Our team has summarised the latest developments and news stories of the UK supply chain sector to support our heavy goods clients.


Funding for offshore wind projects confirmed

The government has confirmed a new £100 million fund for companies in the offshore wind industry.

As part of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, a joint government and wind industry body, the government plans to raise the number of UK businesses involved in renewable energy from 48% to 60%. Money from the fund will go to companies that manufacture parts, lay cables and maintain wind farms. Companies wishing to export their products and services can also receive support.

650 UK companies can expect to receive support from the fund to access the domestic offshore wind market. By 2030, one third of the UK’s electricity will come from wind power. The annual value of UK offshore wind exports is predicted to grow too £2.6 billion over the next decade.

 

The future of construction is WAAM

The Manufacturing & Supply Chain Conference and Exhibition in Milton Keynes has unveiled more details on Wire & Arc Additive Manufacturing, or WAAM.

WAAM is a new form of 3D printing which uses metal wire rather than plastic filament. An electric arc—attached to a robotic arm—acts as a heat source. It was recently used to construct the rear frame of a Eurofighter Typhoon for BAE Systems, at Cranfield University.

Steelo Ltd has plans to automate the steel industry using a WAAM system. They also plan to make steel structures that are an aesthetic part of the environment.

 

Brexit preparation update

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has warned that Brexit preparations are happening too slowly.

As a result, they have called on the government to assume we are leaving the EU on the 31st of October, and be fully prepared for that date. It called on departments to urgently step up their preparations.

 

New NHS 147,000 sq ft regional distribution centre

 A new distribution centre for the NHS has been planned in Bury St Edmunds and will be ready by May 2020.

It is due to replace the current distribution centre located five miles away, and will offer additional warehouse capacity. It will also allow the NHS to make savings, by increasing the use of a new purchasing model. This model will help drive out cost variation; the NHS will use the money saved to invest in frontline services and patient care. The NHS expects to make £2.4 billion in savings as a result.

New era for the Food Storage and Distribution Federation

The Food Storage and Distribution Federation has announced a new identity. From now on, they will be known as the Cold Chain Federation.

The Federation has more than 230 businesses in its membership, who run facilities covering 25 million cubic metres of cold storage. The name marks the fourth phase of the organisation’s identity since its founding in 1911. They have named environmental challenges as one of their core focuses going forward.

 

Batteries are the key to the UK car industry

As we mentioned in our chemical manufacturing update, the UK battery industry is important to the country. Our first electric car battery manufacturer, based in Coventry, opened for business last September. In a new update Ralf Speth, boss at Jaguar Land Rover, confirms that UK automotive production depends on producing batteries in the UK.

Meanwhile, BMW launched a new electric Mini, for manufacture in Oxford. The PSA Group has also said that if the UK avoids a no-deal Brexit, it will build its new Vauxhall Astra cars—petrol and electric—in Ellesmere Port.

Batteries represent an important opportunity for UK jobs. The government-backed Faraday Institution has warned that without a battery industry, we could lose 114,000 jobs by 2040.

 

What Just in Time manufacturing needs

MACMobile, a supply chain software company, has highlighted the benefits of Just in Time manufacturing to the FMCG industry. The practice of manufacturing just enough stock to cover orders, and delivering just enough product to every retailer is an optimal supply chain model for FMCG, but remains challenging.

A key component in JIT manufacturing is intelligent route-to-market software, with predictive analytical capabilities. For JIT manufacturing to be successful, companies need a single, fully integrated system from the manufacturer to the distributor, through to secondary distributors and finally the merchant. Its benefits include optimising costs, avoiding repeat deliveries and enabling efficient route plotting.

 

Rapid growth for AFL leads to new premises

Architectural Fabrications Ltd—a steel fabricator in South Yorkshire—has doubled its headcount and sales over the last three years.

The company has moved to their new 40,000 square feet premises in Rotherham as a means of future-proofing their business. It now employs 75 staff members, including several apprentices. It also benefited from a £400k equity investment from UK Steel Enterprise, which allowed them to take on new customers and larger contracts.

The company has further expansion planned; they have recently invested in new equipment, and plan to hire more team members in the coming months.

 

Princes opens new pea plant

Food and drink manufacturer Princes have opened a new pea plant in Lincolnshire. The plant is located at its Long Sutton site, and is part of a planned £80 million investment.

The Long Sutton site is the largest food production site that Princes operates in the UK. The investment plans include refurbishing and redeveloping the site to introduce a new raw material warehouse and handling facility, a new ingredients processing kitchen and a flexible production line for canned ready meals. Princes will also be investing in capital projects, such as a replacement hydrostat cooker, a soft water plant and a new IT system.

 

Record year for logistics real estate

Lambert Smith Hampton’s Industrial & Logistics Market 2019 report says that last year saw record levels of logistic real estate investment. The report confirmed £8 billion worth of warehouse & logistic property changed hands in 2018. Take-up of larger sites (i.e. those above 100,000 square feet) fell just short of the record set back in 2016.

 The warehouse investment upsurge is reportedly due to an increase in ecommerce. 11.7 million square feet of speculative development has come forward this year. This boom in speculative weight owes much to the logistics sector.

However, although we’re seeing substantial growth in sites over 100,000 square feet, the “mid-box” market (which covers sites of between 50,000 and 99,000 square feet) is experiencing its worst uptake in nine years.


There are some key developments for heavy goods professionals to consider. The government’s investment in renewable energy presents several opportunities, while MACMobile’s comments show that manufacturers should revisit the way they produce and distribute their goods.

Leeds Trailers provides a variety of trailer types to its customers. Our product range includes specialist trailers, ideal for HGV transport jobs. Trailers are available for quick hire from Leeds Trailers.

Visit our trailer hire page for full details on the different trailers that we offer. Or call the team on 01924 420 646 to enquire.