On Wednesday 14th October Konica Minolta hosted a fascinating webinar entitled: ‘Supply Chain Transformation with Eddie Stobart’, which featured insights from Vince Sparks, IT Director at the famous Eddie Stobart Logistics company.
Easily recognised by its distinctive livery and uniformed drivers, Eddie Stobart Ltd can trace its beginnings back to its agricultural business in the 1940s, before moving into haulage in the 1970s and becoming one of the UK’s most well-known supply chain sector companies.
The company has worked in partnership with Konica Minolta for the last 12 years, primarily focused on Eddie Stobart’s digital transformation strategy, achieving a substantial cost reduction of 35% whilst boosting productivity.
Challenges and opportunities
Following the webinar introduction by Amanda Walsh, Head of Global and Enterprise Sales at Konica Minolta, Vince Sparks presented an overview of Eddie Stobart, including the group’s component companies of Eddie Stobart Logistics, iForce, The Pallet Network, Speedy Freight and The Logistics People. He then moved on to examine the business technology challenges that the company has faced over recent years, including the evolution of ecommerce, digital business models, delivery track and trace and the emergence of new technologies such as Blockchain.
Vince also discussed the need for agile and wide-spread technology adoption for it to be viable, citing the continued use of paper-based records and email in parts of the logistics sector, versus the need for greater Digital Workflow optimisation to streamline this. He also highlighted the need for consolidating data for effective operations, whilst combating increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks and maintaining watertight security.
Working closely with Konica Minolta
One of the initial benefits of Eddie Stobart’s relationship with Konica Minolta in 2008 was embracing a fully Managed Print approach to consolidate its fleet, which was updated in 2018-19 with a further rationalisation of this facility. Vince explained to the webinar audience how Konica Minolta managed the whole process (including a full audit and engagement with the company’s whole team, as well as updating the technology) to ensure maximum efficiency, cost savings and improved environmental credentials.
Vince also highlighted the implementation and adoption of Document Management and Workflow Automation, which encompasses key business operations such as Proof of Delivery, invoicing, and purchase orders.
He concluded by underlining the considerable benefits of working with Konica Minolta – praising its engaged and proactive management team, professional services support for projects, quality of service, and the extensive Konica Minolta business process automation, document management and smart solutions.
Understanding and supporting the workforce during change
The second part of the webinar featured insights into the human reactions to big internal changes within an organisation, presented by Gemma Lee, Head of Transformation at Konica Minolta UK.
Highlighting that people cope with change in different ways, from those that embrace it to others that may deal with it akin to the stages of grief, Gemma discussed ‘The Change Curve’ – which sees even the most arbitrary of detractors eventually processing the changes and realising the positives. She told the webinar audience that people are just as important a consideration in change as technology, and that effective management and engagement with the team is vital to make this work.
Gemma also covered the importance of understanding how change can affect all the parts of the business and every stakeholder, otherwise the business risks leaving people behind in the process. It is vital to explain why change is taking place and effectively communicate the advantages of it (both internally and externally if required).
Gemma concluded that there needs to be an holistic approach to change across the whole business and that, ultimately, people need to be at the centre of change alongside the business process and technology, to make it truly achieve its goals of improvement.
Following a short round of Q&A, Amanda thanked Vince and Gemma for their insights.