Customer-led demands and their impact on logistics operations

Website Images Highlighting Risk March 24

The sustainability challenge

In pursuit of sustainability goals, customers often introduce innovative solutions that can have unintended consequences for logistics operators. One example is the use of paper pallets instead of traditional wooden pallets. While paper pallets are more sustainable and enable better trailer/container utilisation, they are also less robust and prone to damage during handling. This can lead to cargo damage, loading challenges, and other operational issues for the logistics provider.

Security risks

Security is a top priority for both customers and logistics operators, but customer demands can sometimes undermine security measures. In one case, a customer insisted that a terminal bypass its robust security procedures involving gate control and automatic number plate recognition. This led to several trailer loads being stolen, highlighting how customer demands can conflict with effective security protocols.

Packaging challenges

Customers may also introduce new packaging solutions aimed at improving sustainability or reducing costs. However, these changes can sometimes result in weaker packaging that is more susceptible to damage during transportation and handling. This can lead to increased packaging waste and reverse logistics costs, potentially undermining the original sustainability goals.

It can be challenging for logistics operators to push back against customer demands, especially when dealing with large, valuable customers. However, it is important for operators to have open and honest discussions with customers about the risks and implications of their demands. Operators should also seek to contractually limit their liability for risks arising from customer-driven decisions.

Building collaborative relationships

Fostering mature, collaborative relationships between customers and logistics operators is crucial. This allows for open discussions about potential challenges and enables both parties to work together to find solutions that balance operational needs with customer requirements around sustainability, security, and other priorities.

Josh Finch

TT Club

Mike Yarwood

TT Club