Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Warehousing Awards See the Great and Good of Logistics Industry Well Entertained

Two Important Launches Announced - One Home and One Very Much Abroad
Shipping News Feature
UK – The United Kingdom Warehousing Association (UKWA) Annual Awards luncheon was held today in the prestigious setting of the Dorchester Hotel in London's Park Lane and once again didn’t disappoint. The meal follows the morning's Annual General Meeting which saw John Munnelly of the John Lewis partnership join the UKWA board. This is a sign of the times as membership of the organisation, so long the priority of trading warehouse keepers, has been opened up to others with an interest in the storage and movement of goods such as John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Homebase.

The event started with a speech from UKWA CEO Peter Ward who stressed the importance of Brexit to the industry and commented that it was essential for members to advise the government during the forthcoming negotiations. Scanning down the list of UKWA members attending the Awards, which resembles a who’s who of relevant sector names, one hopes the government will pay attention to the experts present.

One item of interest revealed during the opening speech was the new, online warehouse space location tool, described by Peter Ward as ‘a sort of Right Move for the warehousing sector’. Full details of the new product ‘UKWA Market Space’ will be unveiled in the next few weeks but at first sight would appear to be lifesaver for those seeking UK based warehousing of all types outside their normal geographical comfort zone.

Following further words from Jon Buckley, Commercial Director for Toyota Material Handling, main sponsors for the event, who told how his organisation’s policy of Kaizen (continual improvement) was upheld also by the UKWA, and a farewell speech from Gary Forster, outgoing CEO of charity Transaid with an introduction to his replacement, Caroline Barber, came a game of ‘Heads and Tails’, which raised almost £4,000 to help transport projects in Africa.

Gary Forster explained that the charity has been working hard since last year’s event and has now supplied sufficient emergency ambulance services, by bicycle, ox drawn cart and boat, to have taken 4,000 women in labour to hospital, all of whom would not have reached medical aid without the help provided – and all without a single maternal fatality!

Never one to miss an opportunity Gary Forster called for volunteers to once again ‘don the Lycra’ and join the next big Transaid bicycle ride, this time ‘Cycle Zambia’, a gentle little ramble from Lusaka to Victoria Falls, a mere 500 kilometres with a charming view at the finish. The event will be from 21 – 30 September 2018 (details here).

The main speaker for the event was Gerald Ratner, a controversial figure if ever there was one. After a short video to remind older members, and to inform younger ones of his transgression in talking down his own company’s products, costing him a billion pounds in the process, Mr Ratner told of his redemption and, most importantly, managed it in a way that left a good impression with the assembled gathering.

And so to the Awards themselves. Gerald Ratner announce the ten winners from some fiercely fought categories:

Tony Mohan, UKWA Chairman explained that he had selected Steve Granite after the work the winner has put in since commencing work in the industry at 15 and rising to become Managing Director of Abbey Logistics by the age of 29.

Concerned by the shortage of young people joining the logistics industry, and conscious that Abbey Logistics would suffer if the situation remained unchanged, in 2002 Steve created Think Logistics which involves experts who work in the logistics sector visiting a school or college to educate 16-19 year old students about the logistics industry and the career opportunities that it offers. Tony Mohan continued:

“So far, nine Think Logistics centres have been established, while some 4000 volunteers visit more than 250 schools and colleges to promote logistics industry careers to thousands of students every year. Plans to open another six Think Logistics centres this year are well advanced, and it is Steve’s aim to have 50 such centres up and running by the end of the 2018/9 academic year.

Photo: The ‘Heads and Tails’ game raised both funds for Transaid and a laugh for the assembled company.