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2018

What will 2018 bring?

Internet retailing have published what they think the new year will bring in terms of ecommerce and multichannel retailers.  They have used contributors across the industry to discuss the upcoming trends they believe will sweep the world of retail.

Flying into focus

Eval Malinger, investment director at Beringea said that “Talk of drone deliveries has been rife in the retail industry since Jeff Bezos promised that Amazon would soon start to deliver its packages by drone.

Since then, there have only been some minor drone trials. In 2015, it was convenience store 7-eleven that became the first to successfully complete a Federal Aviation

Administration-approved drone delivery. However, logistical issues of door-to-door delivery in densely populated areas have stalled adoption at scale. Amazon’s patent application in June this year for multi-level beehive fulfilment centres for drone landing and take-off was an attempt to tackle this problem.

However, the reality is that the real impact of drones in delivery won’t be felt for some time.

“In the immediate future, we’re more likely to see retailers using drones in similar ways to the commercial real estate industry. The next decade will likely see retailers using drones to secure warehouses and store parameters with video. Site selection and construction management is another way that retailers may use drones.”

Ultra-fast delivery

Speed and convenience have been key drivers in the retail sector for years. Research shows that 72% of consumers would spend more if they could be sure of same day delivery, while figures indicate the UK high street missed out on almost £5 billion in salesmainly due to not having a same-day delivery option. But distribution is about to be super-charged, with Amazon already talking about 30 minute drone delivery as the capabilities of drones improve day-by-day.

Advancements in autonomous piloting, ‘sense and aware’ technologies and increased battery life mean that delivery drones show promise to be the next disruptive technology within the retail supply chain. In fact, the market is projected to reach £4.19 billion by 2020.  Businesses would do well to start investigating strategies now to see if they would fit their business model. Whether to speed up retail deliveries or bring key parts and equipment to heavy industry projects, drones have the potential to enhance process efficiency and reduce costs.

New packaging trends will take over 2018

Benjamin Punchard, global packaging insights director at Mintel:

“Our packaging trends for 2018 reflect the most current and forward-looking consumer attitudes, actions, and purchasing behaviours in both global and local markets. Such trends as those we see emerging in e-commerce packaging have stories that are just now being written. Others, such as the attack on plastics, are well into their third or even fourth chapters, but with no clear ending in sight. It is those backstories and future-forward implications that position Mintel’s 2018 Packaging Trends as essential to a retailer, brand, and package converter strategies during the coming year and beyond.”

Packaged Planet

The throwaway culture of today will evolve into one that understands and embraces the role of packaging as a primary means to reduce global food and product waste.

Consumers have long considered packaging as often unnecessary, and ultimately as just waste to be disposed of.

But that misconception is now changing. A focus on package innovations that extend food freshness, preserve ingredient fortification and ensure safe delivery is increasingly benefiting consumers. Brands will need to act fast by exploiting on-pack communication tools to educate consumers to the benefits packaging can bring, from extending shelf life of food to providing efficient and safe access to essential products in developed and underserved regions of the world.

Repackage

As more and more consumers embrace online shopping, packaging will play a pivotal role in brands’ and consumers’ e-commerce experiences.

Online shopping is becoming increasingly widespread around the globe and is near ubiquitous in some markets.

However, while online shopping’s key advantage is a convenience, consumers expect more from their favoured brands. When designing packaging to be viewed online, and transit packaging to be opened upon delivery in the home, the experience of e-commerce packaging must reflect consumer expectations from shopping with that brand in-store.

Clean Label 2.0

Aiming for packaging designs that enlighten consumers’ purchase decisions, brands will reject approaches that offer too much or too little as they can leave shoppers more confused than informed.

Today’s consumers are more informed than ever; however, brands are in real danger of being rejected if consumers feel overloaded with information, leading to the questioning of provenance, authenticity, and transparency. The ‘essentialist’ design principle bridges the divide between not enough and just enough of what’s essential for consumers to make an enlightened and confident purchasing decision. Brands must bring the next generation of clean label to packaging design to provide a moment of calm and clarity for shoppers in an increasingly hectic retail environment.

