Covid-19 has changed the world for everyone, but most certainly for those of us in the warehousing and logistics industry. The pace of online spending has accelerated exponentially, with internet shopping now representing an astonishing 32.8% of total consumer spend according to latest ONS statistics. As we’ve noted for some time at UKWA, logistics has become the new retail, and this rapid transformation is bringing us as logistics providers and warehouse operators ever closer to the consumer.
While this creates great opportunities for growth, there are significant challenges ahead too. To survive in this fast-moving, demanding environment, and to operate efficiently, sustainably and profitably, it will be essential that businesses ensure compliance and manage risk. Many of our larger members already have compliance and good governance at the heart of their business – particularly if they deal with hazardous substances, food or other sectors where demonstrating compliance is a given, but for many SMEs this is new territory.
The pandemic has given rise to a specific set of required standards that businesses must now adhere to, regulations which seem to change with every new government announcement. Brexit – now only a matter of working weeks away – will doubtless generate still further new demands.
Now is the time for our industry to take a more strategic view and step up our game. Only by understanding and continually monitoring processes and performance can businesses manage risk, commit to a culture of continuous improvement, and deliver a service that is fit for purpose.
To support our members on this journey, UKWA is rolling out a new digital self-audit tool, developed in partnership with rradar, a specialist law firm with deep experience in the field of compliance and regulatory issues, with the technical expertise to build a digital solution based on our legacy audit, designed to reduce commercial and legal risk.
The new tool, which has been piloted by members of the UKWA management board, will provide members with their own governance platform, identifying areas that need attention at strategic, operational and ground level across all key business functions, also providing a central repository for all governance, compliance and insurance documentation.
This is an important milestone for the Association, replacing as it does the previous ‘MOT’ type audit with an extremely flexible digital solution, designed to keep businesses compliant and protected from risk on an ongoing, real-time basis.
Part of our mission as UKWA is to drive up industry standards. Not policing those standards, but rather helping professionalise our industry by facilitating continuous improvement and supporting our members in managing their businesses more effectively, equipping them to operate successfully in the future, fast-changing digital world.