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Eric Born on global logistics

Updated Thursday 7th June 2012

Winstanton Chief Executive Eric Born tells The Open University's Leslie Budd about a huge, sophisticated business: global logistics

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Eric Born and Leslie Budd were talking after the recording of an episode of The Bottom Line.

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Leslie Budd

Eric, Global Logistics is a huge and sophisticated business, but the public perception is just about delivering things, I wonder what are your thoughts on how you could change that perception.

Eric Born

I think the question is probably do you need to change the perception, would more be what I would ask myself, because I think the end consumer just worries about the goods being on the shelf.  For example, when they want to pick them up and buy them, and how the goods came from whatever country of origin to the shelf is probably not really what the end consumer worries about.  So I think other than talking about it at a programme like this, or taking the opportunity to explain to the wider public what end-to-end logistics really means, I don’t think their perception will really change for the end consumer.

Leslie Budd

But just quickly on that, there’s a movement for slow food and people don’t sometimes think that it’s just easy to source things locally and move them to shops and then sell them.  I mean they do sometimes in terms of shall we say educating the politicians and policymakers, that actually these kind of changes are difficult and take a longer time to achieve.

Eric Born

You know, it’s something which the consumer will drive.  So if the consumer moves, the supply chain will adjust; if the consumer doesn’t move, which is I guess more likely, because I don’t think the majority of people would move.

Leslie Budd

Okay.  Are uncertain fuel prices a driver for consolidation in the industry, or do alternatives like biofuels create the opportunity for a more competitive environment?

Eric Born

I don’t think the fuel price per se drives consolidation, but I think high fuel price and the green agenda drives behaviour a) into making sure you are as fuel efficient as you could be, b) using less assets.  So collaborative transport solutions where multiple customers use each other’s fleets on peaks and troughs, in order to have less empty miles, and clearly alternative fuels in order to drive the cost, and I think all those elements, human beings are very innovative.  And I think something like the high fuel price doesn’t necessarily drive the consolidation process, but it certainly drives the innovation of people in order to do things more efficiently and effectively.

Leslie Budd

And finally can changes in the logistics supply chain help save the British high street?

Eric Born

I think what would save the British high street is the consumer continue to go there to buy things, but clearly logistics can contribute to a more favourable cost structure, if multiple high street brands would collaborate and you would use shared assets in order to deliver into high street, meaning just having one truck driving in, delivering to multiple shops for example, rather than having five or six different trucks coming in from different areas delivering to those shops.

Leslie Budd

Eric Born, thank you very much.

Eric Born

You're welcome.

(3’34”)

 

 

 

 

 

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