Sea Change

Plastic packaging adrift in the world’s oceans will become the catalyst driving brands to rethink packaging in a context consumers can understand and act upon.

Concerns over safe packaging disposal will increasingly colour consumers’ perceptions of different packaging types, and impact shopper purchase decisions. Only by communicating that a brand is working towards a solution will this growing barrier to purchase be overcome. While collecting waste plastic from the sea to recycle into new packaging can raise consumer awareness, it won’t solve the problem. In order to keep plastic out of the sea, a renewed effort towards the circular economy is needed to keep packaging material in use.

Renavigate

Brands will look to contemporary packaging formats to help reinvigorate the centre-of-store aisles less visited by younger consumers.

Young shoppers are increasingly ‘shopping the periphery’, visiting the fresh and chilled aisles around the store perimeter and turning their backs on processed, ambient, and frozen offerings in the centre of the store.

The use of transparent materials, contemporary design, recyclability, or unique shapes can help draw in younger consumers to the store centre, making it as appealing as the burgeoning perimeter to younger consumers.

Next day delivery as standard

Derek O’Carroll, CEO of retail management platform Brightpearl on a trend he believes will not come to pass:

Speed, convenience and accuracy are now the core qualities that define a top shopping experience. Customers increasingly value the ability to buy quickly and easily and are getting less and less patient when it comes to waiting – for orders to be delivered, for new goods to show up in stores and for great deals. Fast and free delivery is becoming the new standard for shoppers, however, many retailers do not have the right systems in place to meet this expectation of instant gratification, and that isn’t likely to change in the short-term, despite the necessity. Those retailers who do step up though and give serious thought to retooling how they invest and operate their supply chain are most likely to remain competitive as we head into the New Year.

self healing roads

Self healing roads to be trialled

After watching a contestant on the Spanish version of Masterchef using a technique known as spherification (the controlled jellification of a liquid to form spheres), Dr Alvaro Garcia, from the Nottingham Transportation Engineering Centre (NTEC), began exploring how the addition of microcapsules of oil to asphalt could be used to create self-repairing road surfaces.

The idea is that as cracks appear in the road the capsules break open, releasing the oil within and softening the asphalt around it. This helps the asphalt ‘stick’ back together, effectively filling in cracks and preventing small defects from deteriorating further.

Working with funding from Highways England, Garcia’s team has created and carried laboratory tests on microcapsules filled with sunflower oil.  Commenting on the research Garcia said, ‘Our preliminary results showed that the capsules can resist the mixing and compaction processes without significantly reducing the physical and mechanical properties of asphalt and they also increased its durability. More importantly, we found that the cracked asphalt samples were restored to their full strength, two days after the sunflower oil was released.’

Sunflower oil can reverse the effects of ageing in bitumen used in asphalt by reducing the viscosity of the binder. The microcapsules created by Dr Garcia and his team, help to reduce the amount of other healing agents used because they can be activated in precise areas when required, thus avoiding the need to be mixed up in bulk.

Garcia estimates that the material – which he has named Capheal – could increase a road’s lifespan by at least one-third from 12 to 16 years and costs about the same as other additives that are commonly used in asphalt paving.

He added that is has potential advantages over other road healing technologies, which often rely on additional equipment.  “I previously worked on developing self-healing roads in the Netherlands and Switzerland that featured metal fibres,” said Garcia.  “An induction heater would pass over the surface to melt the bitumen and fill in cracks in the roads, but the problem with that is you need a large machine, which is expensive and requires a road to be closed to traffic.”

The Netherlands have already been testing self healing roads that fix their own potholes using self healing asphalt.

Materials scientist Erik Schlangen at Delft University is experimenting with asphalt embedded with tiny steel fibres making it electrically conductive. Running an electrical current across the road (by way of an enormous magnet, so the process technically isn’t entirely self-healing) heats the fibres and surrounding asphalt, closing cracks and preventing potholes from forming.

