In today's fast-paced and unforgiving world, consumers have high expectations for delivery times. In fact, 62% of UK consumers now expect next-day delivery options on all orders, which is up nearly 20% from the last time the survey was recorded in 2020.

To fulfil these ever-increasing consumer demands and maintain high performance levels in all European markets, agile supply chains are necessary. Here, we look at how a robust warehousing and distribution strategy can support retailers in their scale-up efforts and increase their speed to market.

Two male working in a warehouse

Supporting strategic objectives

The first place to start is with your warehousing footprint. Most scale-up efforts need to be underpinned by strategically located distribution centres across the globe to make delivery possible and cost-efficient. Expanding your footprint enables you to reduce the distance between your business and potential customers, accelerating the time to market.

The more you increase your warehousing presence, the more you can reduce dependency on specific trade routes.

For example, if disruption strikes and one of your usual routes is blocked, you can find a workaround and still get your products to market on time. Supply chain flexibility also enables you to create shortcuts. For instance, with more options available, you can complete distribution centre bypasses to speed up your supply chain.

But if you already have a mature network of strategically located warehouses, you don’t need to create a competitive advantage, you just need to extend it. That means you may only need to implement localised solutions to increase proximity to destination and improve delivery times.

Two male working at the dockyard

Leveraging scalable facilities

Another way to help your business scale is by taking a more strategic approach to distribution.

There are various types of distribution centres — from consolidation to deconsolidation to fulfilment — and each serves a different purpose.

Depending on your needs in different markets, your choice of distribution centre can help create efficiencies that help you scale up your supply chain. 

For example, consolidation centres allow you to consolidate your orders with other companies, enabling you to take advantage of faster shipping lanes, which means faster throughput, and ultimately, faster delivery times. This means you can manage changes in demand and accelerate speed without incurring heavy upfront investment costs.

For more information on different types of distribution centres, visit this page.

Male pulling a trolley with shipments in a warehouse

Getting warehousing and distribution right

Warehousing and distribution is integral to your scale-up ambitions, but getting it right is no small feat. Invest too much in your facilities and you’ll erode your profit margins, limiting your access to capital required for further growth. However, if you don’t invest enough, it can be challenging to compete on delivery times, which may also stifle your growth. 

However, partnering with an integrated logistics provider like Maersk can make it easier for your business to scale. 

That’s because we already have the infrastructure and expertise for you to tap into, whatever your logistics requirements. This saves you significant CapEx from having to build the facilities, meaning you can easily scale up or down in response to demand changes, and as you can access this network immediately, you can scale up faster.

To find out more about Maersk's warehousing and distribution capabilities, visit our European Warehouse and Distribution page or for more information on warehousing strategy, download our latest eBook on efficient warehousing.

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