Forklift market to hit $256bn by 2024

According to a new growth forecast report by Global Market Insights, Inc., the material handling equipment market is growing at 5.5% CAGR to surpass USD 190 billion by 2024.
Growing automation capabilities in the manufacturing space coupled with increasing penetration of advanced technologies, such as IoT, RFID, and AI, are expected to drive the material handling equipment market growth. Automated material handling systems are gaining popularity with the growing inclination of industries to replace human labour with automated systems. RFID, IoT, and Automatic Identification & Data Capture (AIDC) technologies are becoming significantly popular as they improve order fulfilment processes and help enhance productivity across the supply chain. As human capital is becoming difficult to retain and recruit, automated material handling solutions are aiding companies in managing the labour challenges while ensuring profitability and productivity.
Rising labour costs in countries including China & India will support the material handling equipment market growth. The booming manufacturing sector in the region coupled, with high-cost labour, is compelling manufacturers to use sophisticated machinery to ensure high throughput in lesser time. Conventional manual techniques reduce productivity and lead to time consumption. Traditional techniques for material handling are also prone to errors caused by human fatigue. Moreover, they also pose a restriction to the amount of load that can be transferred or stored. Bulk material handling & storage systems and industrial trucks are facilitating the management of large volumes of goods, thereby reducing unnecessary time consumption.
Real-time technical challenges in the operation of these systems with the requirement of high capital investment are anticipated to negatively impact the material handling equipment market. The complexity involved in the integration of hardware and software for manufacturing facilities is restricting companies that have budgetary constraints from adopting these systems. Moreover, cybersecurity threats in these systems are also factors hindering industry growth.
The robotics segment of the material handling equipment market is expected to witness significant CAGR of over 8% to reach over USD 20 billion by 2024, owing to the demand for high-performance robotic systems across various industry verticals. Robots facilitate easy and fast pick & place of material, thereby ensuring accuracy and eliminating human involvement. The rising awareness about the advantages of automated systems globally will fuel the demand for robots across industries. Extensive R&D undertaken in the field of robotics & AI in countries including Japan and China is expected to fuel the material handling equipment market over the forecast period. The incorporation of machine learning capabilities in the robots to increase productivity with predictive maintenance further contributes to the industry demand.
3PL need them, too
The expanding 3PL sector globally is expected to witness a CAGR of over 6% in the material handling equipment market. The increasing complexity of supply chains is compelling businesses to turn towards 3PL service providers to ensure smooth and efficient operations. 3PL service providers are focusing on real-time systems for enhanced visibility. Furthermore, the flourishing durable manufacturing sector in countries including India and China is providing impetus to the market. The growing durable manufacturing industry adopting the latest technologies for production in countries including France and Germany will lead to a surge in demand for the equipment.
The developments in the manufacturing sector in countries such as Japan, China, and India are expected to propel the material handling equipment market growth. These systems are increasingly being adopted in warehouses and production facilities for automating all processes. The growing transportation & logistics industry in the US is providing growth opportunities to the industry valued at over USD 25 billion in 2017. The early technology adoption in the region and the ongoing R&D in the US will fuel the material handling equipment market demand. Stringent government regulations related to operator safety in Europe are compelling manufacturers to use high-quality machines that comply with the standards.
Key vendors in the material handling equipment market comprise Toyota, Crown Equipment, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling, Inc., KUKA AG, Kion Group AG, JBT Corporation, Flexlink, Intelligrated, Inc., Dematic GmbH & Co., KG., Columbus McKinnon, and Daifuku Co., Ltd. Companies are trying to launch new designs and expand the product portfolio. The industry is characterised by strategic acquisitions and collaborations with technology providers to offer enhanced solutions. Players are developing manufacturing solutions that cater to specific industry demands and comply with the standards and regulations operating in the industry. Increasing investment in the R&D of new automation solutions will contribute to industry growth.