The process has been tested on a dozen different public roads in the Netherlands over the past seven years, and all are in perfect condition. However, conventional asphalt typically lasts just as long and Schlangen is looking forward to seeing how the roads continue to perform over time. His research suggests that the self-healing asphalt would cost about 25 percent more than conventional asphalt but could last twice as long, potentially saving the Netherlands millions of Euros each year.

Highways England has now confirmed in its latest Strategic Road Network that the technique “will be tested on sections of road during overnight maintenance work, followed by a 12 to 24 month monitoring period.”

•Source: The Engineer and Construction Enquirer.com

birthday

Happy Birthday to us!

This month sees Think Worldwide turn 10 years old!

We have come a long way since then and are very proud of all we have accomplished.

Thank you to our loyal customers for all your support over the last 10 years, and we look forward to many more years working together.

Tea and cake to celebrate!

indian business

British companies looking to expand their reach to India

The unprecedented 30-place jump made by India in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) rankings, from 130 to 100, is an encouraging step in the right direction for businesses in India. 

There is no doubt that there are tremendous opportunities for UK businesses of all sizes and complexions in India, both now and into the foreseeable future.

More than any other country, UK businesses are taking advantage of the investment opportunities in India.

The UK and its economy benefits considerably from India. UK companies engaged in India garner increased exposure and earnings, and generate direct benefits such as enhanced reverse innovation and technology flows and increased exports. They also improve the competitiveness of the wider UK corporate sector.

UK businesses can succeed in India right now. Our experience is that those UK companies that engage with India are likely to establish a presence there and increase investment, and that those companies that are already in India are likely to expand further within the subcontinent. Operationally, larger companies have the expertise and capacity to navigate the evolving operating environment, smaller businesses need targeted help and advice. It is therefore critical to give SMEs the support and guidance they need to navigate their way to the undoubted opportunities in India.

A few UK businesses, particularly those exposed to growing consumer sectors, described the difficulty they faced when importing goods into India, especially with respect to labelling issues, requirements to settle pricing early in the process, and payment of import duties. Products can be held in customs for lengthy periods and can then be rejected arbitrarily, forcing companies to absorb extra costs. This issue is often due to confusion around classification and a lack of understanding by customs officials of product categories.

The steps taken by the government to improve India’s business environment since taking office in 2014 have, according to our respondents, delivered steady improvement and created optimism for more. This report suggests that UK businesses appreciate the Government’s efforts to improve the ease of doing business and recognise that the effects of the economic policies and reforms will take time to translate into tangible benefits.

Given that the UK is the largest G20 investor in India, UK businesses are clearly enthusiastic about the opportunities in India and would consider investing more, and more quickly,
if government – both in States and at the Centre – delivered further reform.

More consistent bureaucratic processes, applied systematically across India, would enable UK businesses to embark on ventures in India with confidence. Expansion of e-governance schemes within India will create a simpler, faster bureaucracy with which UK companies can do business.

Finally, more flexibility with government procurement initiatives and contracts, and a more efficient application of single window clearance systems, would go a long way to increase confidence in India as an investment destination into the future.

To download the full report please go here

Black Friday

A budget busting Black Friday!

Britons were expected to spend £7.8 billion over the four-day period including Cyber Monday – seven per cent more than in last year’s sales, according to predictions by VoucherCodes and the Centre for Retail Research (CRR).

Figures suggest that Cyber Monday could overtake Black Friday by £7 million to become the biggest day for online and offline spending this year.

The UK spends more money during the Black Friday to Cyber Monday event than in any other weekend of the year, new figures from the Financial Conduct Authority, based on a billion bank transactions, show.

Britain’s online retailers won the battle for sales on Black Fridaywith overall spending up on a year ago despite a drop in the number of shoppers visiting stores.

The UK is expected to receive over a quarter of a billion parcels after spending billions over Black Friday and Christmas. To get everything sent, retailers need to work day and night.

