ACQSYS blog

February 2020

Goodbye cheap labour and how to automate your supply chain

Posted 20-02-20, Tags: lost transit equipment, recover lost rollcages, roll cage abuse, roll cage recovery, roll cage recyling, supply chain management, supply chain strategies, sustainability, transit equipment, UK immigration policy

No, I’m not talking about the clueless Marxists and Trotskyites running Her Majesty’s Most Loyal Opposition (why do they insist on calling it Corbynism?). I’m referring to the low skilled migrants who have saved the UK economy the inconvenient cost of investing in labour-saving technology, over the decades we have been members of the EU club. 

Free movement of the cheapest available labour has left us under-invested and less productive than France, who spend more time blocking the streets than turning up for work.

Should I automate our supply chain?

Whether you like it or not, automation will need to replace cheap labour, but what will that mean in practice?  Well, it’s not just about missing our fruit pickers and shelf stackers. It’s about the equipment that’s going to be needed as we become more efficient.  It’s also not about replacing British jobs with automation, because we already did that with underpaid workers from the EU.

In the future, for every underpaid labourer who’s replaced by automation, there’s a piece of equipment needed to replace them.  Roll cages, trays, totes, magnums - the more you automate, the more you need kit that can travel on wheels, conveyors or drones, and that means the use of transit equipment must inevitably increase. 

As a consequence, we need to become better at managing that equipment and spending less on replacing it, when so many of us have historically treated it as “natural wastage”. 

Even The Economist concluded this week, from the research on the impact in a fall in the number of immigrants that “bosses will invest in labour-saving machinery, which can reduce the pay of remaining workers”.[i]

“Natural wastage” is not sustainable

Let’s not forget the waste of natural resources either as the focus shifts to measuring sustainable activities across our industries. The great shot across the bows came from Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock last month when he announced that they were implementing the usage of sustainability metrics for the companies they invest in. They are going to start forcing companies to disclose their climate risk according to the standards set by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).[ii] Shareholders and potential investors are taking a growing interest in how sustainable your business really is.

Helping to better control your transit assets

At ACQSYS we help over forty major national businesses maintain their stocks of transit assets because they are already aware of the cost of not managing those fleets. They will be the ones best prepared for the new efficiencies that will rely on increased use of re-usable equipment. Those who don’t recognize the importance of controlling these assets will become the losers, when their equipment becomes free game to those who don’t want to buy their own.

A different focus needed

So, while the Labour party spout Marxist rhetoric about supporting our out of date economy with free movement of a proletariat, (who want to be capitalists anyway), I would recommend a different focus. That is to invest in technology and its supporting accessories to create real and sustainable wealth. Prosperity that can be distributed according to effort, not dogma. 

Bill Howie

 

[i] The Economist The Economics of migration – Delayed reaction https://www.economist.com/united-states/2020/02/13/immigration-to-america-is-down-wages-are-up February 13, 2020

[ii] https://www.blackrock.com/uk/individual/blackrock-client-letter “Sustainability as BlackRock’s  new standard for investing” January 14, 2020

Some of our clients

“In my opinion the ACQSYS model is absolutely unique in its approach and Bill and Graham have proved many times that they can create and lead successful teams to reach the goals they aim for.”

John Harvey CBE, Chairman Keswick Enterprises Limited

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