The future of freight is machines

Australians could get their groceries from autonomously-driven mobile stores, while drones could replace the humble postman in just 20 years, according to a Deakin investigation into the future of Australia’s supply chain.
The recently published scenario planning study, from Deakin’s Centre for Supply Chain and Logistics, was commissioned by the Federal Government as part of Australia’s first Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities.
The Deakin team looked at how mobile driverless grocery stores could replace supermarkets; while drones and ‘RoboPost’ automatic delivery units, travelling along footpaths and bike lanes, could take over mail services. They also explored how the sharing economy could expand to include an Uber model for truckies, and for warehouses to be leased like a home on Airbnb.
The Deakin project identified about 200 future drivers of change through a series of interviews with experts in the supply chain industry. These fed into the development of four future scenarios, imagining the world in 2037.
Project leader Dr Roberto Perez-Franco, a Senior Research Fellow at the Deakin centre, said the scenarios allowed a group of industry experts to obtain important insights into how Australia could be successful and competitive in these challenging versions of the future.
Dr Perez-Franco said a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, which will be informed by the inquiry, was critical for Australia to keep pace with threats from global development, growing automation, climate change and a rising population that was increasingly centred in congested cities.
“This strategy will inform the development of infrastructure that will take several years to implement and then needs to last decades. So it’s critical we look deep into the future,” he said.
“But that’s a very difficult thing to do, we really don’t know what will happen in two decades’ time. We can look at the issues of today, but where we need to go next requires a lot more analysis, and that’s where scenario work like this comes in.
“This is one of the first serious pieces of scenario work in the Australian transport sector.”
The scenario planning builds on a novel methodology developed by a team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which included Dr Perez-Franco, in 2010.
Other ideas for the future of Australia’s freight and supply chain network include:

  • Freight-only flights and airports, and separate freight and passenger rail.
  • Decentralisation of farming and manufacturing, so goods are closer to consumers.
  • Longer government terms, and a reduction in the number of tiers of government, to promote more bipartisan support of long-term infrastructure projects.
  • An ‘Origins’ app to track food (and other consumer products) from farm to front door, increasing supply chain visibility and trust.
  • Completely automated and carbon-neutral supply chains from Australia to China.
  • The need to reskill workers displaced by automation technologies.

Dr Perez-Franco said Australia faced big issues managing a growing population centred in large cities, with congested road and rail networks making it hard to move goods around.
“Urban congestion is a problem that will only get worse in the future, unless urban planners include provisions for freight and supply chains into their plans for cities,” he said.
“Freight is expected to double over the next 20 years, so industry and all levels of government need to work together to ensure that happens smoothly and with a positive impact on the nation’s prosperity.
“There is also a lot of anxiety about new automation technologies, like artificial intelligence and robotics, which promise to displace thousands of people in their jobs.
“Companies and governments have the responsibility to ensure the displaced workers are retrained so that they can play meaningful roles in this brave new world.”
But Dr Perez-Franco said there were significant opportunities for Australia to stay ahead of the game.
“‘Brand Australia’ could become even more important for the country’s exports. We can really set ourselves apart as a clean, green and ethical source of agricultural products if we make our supply chain a priority.”

The robots are coming

Launched on Monday 18 June at Parliament House, Australia’s very first Robotics Roadmap promises to deliver for Australia’s transport and logistics industry.
Leaders in academia, industry and government across the transport and distribution industry helped shape the Roadmap through submissions and workshops held in late 2017.
The world-leading Australian Centre for Robotic Vision pioneered the Robotics Roadmap concept, collated submissions and co-ordinated the vital national roadshow across five Australian capital cities ahead of producing the report.
“We are thrilled to officially present Australia’s first Robotics Roadmap today in Canberra,” said the centre’s chief operating officer Dr Sue Keay.
“The Robotics Roadmap is a first step towards a national strategy to invest in robotic technology to create and support a vibrant economy, community and nation. It’s an excellent step for the transport and logistics sector with a number of new robotic technologies currently being developed to help optimise the success of delivery in Australia.
“The Australian e-commerce market is worth a staggering $10 billion and this places growing demand on the transport and logistics sector. Retail and logistics are becoming more complex and Australia’s vast distance between cities and remote communities only adds to the demand on distribution companies.
“Transport services have a strong influence on other parts of the Australian economy and it’s important we invest in new technology to help support growth and optimise success. With the development of self-driving cars and the deployment of robots that can see and understand their environment it’s an exciting time for the distribution industry,” she said.
“From lowering transportation costs, assisting with labour shortages, increasing efficiency of delivery and even helping create safer workplaces there are a range of benefits that stem from investing in robotic technology and we look forward to guiding and supporting the development and implantation of this technology in Australia’s transport and logistics sector.
“With Australia currently ranked as 18th in the world for global automation by the International Federation of Robotics, it’s time we start understanding robots as everyday problem solvers rather than scientific fantasy. We as a nation need to stop lagging behind the rest of the world and start understanding and appreciating the potential Australian robots can unleash.
“This is not just about making industries more automated; it’s about making sure our future robotic technologies drive the transformation of existing industries and create safer and more productive workplaces for Australian workers and businesses,” Dr Keay said.
Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Alan Finkel AO emphasised the importance of the roadmap in unlocking Australia’s robotics potential.
“When I was a child, robots were the realm of science fiction alone. Even through the decades that followed, simple automation and machines failed to fill the grand promises made by my favourite books.
“But in the last few years, that’s all changed – robots and artificial intelligence are appearing in every industry sector, with huge practical impact on the way we live, work, and plan for the future. This roadmap shows just how quickly this field is moving, and the rewards available to a robot-ready Australia.”
Australia’s first Robotics Roadmap was pioneered by The Australian Centre for Robotic Vision. Those involved in making the roadmap happen include:
Sue Keay, Australian Centre for Robotic Vision, QUT (Chairwoman)
Roadmap Co-Chairpersons:
Nathan Kirchner (Laing O’Rourke), Phil Crothers (Boeing), Martin Szarski (Boeing), Sarath Kodagoda (UTS), Jason Scholz (DST Group), Matt Dunbabin (QUT), Saeid Nahavandi (Deakin), Paul Lucey (Project 412), Thierry Peynot (QUT), Ian Reid (University of Adelaide), Ric Gros (METS Ignited), Frank Schrever (Machine Safety by Design), Greg Garrihy (ICAA), Michael Lucas (Engineers Australia), Elliot Duff (Data 61/CSIRO), Alberto Elfes (CSIRO Data61), Tirtha Bandy (CSIRO Data61), Rob Mahony (ANU), Stefan Williams (USyd), Jonathan Roberts (QUT), Denny Oetomo (UMelb), Karol Miller (UWA), Surya Singh(UQ), Paul Lever (Mining3), Mary-Anne Williams (UTS).
Project Team:
Tabetha Bozin (QUT) and Sandra Holmes (QUT).
Roadmap Editorial Board:
Peter Corke (QUT), Elizabeth Croft (Monash) and Marek Kowalkiewicz (QUT).
Roadmap Advisors:
David Fagan (QUT), Ron Arkin (Georgia Tech), Md Shahiduzzaman (QUT), Matthew Rimmer (QUT).
Policy Advisors:
Robert O’Connor (EPPE Consulting) and Dion Pretorius (Science and Technology Australia).
Engagement Advisors:
Juan Suarez Manuel (UQ), Matt Myers (UQ), Matt Cowman (UQ) as part of a UQ Business School MBA Consulting Practicum.

