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Brexit viewed purely in economic term

The EU has certainly brought benefits to the UK. However, these benefits have come at a cost and this cost has been distributed unevenly across the UK. By cost, I don’t mean the annual contribution that we make but more the hidden costs associated with membership. In joining we have had to accept the demise of industries once at the core of UK life (fishing is an example) as well as turn our backs on countries outside the UK with which we have had historical trading ties (typically through the Commonwealth).

Image: istock

In addition, the introduction of the free labour movement has seen not only the useful movement of skilled labour into areas where it is needed but also the flooding of the semi-skilled and unskilled markets with cheap labour. Bringing costs down is not a bad thing, but there are inevitably social consequences when it is achieved by reducing labour costs rather than improved processes.

In communities dependent on supplying labour into these latter markets, jobs have either become scarcer (supply of labour outstripping demand) or it has resulted in a depression in the wages paid to people as employers have a bigger potential workforce from which to draw (and the appearance of zero-hour contracts). In addition, these communities have found themselves inundated with migrant labour which has not only put pressure on existing infrastructure (hospitals, schools, etc) but has also alienated some people who feel like strangers in their own communities.

Migration in these areas has been more akin to an invasion rather than a steady integration. So, in short, the hidden costs of the EU have been distributed unevenly throughout the country. Add to this the pressure of austerity measures introduced following a recession caused entirely by the greed of unscrupulous financiers and you have the potential for large swathes of the population feeling ignored and disenfranchised.

Now throw into this mix the idea that the population of the UK will be given a vote on whether to stay in or leave the EU. What do you think is likely to happen? Well, just what did happen. Those areas of the country feeling the greatest pain have voted to leave. Those areas of the country suitably blanketed from the hidden costs have voted to stay.

To steal from Stevie Smith, Remainers are waving the leavers are drowning. So what does this all mean? It means that we all have to re-assess the real benefits/costs of belonging to the EU. We certainly need to address the issue of free movement and we certainly need to revisit the revival of industries that traditionally lie at the heart of the UK.

If this means leaving the EU, then the short economic term pain will be worth it if the long term social benefit is to bring the disparity parts of the UK closer together again.

BTW, did you notice that I made no mention of the MPs or anyone involved in the political process?

Why? Because vested interest and party politics are driving their agendas. What I am citing here is what the people of this country need – not the politicians.

Sources – Nemo’s comment

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Rail review must include freight

GB Railfreight has called on the government to include rail freight in its plans for a rail review.

It pointed out that the turmoil created by the recent timetabling issues experienced by passenger services has also negatively impacted freight services.

“Open access freight companies have not been issued with a December timetable, meaning Network Rail will be improvising essentially. Additionally, there wasn’t appropriate consultation with rail freight operators before the cancellation of timetables, which has placed a burden on the sector,” it said.

Managing director John Smith said: “Given the role we play, shifting goods worth billions of pounds per year and helping the UK become more productive and sustainable, rail freight expects to play a central role in the discussions around the railways’ future. If we do not, the government and Network Rail risk undermining all the fantastic work we have done since the mid-90s to create a thriving business.

“More than that, we see this as a vital opportunity to ensure the regulatory landscape is most beneficial to rail freight, putting it on a secure footing to grow new routes, open up new markets, and develop new freight terminals. GB Railfreight will be at the forefront of these conversations, leading the way for the industry, and making sure rail is given its due consideration as a freight transport option now and well into the future.”

The Rail Freight Group has also called for freight to be included in the review. Executive director Maggie Simpson said: “Across the country, our members are hungry for more rail freight, but it can be hard to deliver their expectations when there is an ever-greater focus on integrating track and passenger services. We need this review to put freight customers at the very heart of its considerations and find the right mechanisms to deliver the growth that our economy demands.”

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Retail sales for the four week period covering 29 July 2018 to 25 August 2018.

The ONS has reported on retail sales for the four week period covering 29 July 2018 to 25 August 2018.