According to insurance company Stavelyhead, the predicted online spend for the black Friday period was £7.4billion. £937,500 will be spent every minute and spending is 50% higher than Boxing Day! Amazon sells 86 items per second and £700 million will be spent before 9am, equating to 28% of sales.

How do retailers cope with the demand?

There will be 72,550 courier vehicles on the road. 225 million extra parcels will be delivered with an extra 49 thousand staff drafted in to cope with the demand. 81% of online Black Friday purchases include a home delivery service rather than collecting in person. A lorry has been known to leave one of Amazon’s warehouses every 1 minute 33 seconds during especially busy periods.

So a busy few days! Then there is no let up with the Christmas parcels starting to mount up. A fantastic time of year!

digital world

The age of digitisation

Many manufacturers seem to be struggling to come to terms with the digitisation of the manufacturing process, according to a new report published by Sapio Research.

It found that only 29% of manufacturers admit to truly understanding what having a Digital Supply Chain Network (DSN) is, with under 15% implementing a DSN and expecting them to become the norm for the business in the next five years.

The biggest challenges to adoption are the lack of information visibility, which in-turn damages the chances of an organisation being able to access relevant insight in real-time.

At present, manufacturers state securing meaningful intelligence from their end-to-end supply chain as a challenge (80%), dealing with-real time information (75%) and the ability to deal with the intelligence – as significant hurdles that need to be overcome. Other key highlights from the manufacturing research include:

Over half (59%) do not have real-time visibility of stock levels within the organisation;

65% do not have real-time view of suppliers’ manufacturing schedules;

68% do not have a real-time view of manufacturing volumes across plants within the organisation;

Only a third of manufacturers are able to aggregate information across the supply chain

Despite the rise in the Internet of Things (IoT) and aspiration of digital supply networks, organisational effectiveness is still reliant on date communications including telephone, fax and email to share critical information

The fact that over two thirds of manufacturers cannot provide decision makers with access to the information required to make informed business decisions, is of significant concern. Although 89% of manufacturers state that they believe that a single view of information from supply chain operations is key – to date, only 30% have full end-to-end visibility. The next 12 months will therefore be a crucial time period for manufacturers as they take steps to transform their business. And, there are positive signs that many are starting to make some vital changes; 38% of respondents are looking to improve supplier collaboration, 35% supplier performance monitoring and 34% predictive alerts to mitigate disruption.

Sébastien Sliski, General Manager Supply Chain Solutions at Zetes comments: “Manufacturers know that across the industry there needs to be greater focus on speed, accuracy and agility within the end to end supply chain. The only way they are going to be able to reach such heights is to optimise processes between legacy and new systems as well as providing key stakeholders with meaningful insight from real-time data sources.

In an ever changing digital world, manufacturers need to make sure that they are moving wth the times to make sure that they don’t get left behind with technology outdating them.  A fast and digitised service is almost expected, and consumers have high expectations.  Maximising opportunities is key, and having the resoruces available to help companies reach their goals are important.  Moving further into the digital age will bring massive changes to the supply chain, and being ready to move with the times will be paramount.

To download the full report please go to the bottom of the page here

operation Christmas child

Operation Christmas Child

Many of us will be busy wrapping and organising presents to be delivered to our loved ones in various countries around the world.  Christmas is a busy time for logistics companies and we are no different. However, we felt it was important to raise awareness of how you can support those whose Christmas is nothing like ours by packing a box for them full of essentials. 

To that end, operation christmas child send pre packed shoe boxes to children all around the world.  You can see the impact a simple shoebox gift packed and sent with  has on a child and how it reaches into a community.

You can drop your shoebox off or pack one online until the 18th November.  For full information please visit the Samaritans website here

There are many other organisiations that also give to needy children.  The Salvation Army run a Christmas Present Appeal where you can locate your nearest drop off point and donate new unwrapped toys and gifts for children who might not otherwise receive a Christmas present.

