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RETAILCRAFT RECAP Part 1: “By no means stereotypical” – logistics, cannabis, data, pivots…

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The RetailCraft podcast delves behind the scenes of our Top500 companies, with a focus on those who influence and inspire them.

Hosts Ian Jindal and Jamie Merrick interview the digital leaders behind multichannel retail to discover how those among the likes of M&S, Harrods, and Reckitt started their retail journey, where they are now and how they plan to continue amidst an era of growing competition.

In part one of our latest episode, we chat to Clare Bottle, chief executive of the UK Warehousing Association about the serendipity that led from a secretarial role to a logistics leader. Clare highlights the need for increased diversity within the logistics workplace and offers thoughtful solutions to this challenge based on an amalgamation of research, wisdom and lived experience.

Listen to the full episode on Apple Music and Spotify or carry on reading for a recap of the best bits, covered by Digital Editor, Scarlette Isaac.

Alternatively, a full transcript of the conversation, complete with glossary definitions, factpacks and useful links is available to download now.

Tell us a bit about UKWA?

“UKWA is a well-established trade association. It’s been around for over 75 years. There are about 900 members and they’re companies that are members, not individuals. Of the 900 something, around 200 are associate members. So they’ve got some kind of goods or services they want to sell to warehousing companies.

“And then the other 700 are warehousing companies. And at the moment they’re predominantly third-party logistics companies. They don’t own the goods inside the warehouse, they’re selling a warehousing service company. Some of the bigger companies you might know would be DHL, Wincanton, Eddie Stobart, people like that.”

On diversity in logistics

“We’ll be waiting a long time to get gender equality in logistics if we carry on at the pace we’re currently doing. So I’d like it to speed up a bit.

“We’ve done some research fairly recently, actually with Cranfield University, trying to unpick, what are the things that really make a difference? Because if you look for guidance on inclusion and diversity, whether it’s in a sort of broader context or specifically about gender, there are loads of ideas of things you should do, and absolutely no evidence about what does or doesn’t work.

The Cranfield research that we did, did alight upon the concept of mentoring as being evidence-based. And what’s quite interesting is that if you look at people in management, you’ll definitely find that more men than women experience mentoring in their careers. And I can’t explain why that is, but it does seem as though it’s a fairly quick win to try and redress the balance there.”

What’s on your agenda for 2022?

Labour shortages are absolutely key and part of how I think we need to resolve that is by focusing on training. I’m currently recruiting for head of training for the UK Warehousing Association.

“And it’s not because we want to become a training provider, it’s because we want to be able to help our member companies navigate the training provision and the arrangements for funding to be able to really make the most of that. That’s going to be a priority for 2022.”

Listen to the full podcast here to discover more about how Clare plans to create further opportunities and training within the industry.

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