On-demand, gig… or just plain exploitation and slavery?

The TWU is calling for the regulation of the ‘on-demand’ economy as Fair Work takes sham-contracting case against Foodora.
The Transport Workers’ Union is calling for urgent regulation of the on-demand economy after the Fair Work Ombudsman announced legal action against Foodora over sham-contracting of bike riders.
The TWU is already fighting sham-contracting at Foodora after taking several cases of unfair dismissal. A test case hearing will be held in Sydney on 3-4 July.
The union also criticised Foodora over leaked internal emails that showed the company was aware it was engaging in sham-contracting. A survey of riders has shown three out of every four riders are paid below minimum rates.
“We welcome the Fair Work Ombudsman’s legal action against Foodora, a company that has openly flouted the law by denying its workforce’s rights.
“But action must go broader than just one company and just a few riders. All workers deserve the rights and protections that generations have fought hard for.
“The on-demand economy is a tired example of old-fashioned exploitation with tech billionaires reaping the benefits at the community’s expense. The Federal Government is refusing to regulate rights for all workers, regardless of being alleged contractors,” said TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon.
“The sham-contracting comes as no surprise to the thousands of delivery riders who are working in the on-demand economy. Food delivery companies control all aspects of the work riders do, demanding they work shifts and penalising them if they don’t work where and when the companies want them to.
“The flexibility is all on the side of the companies with the riders bearing all of the risk. Riders have no superannuation, no guaranteed minimum rates and can work shifts for no pay at all. They can be sacked without warning and for spurious claims as the companies argue they have little or no rights. This area is crying out for regulation,” he added.
The TWU recently signed agreements with Coles and Airbnb to ensure fair and safe conditions for workers in the on-demand economy.
Riders have protested in Melbourne and Sydney in recent months over pay and conditions.
The rider survey also found:

  • Almost 50% of riders had either been injured on the job or knew someone who had.
  • Over 70% of riders said they should get entitlements such as sick leave.
  • 1 in 4 riders (26%) work full time hours (40+ hours per week).
  • 3 in 4 (76%) riders work 20 or more hours per week.
  • Over 26% work more than 40 hours a week.
  • The average age is just under 26 years.