The gifts will then be wrapped and distributed to those in need. You can view their website here

Locally, Southampton Hospital Charity take donations at this time of year, there are patients who have to remain in hospital over the Christmas period, and some have no family to visit them. By donating a gift, you can make someone’s Christmas extra special.

Christmas wish list:

•Magazines, colouring and puzzle books for adults

•Toiletry gift sets

•Mince pies, tins of biscuits, Christmas treats including gluten free and those suitable for diabetics for our outpatient and day clinics

•Personal hygiene sets, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and wet wipes

•Tea and coffee for our Macmillan centre and memory cafes

Another local charity is SCRATCH Southampton who run their Christmas Complete campaign, their annual toy project where donations can be dropped off or posted to local locations.

You can go to their website here 

Christmas is always such an exciting time of year, and being able to help those who are less fortunate will make a massive difference to their quality of life.

Facebook chatbot

Live container tracking means big savings

A transport provider is using a clever new app and Facebook to live track containers on the road saving time and money for its customers.

Facebook Chatbot, powered by arl-shipping, tracks containers on the road enroute from discharge port to import warehouse, giving real-time visibility of a truck on the road.

Import customer and warehouse operator follow the trucks in real-time and prepare for speedy container unstuffing upon arrival to the warehouse. The tracking is facilitated by truck drivers using arl-shippings free app, tracking the shipment and OCR’ed container numbers via driver’s smartphone GPS location services. The Facebook tracking service is fully embedded into the transport provider’s Facebook page as an integral service.

“We explore maturing technologies, which can be deployed with little effort to the benefit of real life shipping scenarios like container number OCR, GPS trackers and other IoT devices, drones and blockchain technology,” said René Bendt, director of art-shipping.com.

The tracking technology works by tracking the shipment and OCR container numbers via a driver’s smartphone GPS location. It’s a service which is fully embedded into the transport provider’s Facebook page.

Because the app provides real-time information, a warehouse operator can be better prepared for warehouse docking and unstuffing when a truck arrives.

Upon providing the warehouse’s location to the chatbot via smartphones’ built-in location sharing services, Last Mile Container Tracker alerts in Facebook messenger when a container is close to the warehouse, as well as giving hourly status messages while in transit.

Soon the chatbot will also be able to advise warehouse ETA by the imbedding online traffic pattern services into the tracker.

Mr Bendt pointed out that on top of its Facebook chatbot cargo tracking, arl-shipping will soon launch Skype and WeChat Last Mile Container Tracking for shipping line agents, freight forwarders, warehouse operators or other intermediaries via the same chatbot.

•Source port strategy / Hellenic Shipping News

marine freight

Did you know…..?

Here at Think Worldwide we are specialists in the Marine Industry.

We are currently the preferred supplier for Marine companies such as:

• Ocean Safety

• Alex Thompson Racing

• CJR

• Ostmatech

• Superyacht Shop

Our specialist knowledge of global logistics in the Marine Industry could help us deliver a really strong service to your company and hopefully develop a long term partnership like we have with the companies mentioned above.

We’re a small independent company so not only can we use any available agent on the market to ship your goods and keep costs to a minimum, we will get to know your company inside and out. There are no call centres or middle men, so when you pick up the phone you will be speaking to the guys doing the work for you. Many of our long standing clients describe us as their in house logistics team!

We undertake every aspect of Global shipment administration from paperwork to pick and pack, from our warehouse or direct from you to your customer. We take care of all the international paperwork and admin (including commercial invoices).

In short, we could make global logistics really simple for you!

competition

*** IT’S COMPETITION TIME***

For all new business that we receive between tomorrow (18th October) and the 31st December – a prize draw will run.

The prize – you are going to love this 😀 – is to join us at our ANNUAL GO KARTING CHAMPIONSHIP!!! Be aware, we are very skilled drivers, and not competitive in the slightest..🎖️🏆

This will take place at Team Sport Go Karting in Eastleigh some time in January. Details to be confirmed.

We would love to have you join us there – if you would like to give us a try please contact us by emailing us at info@thinkww.com or calling 02380 697000.

Let us become an asset to your business!