The Women in Logistics (WiL) 2015 AGM held last week included a strong set of speakers from Screwfix, B&Q, Doddle, Cranfield University and Damco. SHD Logistics' Kirsty Adams reports.
The recent Women in Logistics event - hosted in London by Royal Mail - had a strong agenda based on the following theme: From Performance management to collaboration - how to make supply chain relationships work. I sat amongst logistics experts from across the industry - mostly women - who were there for serious discussion on collaboration in the digital age.
The first session was from Mandy Winser, director of omni logistics and sustainability at B&Q and Samantha James, logistics development manager at Screwfix. They discussed their new and evolving collaborative working relationship since the decision was made by parent company Kingfisher to close 60 B&Q stores and open 60 Screwfix stores in the UK.
It's the vision of their new CEO Véronique Laury - for Kingfisher to be the first choice for home refurbishment - which has provided a common goal for Mandy and Samantha. Mandy shared with her audience, that across all the Kingfisher brands, only seven products in common are stocked. This surprised delegates. They announced that as part of their collaborative strategy, the company aims to launch more common products in the Spring. They spoke honestly about their working relationship, of two businesses - at very different stages - working together and the need to remove emotion from the process.
The workshop sessions included; Supply Chain Collaboration with Denyse Julien of Cranfield University, Can Collaboration rise to the demands of e-commerce with Peter Louden of Doddle and What are the key elements of partnerships with 3PL with Mira Morley and Wai Man Chang of Damco. For the final workshop led by Damco, I was grouped with Amanda Hollands, logistics manager at Ella's Kitchen (her Ellas's Kitchen child friendly job title is officially 'runs lorries like clockwork'), who led our group in its discussion on the key elementes of a good partnership. These included; clear roles and responsibilities, reliability and accountability, visibility when things go wrong, clarity on how KPIs are measured and the sharing of benefits.
Minister for Transport Lord Ahmad also attended and showed his support for a diverse workforce in the logistics industry and the inspirational women he was influenced by during his years in the finance sector.
This is an event for all logistics experts, for both men and women. It was focused on learning, sharing and networking in a friendly - but focused - environment. SHD Logistics continue to include a regular by-monthly column from its expert members in 2015/16. See the next WIL opinion piece in our December issue from Marie Boyer of France Line International Transport, which discusses the complexity of the Calais situation, one that continues to impact on the freight and logistics industry.
The next Conference from Women in Logistics will take place on the 4th of December and is entitled Empowering Women in the Workplace.