Job prospects are looking up, not so much for retail

Australian employers continue to report positive hiring intentions heading into the new financial year, but the national Net Employment Outlook (NEO) continues to hide significant differences across key sectors. Upbeat hiring intentions in the Services and Public Administration & Education sectors – two industries currently showing signs that wages are growing – have been offset by softer employment Outlooks in the Wholesale & Retail Trade, Finance, Insurance & Real Estate, and Mining & Construction sectors.
These are the results from the ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey for the third quarter of 2018, which records a national Net Employment Outlook of +10% for Australia, signalling that more employers expect to increase staffing levels than not in the three months to 30 September. The survey collects data from over 59,000 employers in 43 countries, including 1,500 in Australia.
The strong national result remains relatively stable when compared to the previous quarter and this same time last year. An increase in staffing levels is anticipated across all seven industry sectors and seven of eight regions during Q3 2018.
These survey results follow the release of data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), revealing a patchy performance for wages growth. The ABS data highlights that while wages growth remains weak across the economy, a number of industry sectors including public administration, education and healthcare – the same sectors reporting the strongest hiring intentions in this latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey – recorded relatively strong growth in wages.
The Services sector, which includes Healthcare, reported the strongest hiring intentions for the third quarter of 2018 with an NEO of +13%, followed by Public Administration & Education with an Outlook of +12%. The weakest employment Outlook was reported by the Wholesale & Retail Trade sector with an NEO of +5%, a decrease of seven percentage points quarter-over-quarter and a dip of two percentage points year-over-year. A slight decline was reported in the Finance, Insurance & Real Estate sector, down three percentage points when compared to Q2 2018. The Mining & Construction sector, though relatively stable quarter-on-quarter, also reported a decrease of two percentage points when compared to the third quarter of 2017. However, despite these declines the employment Outlook remains in positive territory across all sectors.
Regionally, New South Wales reported the strongest employment Outlook of +15%, followed by Victoria at +12% and Queensland at +9%. The smaller states of Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania reported both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year declines but remain in positive territory. The most notable decrease can be seen in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), down 10 percentage points when compared to Q3 2017. The Northern Territory continues to report the weakest hiring intentions of all states and territories with a struggling Net Employment Outlook of -1%.
The positive national Outlook continues to be powered by the nation’s largest organisations, reporting a Net Employment Outlook of +22%, a five percentage-point increase year-on-year. This solid result is double that of medium-sized organisations (+11%) and three times greater than small organisations (+7%).
ManpowerGroup Australia & New Zealand managing director Richard Fischer believes this latest data illustrates well-established trends in Australia’s labour market, particularly the rebalancing of the economy away from the Mining & Construction sector and the strength of large firms.
“The strength of Australia’s labour market is evident across the economy despite softer Outlooks in some sectors,” said Mr Fischer. “Rather than employment growth being dependent on one sector, such as during the mining boom, we are now seeing a sustained positive outlook across all sectors.
“It is also notable that there is strong demand for labour from Australia’s largest firms – an ongoing trend for over two years now.”
Mr Fischer also noted that although wages growth was patchy across the economy, there are signs of improvement in sectors with the strongest third-quarter outlooks.
“The latest ABS data revealed that while wages growth is weak overall, there is clear evidence of growth in industry sectors with strong and sustained demand for labour, including Services and Public Administration & Education. These are the same sectors reporting strong hiring intentions for the upcoming quarter.”
Across the Asia-Pacific region the strongest Outlooks are reported in Japan (+26%), Taiwan (+24%), Hong Kong (+17%) and India (+17%).

Are you giving your customers what they want?

A recent Mitel Global Benchmark Study has found a significant gap between customer expectations and reality:

  • Nearly two-thirds (60%) of respondents in Australia say more work is needed by companies to improve their online experience.
  • Customer experience (CX) ratings vary by vertical with hospitality leading the way globally.
  • More than half of all respondents think machine-to-people interactions will improve CX.
  • Australian consumers still believe they will have the better customer experience in a physical location than an online store.

The survey, of 5,000 adults from Australia, the United States, UK, France and Germany, indicates a measurable disconnection between the advancements organisations think they are making to deliver exceptional customer service and how customers actually view their commercial interactions. Specifically, less than half of respondents believe the technology needed to deliver the perfect online buying experience is available. This stands in stark contrast to findings of a previous Mitel survey, in which 90 per cent of IT decision-makers optimistically reported progress in improving customer service through the use of technology.
Whilst a clear sign of the growing pains associated with digital transformation initiatives underway globally, the new survey also uncovers an opportunity for technology to play a key role in defining and keeping pace with changing buyer behaviour and preferences. In fact, over half of those surveyed believe machine-to-people interactions will positively transform the customer experience (51% in Australia).
Vertical visionaries, leaders and followers
As customer experience becomes increasingly critical for businesses to remain relevant and compete, Mitel’s survey shows differences in customer satisfaction across vertical industries. Growing use of cloud communications and applications, combined with emerging technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence, chatbots, and natural language processing (NLP), are creating new ways for companies to nurture and build customer relationships. Winning companies will be those that are able to differentiate their brands by delivering seamless experiences across physical and digital environments, devices and channels. Currently, some segments are doing better than others.

