September 10, 2015, by NUBS Postgraduate Careers

CILT Retail Logistics Forum: beer, beans and bananas

NUBS Logistics, Supply Chain and Operations Management students at the CILT event at Sainsbury's

NUBS Logistics, Supply Chain and Operations Management students at the CILT event at Sainsbury’s

By Megan Davies

On Tuesday 8th September, NUBS MSc students from Logistics and Supply Chain and Operations Management courses were lucky enough to be exclusively invited to attend the Chartered Institute of Transport and Logistics’ Retail Forum Event on ‘Logistics Network Development & Sustainability’. The event was held at Sainsbury’s Hams Hall Distribution Centre near Coleshill, and was attended by over 50 logistics professionals and CILT members.

The event started with some fascinating updates from both the Director of Logistics and the Head of Transport Operations at Sainsbury’s. We learnt about the consumer shift towards ‘local’ convenience stores and away from larger supermarkets, and the impact this is having on the way retail companies manage their logistics and supply chain – for example changing delivery frequencies to ensure maximum efficiency, and how you can remain agile and flexible when serving over 600 supermarkets and 740 convenience stores. We also learned about new innovations, such as the cycle-safe delivery vans designed specifically for urban areas and how Sainsbury’s has worked extremely hard to reduce waste by 81% by recycling as much as possible – old lorry tyres are even recycled into speed cushions outside your local store!

Following the presentations a guided tour of Hams Hall awaited. Hams Hall is a fast-moving depot, supplying mainly consumable food goods (and pot plants!) to 58 supermarkets and 80 convenience stores across the midlands. “Beer, beans and bananas” as we were told. After inspecting the fleet of vehicles about to go out on the night deliveries, we visited the tray points and finally the warehouse, where aisle after aisle were stocked with every food you can imagine! A hive of activity and innumerable conveyor belts delivering food to the correct cages for delivery to store, highlighted just what a huge operation it is to get your daily pint of milk ready and waiting for you in store!

Fabulous food and networking

Fabulous food and networking

Finally, the evening was rounded off by a fantastic dinner, and a further opportunity to ask questions of both Sainsbury’s staff and CILT professionals. All in all, a really good opportunity for students to meet graduates and professionals in the sector, and ask for advice and information that will help both with studies, and also with career choices. Furthermore, it highlighted the usefulness of joining professional bodies as a student, in order to gain access to this kind of event – the CILT for example has a ‘Young Professional’s Forum‘ for members under 35.

Feedback from students was impressive:

“Thank you so much for arranging this perfect opportunity for us! … Those kind of conferences or forum really boost our interests in the area we are studying. Hope the business school can have more offers like this for the forthcoming students.”

“It was great to take part in this outstanding event. I had the opportunity to learn from the experience of the Sainsbury’s Logistics Senior Office the current situation and challenges their company face, as well as to engage in conversations with professionals from the Logistics field across the UK. We also had the chance to see part of Sainsbury’s very impressive operations by taking a tour at their distribution centre. Thank you very much to the University of Nottingham for arranging this event for us!”

Posted in Postgraduate