiency.
A key theme was customer service and how the supply chain is responding to a significant shift towards an environment where the customer is central. Keynote speaker and author Sean Culey explored the disruptive technological models that are driving this change, and what businesses must do to deliver the experience that customers now demand.
Throughout the day, speakers and panellists demonstrated the impact of change upon major market sectors such as retail, or specific organisations such as the NHS and the Ministry of Defence.
Crucially, each speaker had practical, proven solutions to these challenges, which they shared with over 100 delegates from across the UK supply chain.
Topics ranged from perceptive fulfilment – using data to pre-empt customer buying decisions – or the use of personalised procurement portals for faster, more efficient operations.
The event also gave BT the chance to demonstrate the power of its Final Mile solution for field engineers. Final Mile is a nationwide network of secure lockers and boxes, used as intermediary stock locations by organisations with large field engineering teams. By storing parts at strategic sites along engineers’ routes, businesses can reduce driving hours to serve customers faster, remove cost and minimise environmental impact.
Stephen Maddison, Managing Director of Final Mile, explained why the Field Engineering Forum was so important.
“Not so long ago, organisations only reviewed their supply chain every three years or so. Today, given the pace of change and the exciting new technologies available, businesses need to keep their finger on the pulse continuously.
“That’s why we created the Field Engineering Forum – a place where industry leaders can tackle these issues head-on, share best practice and forge new partnerships. The supply chain is the bloodstream of the economy, so it’s vital it’s in a healthy state. We’re delighted with the quality of debate and are looking to repeat this event next year.”