  • Hospitality leads the charge: Hospitality management knows the first stop on the itinerary for today’s travellers are online review sites. Before booking a trip, consumers want to hear what others have to say. In fact, it’s a near-universal activity. Given the impact reviews can have on average daily room rates, it’s no surprise this industry takes customer satisfaction seriously, receiving top marks among those surveyed. Australians also responded with high satisfaction rates (41%) with regards to their online experience with hospitality providers.
  • Physical retail isn’t dead, but the customer experience is: More than 60 percent of shopping done by respondents still takes place in a physical store, though that number is shifting. When asked about the challenges faced by today’s brick-and-mortar retail outlets, three out of five respondents say the fact retail stores are struggling has more to do with the customer experience they provide, not products. While Australians are currently shopping in physical stores at much higher levels (74%) they agree with their global counterparts that customer service just doesn’t exist anymore. A seamless omnichannel approach is critical for this market, where more than one-third (36%) of Australian respondents note they make purchasing decisions based on the experiences brands provide versus the products and services offered. Chatbots can be used to manage simple tasks, while IoT and team collaboration tools open up new avenues for communications across media, whether it’s voice, email, SMS, web chat, social media or a website.
  • Speed is the game in sports and entertainment: In the fast-paced world of sports and entertainment, immediate and clear communication is a necessity. Forty-nine percent of Australian respondents point to simplicity and speed as the most important factor in a good customer service experience, slightly higher than the global average (45%).
  • Availability vital in healthcare: Healthcare organisations receive the lowest marks from respondents in all countries when it comes to customer service. Australian respondents, in particular, say availability and 24/7 service (40%) is the most important feature they look for from healthcare services, followed by simplicity and speed (36%).

“The data shows no matter where you are in the world, customer service matters — bottom line,” said survey administrator Regina Corso of Regina Corso Consulting. “In order to truly connect with customers on their own terms, organisations must look for new ways to balance technology investments with personalised customer service. Those that are able to navigate this balance will go on to build strong brand loyalty with their customers, helping them succeed in today’s highly competitive purchasing environment.”
Additional insights from the data indicate:

  • Bots, AI and machines can fill the customer service gap: Consumers appear to be increasingly comfortable with machine-to-people interactions when shopping online, with over 78 percent of Australian respondents saying they are satisfied dealing with automated processes. Most do not want to interact with a person while shopping online unless the service is very complicated, or they are having trouble finding the product or service they need. Half of Australian consumers and over 60 percent of U.S. respondents say if they could shop without speaking to a person, it would be a good thing. Even so, physical retailers need to balance the use of technology. Consumers do expect people to efficiently help them when shopping in a physical storefront.
  • Mobile reigns supreme in the United States; Australia favours in-store: Of all respondents, U.S. and Australian consumers shop most frequently during a typical week. There are also notable differences by country regarding how and where consumers shop. U.S. respondents reach for their smartphone and use apps; Britons like shopping online via their tablets; French shoppers most often use their laptops; Germans are more likely to use a desktop computer; and Australians prefer a physical store location (74%).
  • In Australia, brands can’t be complacent about improving their online presence. While more Australians still prefer buying goods and services in physical stores, more than two in five (42%) say they want to shop even more online, and just one in ten Australians (9%) say they don’t like shopping online at all. Seven in ten Australians (71%) say overall, shopping online is more convenient than shopping in a store. To meet this growing demand for online services, and the change taking place in consumer behaviours and expectations, brands need to consider a greater level of consistency across both the online and physical experience for their customers.

The study is the latest in its Business Insights Survey Series, which builds on previous research from August 2017 where more than 75 per cent of IT decision-makers said they planned to tie together devices, emerging technologies, and communications and collaboration capabilities within two years to enable machine-to-people interactions to improve customer experience. This body of work expands on the concept established by Mitel in 2016 of Giving Machines a Voice to enable IoT and other machine triggers to launch real-time communications workflows that can improve how companies work and collaborate. Exploring a different angle, this survey examines how consumers view customer experience in shopping for goods and services across market segments, including retail, hospitality, sports and entertainment, health care, financial services and utilities.
For more results and a closer look at regional or country-specific data, download the white paper.

