Logistics is under the radar, until you have a crisis!

It goes without saying that the logistics sector is incredibly important to our region. In fact, the 5,700 logistics companies here have an employment rate 80% higher than the national average for the sector.

Logistics and supply chain companies have faced incredible challenges over this period. Yet, we have seen that our region’s firms are some of the most flexible and responsive to changing demands, adapting from the get-go in some of the most difficult circumstances. People working in the logistics sector are indeed key workers and join the list of heroes.

As the economy rebuilds post lockdown, logistics needs to be ready to respond.

Boosting our regional logistics cluster

Our location at the heart of the ‘Golden Distribution Triangle’ means that we attract a wide spread of companies from the largest multinationals, through to a vast number of smaller distribution companies and couriers.

The road to economic recovery isn’t going to be easy but, as we start to reboot, our regional logistics cluster can be a key enabler for the rest of the economy.

Reflecting on just a few areas of where we can bolster our cluster:

- It’s likely that manufacturing companies will look to ensure the resilience of their supply chains. This could help professional logistics and warehousing firms, as companies focus on service and security of supply.

- digital changes are already a key area for the sector. On the demand side, the online trend has been accelerated by lockdown. On the supply side, analytics will come to the fore as a way to improve service, reduce cost, and work towards meeting zero carbon targets?

- our area is already seeing innovators and disruptors in distribution, particularly in the last-mile market – such as Starship in Milton Keynes. There is massive potential for change.

What are we all doing to help?

We are here to support local logistics firms to adjust, grasp the opportunities and strengthen their position.

By working in collaboration with a wide range of partners, including industry bodies like RHA, businesses, universities, local and national government, we look to address industry issues.

Some of the more immediate work we’re focusing on:

Direct business support – supporting owner-managers directly with their business planning and connecting them to specialist support, finance and innovation funding.

Fostering business-academic links - among our universities, we have two with strong logistic credentials: Cranfield University and University of Northampton. This helps to boost innovation, sector efficiency, productivity and leadership.

Inward investment - working with the Department for International Trade to attract investment to the region, including a new opportunity to profile the region’s logistics and supply chain strengths to boost investment from logistics

support companies.

Investing – we’re investing in key infrastructure projects and commercial premises, including, for example, the A421 improvements, easing congestion around Magna Park at Junction 13 of the M1, enhancing 5G digital infrastructure to support innovation in mobility. We have invested in Signal Park, a project which is turning a 56,000 sq ft derelict site in Daventry into new industrial and warehouse space; and have invested in the Leyland Trading Estate in Irthlingborough, to develop the small business

industrial units.

Logistics and supply chain make up one of the largest sectors in our area. Is now the time to build our regional cluster into a vibrant and innovative cluster of national significance?


If you want to talk about logistics and supply chain industry matters, contact me richard.cook@semlep.com.