FEATURE Northamptonshire Logistics Awards

Recognising those who kept the country moving

Few industries had to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in the way that the logistics sector did – as unprecedented demand for everything from medical supplies to lockdown online shop- ping purchases rose in a way no one could have predicted. Many warehouse and transport operations, and

suppliers reported that the onset of lockdown creat- ed a situation similar in scale to a Christmas peak; a scale of operations that is usually months in the planning. Nonetheless the urgency of the situation commanded a swift, efficient and effective service, regardless of the unavoidable lack of planning, which is exactly what the sector has achieved and will continue to be responsive too until a new nor- mal is reached. Tis year’s Northamptonshire Logistics Awards

2020 will celebrate the sector at a time when acco- lades will be more deserved than ever, both within the industry and for those outside of it that are simply grateful for the effort that went into keeping the country going. In the past four years, the sector has cele-

brated achievements and success through the Northamptonshire Logistics Awards, which has seen those who keep the logistics sector working smoothly gain the recognition they deserve; from apprentices to HGV drivers, small and large busi- nesses, and recruitment agencies, to those who do so much to support and promote the sector within the community. Te Northamptonshire Logistics Forum, sup-

ported by the University of Northampton, is made up of businesses in the county who are key players in the logistics sector, working collaboratively shar- ing best practice and new ideas. Te forum focuses on the development of the sector locally, while helping to shape the conversation at a national level by identifying issues affecting businesses and working through solutions. Forum members also get involved in a number of social initiatives like working with schools and students to supporting


armed forces personnel, through to lobbying on issues such as emission zones. Meetings are usually held at host companies

around the county, but have moved online since lockdown to keep the channels of communication open and to support companies in the sector. Regular email updates are circulated to support members. Tony Bellott, from Fortis Logistics Consultancy

and Chair of the Northamptonshire Logistics Forum said: “COVID-19 pandemic has made a lot of people realise that goods don’t suddenly appear in our hospitals, schools and shops. Almost everything we use in our everyday lives involves a supply chain, including warehouse operations, a lorry and delivery teams. It becomes more evident in a disaster situation, when there are shortages or an emergency to overcome, that the logistics industry can deliver the magic to ‘make it happen’.” “Tis year is the fifth year of the Northamptonshire

Logistics Forum Awards – the awards will be a fantastic celebration of the way those in the sector continued to keep the country going. One in seven workers in Northamptonshire are employed in the logistics industry, a vital sector in the county and we’ve shown that all the knowledge and expertise we have here is invaluable. “Our feedback was that despite the sector sud-

denly facing a situation akin to Christmas peak - where seasonal variation is planned for and every- one is prepared – no one was prepared for this, and yet the industry stepped up and put measures in place to ensure needs were met whilst maintaining social distancing and the safety of colleagues across the sector.” The emergency situation not only called for

increased capacity but led to a need for additional temporary workers and drivers, working in round- the-clock operations. Tis was crucial to complete all deliveries, whether essential healthcare sup- plies, online shopping for the vulnerable, or simply orders from those forced into isolation. It was also


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