New frontier opens in the supermarket wars

Both Woolworths and Coles have declared a war on waste, going to differing lengths to convince the public that they take their plastic packaging waste seriously. It will be interesting to see how it affects suppliers.
Coles’s 10-point plan
Coles has undertaken to halve food waste across its supermarkets by 2020, make all packaging of Coles Brand products recyclable, and reduce plastic wrapping on fruit and vegetables.
The announcement of 10 Coles Commitments on Packaging and Recycling comes as the retailer prepares its customers for the phasing out of single-use plastic bags on July 1.
Significantly, Coles also pledges to divert 90 per cent of all supermarket waste (including food, cardboard and plastic) from landfill by 2022 and donate the equivalent of 100 million meals to people in need by 2020 by redistributing surplus food.
Coles managing director John Durkan said Coles wanted to lead the way in its commitment to the environment.
“We know that 69 per cent of customers say that we need to actively reduce waste and landfill through recyclable packaging and find alternative uses for waste,” he said.
“We are delighted to be the only Australian supermarket to sell own-brand water bottles that are both 100 per cent recyclable and 100 per cent made from recycled materials. Now we are the first major food retailer in Australia to announce a target to make all of our own brand packaging recyclable by 2020, ahead of the Federal Government’s target of 2025.”
“By the end of this year we will also connect every Coles store to the vital food rescue program, SecondBite, meaning surplus edible food from every Coles supermarket will be redistributed to people in need. By connecting an additional 130 supermarkets to SecondBite this year, we will also be further diverting food waste from landfill.
“By 2020, we want to provide the equivalent of 100 million meals to Australians in need. Since 2011, we’ve donated around 72 million meals to SecondBite and Foodbank so we’ve still got 28 million meals to go.”
Coles has also pledged to label all Coles Brand products with recycling information to help customers know how and where to dispose of their waste.
Coles’ commitments to recycling and packaging also include:

  • A program to reduce plastic wrapping of fruit and vegetables through new initiatives such as removing double plastic packaging for fruit, selling bunched vegetables like kale and silver beet without plastic, and removing plastic packaging from Coles Brand bananas.
  • Replacing packaging for a wide range of meat and poultry products with packaging made from recycled and renewable materials.
  • Replacing existing single use fresh produce bags with bags which have 30% recycled content.
  • Providing customers with an option to recycle all their soft plastics at every Coles supermarkets across Australia, to then be converted into a range of products including outdoor furniture and road base.
  • Providing an additional one million reusable crates for fresh produce in our Coles supply chain in 2019 to replace single-use cardboard and polystyrene boxes, adding to the 6 million reusable plates currently being used.

…achievements to date

  • Since 2011, we’ve donated the equivalent of around 72 million meals to SecondBite and Foodbank.
  • Since September 2014, all Coles Brand water bottles made from 100% recycled PET (rPET).
  • Only Australian supermarket to have its own crate recycling program in Australia with more than 6 million reusable crates in circulation.
  • Commitment to remove single use plastic shopping bags across all Coles businesses by 1 July 2018.
  • In 2011, Coles was the first Australian supermarket to provide a soft plastic recycling program to customers across Australia through REDcycle.
  • First Australian supermarket to provide soft plastic recycling in every store.
  • More than $12 million in grants or interest-free loans to 27 different producers as part of the $50 million Nurture Fund.

…and commitments for the future

  1. Divert 90 per cent of supermarket waste (including food, cardboard and plastic) from landfill by 2022.
  2. Halve food waste in Coles supermarkets by 2020.
  3. Donate unsold edible food from every Coles supermarket in Australia.
  4. Provide the equivalent of 100 million meals to Australians in need by donating unsold, edible food.
  5. Work with suppliers to reduce food waste.
  6. All Coles Brand packaging recyclable by 2020.
  7. More recycled material in Coles brand packaging.
  8. Introduce new labelling to promote recycling.
  9. In-store soft plastic recycling options in every Coles supermarket.
  10. Reduce excess packaging across our stores and supply chain.

Phasing out the sale of plastic straws, further reductions in plastic packaging in fruit and vegetables, and the launch of a new reusable shopping bag are amongst a number of sustainability initiatives announced by the Woolworths Group.
On the eve of World Environment Day, Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci made the announcements at an industry sustainability event hosted at the Group’s Support Office in Bella Vista, Sydney. The new initiatives announced, include:

  • By the end of 2018, all stores within the group in Australia and New Zealand will no longer sell plastic straws – saving 134 million plastic straws from going into circulation each year.
  • With the nationwide phasing out of single-use plastic shopping bags on 20 June, Woolworths Supermarkets will offer a new green reusable shopping bag – with a lifetime replacement offer – for customers to purchase. All money made from the sale of the Bag for Good in FY19 will go towards the Junior Landcare grants program.
  • In an ongoing effort to remove unnecessary packaging in produce, Woolworths is committed to trial the removal of plastic packaging on a further 80 lines over the next year. This will build on the 140 tonnes of plastic saved in the fruit and vegetables range in the last year.
  • A commitment for 100% of Woolworths Supermarkets to have a food waste diversion partner by the end of 2018.
  • Woolworths to lead the establishment of a new Packaging Coalition Roundtable bringing together government, NGOs and key industry partners including Unilever, Nestlé, Simplot, VISY and the Australian Packaging Covenant to find ways to move towards a circular economy in Australia.

