Which logistics services apply to your organisation?

Part 1 – deciding on your logistics services

Thinking of starting a business in the UK supplying and distributing logistics services for your businessproducts? Not sure which logistics services willapply to you and your company or which 3PL (Third Party Logistics) providers to explore to best complement the service and reputation you wish to achieve? Then this article is for you.

With a network of 83 3PL/4PL members covering the UK and Ireland, Whichwarehouse strives to have a specialised logistics partner that’s perfect for you and your logistical requirements. All of our members are experts in services covering international freight, self-storage, cold storage, self-storage, internal & external storage solutions, healthcare, beauty & fashion logistics plus many more.

Logistics is such a major part of everyday business life, regardless of industry category, that it affects us all in some form or another. It is therefore advantageous to have an insight (no matter how basic) into what is involved in the logistics of moving a product from A to B and how overheads can be kept to a minimum.

logistics and business

In a 1992 survey on distribution costs, by the Institute of Logistics and Distribution Management, it was recorded that 50% of the distribution costs occurred in the food and tobacco industry and therefore careful planning is required to control these costs. Effective logistics management and logistics strategy is practised by companies to regulate and reduce outlays.

However, the expense of distribution costs doesn’t only apply to the food and tobacco industries but all trades.

Industries such as:

Breweries – There are a lot of distribution expenses involved in the transportation and logistics within this industry. It is therefore necessary to perform regular logistics strategy reviews to ensure minimum costs are incurred. The Brewery industry in the UK is not known for its ease of operation, – the UK market is flooded with companies in this sector ensuring that successful market leaders need to focus a lot of detail to their cost reducing stratagem.

The most fundamental logistics problem fronting the brewery industry is determining how to deliver goods to the end users using the most cost effective methods. Problems are encountered whenever there is intricacy in the market channel systems of companies. The more multifaceted a system, the more intricate the scheduling problems are that occur within the logistics planning stages.

Whichwarehouse has a member who is one of the leading companies in the UK which offers brewery container services, which enable their clients to maximise their value within the supply chain. The company has been at the forefront of container management for the past 20 years. Their facilities offer label removal, neck straightening, colour banding, welding plus much more. They have produced over 70,000 kegs and casks on a yearly basis as well as repairing in the region of 130,000 units for their customers.

Courier services – Derived from the original London Taxi companies, the same day courier concept soon took off in the UK changing from cars to motorcycle despatch riders. It was during the late 1970s that many local, small businesses were established throughout the country catering for logistics requirements ranging from overnight, international and outsourced logistics. Many courier depots soon recognised that many of their clients also had the necessity for warehouse storage too.

Not only are there numerous generic courier companies that handle most day-to-day items but there are also more “specialist” couriers accommodating for fragile or sensitive goods such as health supplies and confidential documents. In the beginning a one man, one van organisation depicted a typical courier service and this was more than adequate up until the origin of the electronic age. This era saw a 50% decrease with regard to the documentation revenues and making way for more client demands for the courier associates. This sees most companies favouring the larger businesses which are able to offer more flexibility and higher levels of service. Generally courier groups with more than one depot. Many UK couriers are also able to offer their client’s the safety net of being able to despatch outside of the UK, say, Europe. There is a difference between the small and large courier organisations though and this will need to be kept in mind when considering your options. The smaller, independent companies are aimed more at individuals wishing to send goods from A to B. Whereas the larger companies tend to market SME businesses and e-commerce set-ups etc. The latter solution mostly requiring accounts to be held.

Whichwarehouse has a member that specialises in same day courier and logistic services and who are able to cater for overnight, international and outsourced logistics all over the UK. Also being able to offer a small amount of warehousing space in 19 locations throughout the UK.

Cold storage – the storage & transportation of perishable products such as food items, require temperature controlled storage facilities, as well as the vehicles which transport the goods from A to B to C and so on, needing to be regulated to a specific temperature too. There are much fewer cold storage 3PLs in the UK than that of other warehousing categories and therefore you must take into consideration the logistics of these facilities when searching for a partner to handle your products for you. You might not find availability in the exact location you want so you will need to remain flexible and open-minded to other areas of the country. So long as distribution centres have good access to the main trunk roads of the UK, you will not find this to be too damaging on the financials. It is also worth keeping in mind that chilled & frozen warehouse sites tend not to allow you to operate this yourself but they will have their own staff to handle and store your products allowing you to call-off goods as and when you need them. If you are looking for facilities where you want to carry out your own picking you will need to consider renting a portable cold storage containers from one of the many companies that offer these products.

Pharmaceutical/healthcare/MHRA licenced storage & distribution services – many products that are moved around the UK and globally are subject to some form of licensing such as products for the healthcare sector and these would need to be stored and distributed by a specialised 3PL whose premises are regulated by the MHRA (Medicine & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and therefore the number of facilities available for the storage of your products is less than if standard ambient warehousing was required.

Full contact details of all of our members and their specialised services can be found on their unique adverts using the Find Space tool on our website.


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