Logistics Talk – Whichwarehouse speaks to AKW

Let's take a look at how AKW Group can help your business with warehousing and distribution

Originally starting out as a freight forwarding company over 30 years ago as AK Worthington Limited named after the chairman Tony Wothington, after expanding into other areas such as warehousing, AKW Group was formed early in the 21st century to join the group of companies together that had succesfully been formed. With 500,000 sq ft of warehousing situated in the prime location of Trafford Park, Manchester, AKW offer a range of warehousing and distribution services for their customers and provide wet and dry bonded facilites in addition to being COMAH registered, covering all warehousing requirements.

Whichwarehouse have been working with AKW for a number of years now and are proud to have such a fantastic logistics company in the heart of the North West able to assist with many customers looking for a variety of warehousing needs. Having been successfully running a logistics business for over 30 years we were of course keen to speak to AKW about their industry thoughts on the past few years and find out what changes they have noticed and expect for the future.

So what type of customers does AKW Group find are outsourcing their third party logistics to them?

At the AKW Group they have over 60 warehousing clients so the products held vary but include food, beers and wines, cosmetics, clothing and shoes and plumbing equipment. 

As a 3rd Party Logistics Company they advised they need to bring value to their clients both attract them to their services and for them to continue to use AKW. A key part of this is providing flexibility in operations both warehousing space and labour they therefore need to be very agile and ensure their resources match demand which at times can be challenging however with client consultation and carefully planning they continue to drive through efficiencies.  

We asked them if they have any new systems in place which they feel have assisted their business and the way they handle clients goods. They advised that they are currently in the final stages of the scoping of a new Warehouse Management System (WMS) which should be installed by mid-2014 this will bring both operational efficiencies and importantly an increase in management information available which will help them make smarter decisions.

As many other logistics companies have advised, there have been many changes in the industry during 2013, AKW Group acknowledged that one of teh biggest changes they saw was an abundance of surplus warehousing space making margins in the industry low. They explained that "companies need to create a niche for themselves to avoid becoming just a commodity purchase – adding value is key".

How has the recession affected the logistics industry?

Over recent years there has been a focus on operating an efficient supply chain, certain elements of which have held up during the recession an example of this is the food industry other sectors have not fared so well and if you are providing logistics services to one of these sectors it is inevitable that your business will have been effected.

As a service industry AKW Group have had to remain agile looking to provide new services and move into new sectors. Over recent years they have developed and introduced both an Contact Packing and International Transport services into their portfolio which continue to show growth so overall as a business they are seeing a positive situation.

Has the move into ecommerce for many online businesses had as big an impact on AKW as many other 3rd party logistics providers?

Whilst they do provide services for both online and retail outlets the majority of their business is generated through manufacturers and importers/exporters. However they have seen many retail outlets they provide services to branch out into online retail believing the demand for ecommerce logistics services will continue to grow and technology is key hence they are continuing to invest in systems.

Well, as always, AKW seem to have their fingers on the pulse and by predicting trends do not tend to wait around for something to happen, instead they prepare for the coming changes hence why they have been and are still successful today, over 30 years after first starting out their company.

Whichwarehouse wish them well and hope to continue working with AKW for the foreseeable future.


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