  • In August 2018, the quantity bought increased by 0.3% when compared with the previous month, with increases across all sectors except food, clothing, and petrol.
  • The month-on-month growth rate in the quantity bought in food stores at negative 0.6% and clothing stores at negative 1.9% was offset by strong growth in other non-food stores at 2.8% and household goods stores at 4.5%.
  • In the three months to August, the quantity bought increased by 2% when compared with the previous three months, with continued growth across all sectors.
  • The last three months of summer from June to August 2018 saw an increase in the quantity bought at 3.4%, with food and household goods stores doing well in the warm weather when compared with the previous summer, while non-store retailing continued to show strong growth.
  • Spending online continued to increase to reach a new record proportion of all retailing at 18.2%; with strong growth in department stores also reaching a record proportion at 18.4%.

Commenting on today’s retail sales figures, Office for National Statistics senior statistician, Rhian Murphy said:

“Retail sales remained strong in the three months to August, with continued growth across all sectors. Food and household goods stores particularly benefitted from the warm weather when compared with last summer.

“The figures for the month of August were a little more mixed, with food sales falling after strong sales earlier in the summer and clothing sales declining following a strong July, as suggested by clothing retailers. On the other hand, household goods grew strongly.”

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4 Reasons for visibility within a supply chain system

Visibility encompasses not only sensing data but also how to analyse it and take appropriate action across a supply chain system. A supply chain system allows collaboration and communication between internal and external trading partners and should give visibility to activities up and down the supply chain. Significant benefits are gained from this end-to-end visibility, such as higher order fulfillment rates, improved customer service levels, increased operational efficiency, higher profitability, and revenue growth.

Order Fulfillment Rates

Order fulfillment rate is the percentage of customer or consumption orders satisfied from stock at hand. It is a measure of an inventory’s ability to meet demand. Also called demand satisfaction rate. The best solution to gaining visibility may be to invest in cloud technology capable of managing big data. This facilitates communication and the ability to make quick, informed decisions. Bearing in mind that order management and fulfillment has long been considered one of the core competencies of the supply chain—and business—success.

Customers Service Levels

Meeting the needs and demands of customers is by far the biggest challenges facing today’s supply chain professionals. Not only do customers expect to receive their products in a timely manner, they also want choices of when it comes to when (and how) those products are delivered. Visibility allows for business to respond as quickly as possible, know customers, fix mistakes, go the extra mile, think long term – A customer is for life. Customer Service Level has an impact on both existing customers and potential customers. A recent survey found that 68% of consumers would react by telling family and friends about a bad experience by posting it on a social network. And as each Facebook profile has an average of 229 friends, the reach of this experience can quickly reach thousands.

Operational Efficiency

One of the ways companies measure efficiency is with order fulfillment processes by looking at the Perfect Order Metric. A perfect order is one that is on time, complete, and undamaged, along with the correct paperwork to accompany it. This metric is similar to the fill rate. To determine the fill rate, divide the amount of work or product a supplier has provided by the total amount of work or product necessary. Imagine that a customer requests 60 cases of product from a business and the business has shipped 20 cases. The fill rate is 20 divided by 60, or 33.3 percent. Visibility of operational efficiency allows for continuous process improvement.

Profitability and Revenue Growth

As organizations look to increase revenues by expanding their product portfolios, they’re also introducing complexity and risk into their supply chains.  A 2017 global survey by supply chain consulting firm Geodis found that visibility has become a bigger concern among companies in recent years. In the report, 70% of respondents described their supply chain as “very” or “extremely” complex. Only 6% of those who participated in the study were confident that they have full visibility of their supply chain.  This has been attributed by the peerless research group study to the lack of necessary systems to handle the visibility (transparency).

Visibility enables the business to increase profitability by reducing cost and risk within the supply chain system. Achieving an increase in the business surplus which creates value within the supply chain simultaneously impacting revenue growth. As a supply chain management professional you are expected to leverage these benefits to facilitate business sustainability and competitiveness.