Woolworths Group CEO Brad Banducci said: “In the last year, we have seen a shift towards more sustainable attitudes from our customers and the momentum is growing, with recent research showing a 15% increase in Australians now saying that taking care of the planet is important to them.
“While we’ve made progress in reducing the amount of plastic in our stores, supported recycling labelling initiatives, and made improvements in energy efficiency, sustainable sourcing and reducing food waste, we know that more needs to be done to meet our customers’ expectations.
“Today’s initiatives represent further small, but important steps in our commitment to make positive change happen. We understand the journey towards a more sustainable future has its challenges, but together with our customers and industry partners we are committed to moving our business, our country and our planet towards a greener future.”
The sustainability event at the Woolworths Support Office also included global perspectives on sustainable retailing from Peter Skelton from WRAP UK, while Craig Reucassel from ABC’s War on Waste facilitated a panel of industry leaders discussing the challenges and opportunities of moving to a circular economy.
The panel included Angus Harris (Co-CEO Harris Farm Markets); Anthony Pratt (Executive Chairman, Visy Australia & Pratt Industries); Claire Peters (Managing Director, Woolworths Supermarkets); Clive Stiff (CEO Unilever, Australia and New Zealand) and Paul Klymenko (CEO Planet Ark Australia Foundation).

Alibaba’s Jack Ma to spend $20bn on logistics, handle 1bn parcels a day

Following Tuesday’s announcement of driving its logistics green, Alibaba founder Jack Ma has provided further details on his plans for the group’s logistics arm.
Alibaba Group will invest over 100 billion yuan (approx. AUD 20bn) to build the technical backbone for a smart logistics network aimed at improving delivery reach and efficiency, as well as sharply driving down logistics costs, said executive chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma at the 2018 Global Smart Logistics Summit.
The network mainly aims to push 24-hour delivery across China and push logistics costs down to less than 5% of China’s gross domestic product from around 15% at present, and thereby increasing profit margins for the manufacturing industry and logistics sector. It also aims to push 72-hour delivery to the rest of the world.
Over the past five years since its establishment, Cainiao Network, Alibaba’s logistics arm, has witnessed an increasingly intelligent logistics industry as a result of the joint efforts of Cainiao and its partners. Through technology innovation and open collaboration, Cainiao has reduced cross-border shipping time from an average of 70 days to less than 10 days for some countries. The number of B2C parcels that go through customs clearance is now one million every day. Within China, Cainiao’s same-day and next-day delivery now covers 1,500 counties and districts.
“This network is not only national, but global. This is on what we will work closely with our partners to achieve and bring benefits to all,” said Mr Ma. “As the industry will increasingly become tech-driven, Cainiao aims to be the ‘brain’ of the logistics industry. Since the first day of its birth, Cainiao’s mission is not to deliver goods, but to help delivery firms to deliver goods by building a network that links all logistics elements and connects every deliver person, every warehouse, every hub, every city, and every house.”
Today, about 100 million parcels are processed through Cainiao’s logistics platform every day. What has made it possible is Cainiao’s efforts in driving industry digitalisation. For example, the electronic bills and labels have helped digitise and standardise the industry infrastructure.
China’s logistics landscape has undergone massive change in recent years, reaching unprecedented scale. Ma noted the industry started from zero ecommerce parcels and is now delivering 130 million parcels per day, while there are about five million people working at courier and food-delivery companies in the country, and seven delivery companies have gone public.
With that pace of change, it’s not unreasonable that the peak handling during the company’s 11.11 mega-sale will become the daily average a decade later.
“We want to build this network to help the industry to meet the future needs,” said Mr Ma. “Today, the industry can process 100 million packages a day. In the future, we will need to process 1 billion packages a day. The logistics industry need to get prepared for that with a robust infrastructure.”
The company has also announced plans for five global distribution centres. More details in Tuesday’s newsletter.

