Calling time on Just In Time

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On February 13 2024, by Andy Mead

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Calling Time on Just In Time

The current drama unfolding in the Red Sea, where ships are being attacked by Houthi rebels, is arguably the latest nail in the coffin for just-In-time supply chains. A series of global and geopolitical events over the last twenty years have each caused serious disruption with disastrous consequences for manufacturers, retailers and for our own industry. 


From the Asian Tsunami and Ash Cloud disasters of the last decade, to the more recent impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic and the Ever Given’s blockage of the Suez Canal, the lessons learned are that disruption to long end-to-end supply chains undermines business resilience – near or re-shoring is the smart new solution.


A report by Barclays Bank confirms that the low-inventory, just-in-time model that has been standard for decades has now been replaced by just-in-case strategies, putting well-located high-quality warehousing space at a premium.


According to Barclays, half of businesses asked, say their customers are suffering fulfillment delays because of supply chain issues. A further 15% describe their hold-ups as significant. As a result, approximately 40% have had to increase storage capacity.


The figures are eye-watering. UK manufacturers are unable to realise the value of goods to a total value of £23.6bn, because of supply chain delays. Products can’t be finished or sold because key parts or materials are unavailable. 72% are experiencing this kind of logjam, each on average unable to realise the value of unsold goods worth over £1m.


Besides the unfinished goods, firms are having to hold more stock to lock in prices or increase supply. Rising costs and current geo-political trends are compounding these supply chain pressures.

To shore up profits and future proof their operations, Barclays estimates 30% of manufacturers with supply chain difficulties have increased storage, with retailers and manufacturers increasingly holding more stock closer to markets, giving them the comfort and flexibility they need to maintain robust supply lines and, if required, still provide a JIT delivery service to customers. And in an era when controlling costs and reducing carbon is key, air freight as an alternative to shipping by sea is not a viable option.


To strengthen resilience, as well as saving costs and carbon, strategically located warehousing is the obvious choice. Here at The Finishing Line, our location in Basildon – close to the busy ports of Tilbury, London Gateway, and Britain’s largest container port, Felixstowe – sees us ideally placed to support this more sustainable supply chain strategy.


Not only are we situated within easy distance of incoming cargo, we’re also just a short drive from the M25. This enables us to store goods and provide a direct delivery service into the UK’s largest consumer market – namely London and the South East – at lowest mileage, least cost and with reduced carbon impact.


In addition to extensive storage facilities, our skilled workforce provides complex assembly and re-working services, as well as pick and pack for both B2B and B2C markets, supported by leading edge technology for speed, agility, and real time visibility.


It’s a win-win. Bringing in stock by sea, then storing it near to the market, in a warehouse that offers both bulk distribution and individual order fulfilment, is increasingly being adopted by companies looking to de-risk their supply chains and capitalise on the clear cost and carbon benefits this offers.

Here at Finishing Line, we always want to provide a comprehensive insight into the most prevalent and current trends surrounding the fulfilment industry in 2024, giving you a new perspective of the market, while sharing the best fulfilment practices that other eCommerce companies are now exploiting that you too should be taking advantage of and applying within your own business.


If this article has been an insightful read, feel free to sign up to our email newsletter below to gain more industry insights that we at Finishing Line can provide you, with 35+ years of experience. Check out our services; ecommerce fulfilmentreturns managementcontract packingwarehouse management.



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Andy Mead

Managing Director

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