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GUEST COMMENT Felixstowe strikes: How businesses can prepare and mitigate impact


Further strike action has begun at Felixstowe, the UK’s busiest container port, with disruptions expected until the 05 October. Businesses are going to face widespread delivery delays, production bottlenecks and even shutdowns at plants waiting for essential components. Nadeem Malik, VP and country manager for UK and Ireland at Software AG believes that impacts will continue to be felt up until Christmas…

Nadeem Malik, VP and country manager for UK and Ireland at Software AG

With almost half of container freight entering the UK through Felixstowe, another eight days of strikes will cause extensive disruption. The knock-on effect will be felt throughout the final part of the year – the critical Golden Quarter for retailers, who will particularly bear the brunt if supply shortages affect Black Friday and/or Christmas sales.

Strikes affecting the flow of goods could become more commonplace – commuter rail strikes are hitting the UK and commercial rail strikes were narrowly avoided in the US.

The pressure on supply chains already affected by global disruption will increase. Therefore supply chain networks and planning must become more resilient yet again.

Retailers, manufacturers and any other industries reliant on the flow of goods will need to now look at two areas: first, can the flow of goods from other areas – domestic or alternate routes into the country – be increased?

Second, how can they best manage the resources that they already have on hand. Manufacturers will need to prioritise high value, high demand or business critical lines. Retailers will need to manage special offers and perhaps even cap purchases to prevent panic buying and/or shortages.

Technology will of course play its part here as we have repeatedly seen that those more digitally mature companies are often the most resilient. Whether it’s using IoT platforms to collate data from sensors and smart devices across the whole network, integration and APIs to connect with partners’ systems or siloed data, or simply internal tools that can model and evaluate processes to make them more efficient – a digitally enabled, connected approach will be essential.

Nadeem Malik, VP and country manager for UK and Ireland at Software AG

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