Lord Digby Jones outlines the challenges at UKWA Awards

On the hottest day of the year more than 400 guests filled the Ballroom Suite of the Dorchester Hotel in London for the United Kingdom Warehousing Association’s 16th Annual Awards for Warehousing presentation ceremony and Annual Luncheon, sponsored by Jungheinrich UK.

Always a highlight in the logistics calendar, the ‘must attend’ gathering did not fail to impress.

Peter Ward, who was appointed UKWA’s chief executive officer earlier this year, gave the guests a warm welcome of the hottest day of the year and thanked all of the applicants, saying: “You are all winners.”

And as Jan Lorenz, MD of Jungheinrich UK, told the audience: “The UKWA Awards are highly regarded.  They emphasise the importance that the logistics sector has for the global and UK economy.”

Gracing this year’s event as guest speaker, former director general of the CBI and trade minister, Lord Digby Jones delivered a rousing clarion call for manufacturing in the UK and a passionate plea for greater education and skills.  He thanked UKWA Awards guests who, he said, create UK wealth.

Lord Jones echoed many key UKWA themes impacting on our sector.  On skills and education he provided the shocking statistics that “half the kids coming out of school this summer will not be able to read and write to a standard expected of an 11 year old”.  He added: “one in five adults are functionally illiterate.”  The pertinent point he raised here: if you can’t read an instruction manual, you can’t start an apprenticeship.

“We need more and better skilled people… we need kids coming out of school who can read, write, count and operate a computer.”  They need to be “equipped to deal with the greatest movement of goods and services around the world that we have ever seen – globalisation”, he said.
Praising UK manufacturing, Lord Jones pointed to Nissan in Sunderland making 500,000 cars a year – more than the whole of Italy.  Toyota and Honda plants are also a tremendous success stories.  Jaguar Land Rover demonstrates the UK’s openness in business: “Indian long term money, German management, made in Britain, biggest market China – that’s globalisation.  The result is an enormously successful automotive manufacturing sector employing hundreds of thousands of people.”

“It’s not just cars.  Half of every Airbus ever flown was made in Britain.  We need to get kids enthused about making things and get more people engaged in manufacturing,” said Lord Jones.  Addressing the audience of logistics industry representatives, he added: “They will need everything that you do.”

Getting ahead in globalisation, according to Lord Jones, will need reform for the whole of Europe.  We can raise the standard of the whole EU by taking ‘best in class’ practice from the three big countries – the UK’s flexible labour, which leads to low unemployment; Germany’s ability to get infrastructure built; and French training that makes workers productive.

He concluded that politically and economically “there’s never been a better time to deal with these big strategic issues.”

Lord Jones then presented Greg Deak of Peel Ports, 2015 UKWA Multimodal Champion with his trophy.  Greg won the competition, held during the Multimodal exhibition in April, which was based on a 15-minute ‘Speed’ version of the Business on the Move educational board game.  Greg gained the biggest balance sheet from over 40 games played during the event.
Then it was the turn for Lord Jones to announce the 2015 UKWA Award Winners:
• NNR Global Logistics won Best New Member award, sponsored by Toyota Material Handling
• Carla Dobson of the Samuel Grant Group, won the Junior Manager of the Year award, sponsored by Aisle Master Ltd.
• Scott Wallace of Potter Logistics won the Warehouse Manager of the Year award, sponsored by Knapp UK
• Hörmann UK Ltd, won the Environment award, sponsored by Warehouse Technology Group
• Linde Material Handling won the Technical innovations award, sponsored by Bito Storage Systems
• Elddis Transport won the Training award, sponsored by RTITB
• Samantha Trubshaw of Cornish Orchards and Joe Jackson of Potter Logistics were joint winners of the Young Employee of the Year award, sponsored by Hoppecke Industrial batteries
• International Logistics Group, won the Customer Service award, sponsored by Perry Appleton Group.
• MDA, won the Warehouse Company of the Year award, sponsored by I.D. SYSTEMS (UK) LTD
• Derrick Potter of Potter Logistics won The Chairman’s Award, sponsored by Clarion Events and Multimodal.

In respect of Derrick’s achievement, UKWA Chairman Tony Mohan said: “When touring one of the company’s sites, I witnessed the fact that Derrick personally knew 100% of the staff.  He understands that people are the most important part of a successful business.  Over the 50 years, Derrick’s energy and enthusiasm has not waned at all.”

Summing up the 16th Annual Awards for Warehousing presentation ceremony and Annual Luncheon, Peter Ward, CEO of UKWA said: “Guests from the logistics industry were clearly inspired by the award winners as well as the rousing keynote address from Lord Digby Jones.  It was a marvellous event all round, which also raised almost £3,000 for Transaid – once again the charity for the event.  UKWA is already looking forward to next year’s event, so keep the first Wednesday of July free in your diary!”