Australian online shopping hits $21 billion

More Australians are shopping online than ever, with total purchases topping $21 billion for the first time, according to new research from Australia Post.
Australia Post has released its annual Inside Australian Online Shopping Report, an overview of Australia’s e-commerce market that identifies who is buying what and where online.
The report showed that Australians spent $21.3 billion in 2017, an 18.7 per cent increase compared with 2016. Local retailers accounted for more than 80 per cent of the total spending.
Australia Post general manager for parcels & express services Ben Franzi said Australians shopped online to access greater value, choice and convenience, and a clear example of this was the rise of online market places.
“Marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy are booming, growing 74.8 per cent in the past year alone,” Mr Franzi said.
“Australians really appreciate the convenience of being able to access goods from a variety of sellers in the one location.
“In the past year we have seen new marketplace entrants, which is always great to see, in recognising the increased customer traffic that this type of format offers.”
Mr Franzi said marketplaces were also helping Australian retailers access the lucrative international market, the total online spending of which has increased 46.7 per cent to $US1.57 trillion ($A2.08 trillion) in the past two years.
“Marketplaces make it easier for consumers in our key export markets, such as China, United States and India, to find Australian products and offer a more convenient way for local businesses to start selling overseas.
“By 2019, total online goods purchases from across the globe are set to reach $US2.16 trillion ($A2.86 trillion), so this market represents a huge opportunity for Australian retailers.”
Fashion, health supplements and other wellbeing products, and cosmetics are among Australia’s most popular online exports. Domestically, fashion continues to be the top selling category, increasing 27.2 per cent in the past year. Health and beauty products are also popular, growing 13.2 per cent, while homewares and appliances recorded 10.9 per cent growth.
The May/June period posted the strongest growth during 2017, with online purchases increasing 32.2 per cent. Mr Franzi attributed the increase to retailers offering end of financial year sales for longer, in some cases more than six weeks.
The November/December period remained the busiest time of the year in terms of volume as people looked to buy Christmas presents online.
Point Cook in Victoria remained Australia’s number one online buying location in 2017, recording 22.6 per cent growth. Toowoomba was the second biggest buying location, growing at 19.5 per cent, while Liverpool was the third biggest, growing 21.1 per cent.
Top 10 online shopping buying locations and % growth

  1. Point Cook, +22.6%
  2. Toowoomba, +19.5%
  3. Liverpool, +21.1%
  4. Mackay, +25.1%
  5. Cranbourne, +27.3%
  6. Hoppers Crossing, +31.7%
  7. Gosford, +19.8%
  8. Campbelltown, +25.7
  9. Mandurah, +17.2%
  10. Bundaberg, +22.5%

2017 calendar year compared with 2016 calendar year.

Toll, Coles sign workers' rights agreements with TWU

Toll launches global Charter in Australia  
Following Toll’s agreement with the global union ITF (Workers are valued: Toll signs worldwide union agreement), a global Charter ensuring safe and fair working standards across Toll Group’s global network has been launched in Australia.
The Charter will cover all Toll employees across its 1,200 sites in 50 countries, follows negotiations between Toll, the Transport Workers’ Union, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and its other affiliated unions.
Through the Charter, launched at TWU National Council in Adelaide, Toll has committed to abide by international labour standards. The ‘global charter of principles’ outlines guiding principles by which crucial decisions will be made around the working conditions for Toll workers focusing on health and safety standards, business strategies and initiatives, improvements in working conditions in developing countries and the development of projects that increase industry standards and safety.
Under the charter, Toll, which represents 44,000 workers in road transport and distribution, logistics, supply chain and warehousing, has committed to making a significant investment in the development and implementation of a global project that will raise standards and safety in its main sectors.
Coles & TWU sign agreement to ensure safety and fairness in the Coles supply chain and on-demand economy 
Coles and the TWU have signed two important statements of principles that will ensure safe and fair conditions for workers in the Coles supply chain and the on-demand economy.
The first statement, signed at TWU National Council in Adelaide by Coles managing director John Durkan and TWU National Secretary Tony Sheldon, includes five principles to ensure safety and fairness for transport workers within the Coles supply chain.
These principles include: the ongoing promotion of safety and fairness; transparency on supply chain information; ensuring workers are treated fairly and have the right opportunity to contribute to a collective voice; education, training and consultation of workers on safety, and initiatives to ensure safety in the industry more broadly. The five principles will underpin a Charter between Coles and the TWU.
A separate Statement of Principles about workers in the on-demand economy recognises that workers in the on-demand economy are involved in a rapidly changing workplace environment, but this doesn’t mean artificial terms for workers should limit their access to appropriate entitlements such as leave, proper payment, superannuation, safe working conditions and representation.
“This is a major positive for all transport workers – whether in traditional industries or the on-demand economy. Coles and the TWU are saying through these principles that there is no higher priority than safety and fairness in the Coles supply chain and the on-demand economy,” said TWU national secretary Tony Sheldon.
“This indicates to the community what can be achieved with good corporate citizens on board,” he added.
Coles managing director John Durkan said: “Our business, and the businesses of our thousands of Australian suppliers, rely on the skill and the efforts of the workers in our supply chain. As our business evolves to meet the constantly-changing needs of our customers, we are also increasingly engaged with the on-demand economy.
“The people who work in these sectors make an invaluable contribution not just economically, but to the community as a whole. We are proud to make this commitment that their safety and fair treatment will always be a top priority for Coles.”

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