In ADM Milling we regard Logistics and Distribution as a customer service function and is therefore key to the continuing success of our business. Our fleet of vehicles is managed regionally to maximise efficiencies and deliver local service from the UK’s leading miller.
Stephen Halleran, Regional Distribution Manager based at ADM Leith and chair of the Scotland Freight Council shares his thoughts from a Scottish perspective on transport, sustainability and the future.
- How did you get your start in the logistics industry?
I planned to study veterinary medicine and surgery at the Royal School of Veterinary Studies. While waiting over the summer break I was offered a position with a leading distribution company and I never looked back.
2. What does your current role entail?
My current role is extremely varied, overseeing the regional distribution and warehousing activity. No two days are ever the same. My key focus is safety, operational efficiency, customer satisfaction and cost management.
3. What’s the biggest single change you have seen in logistics since joining the industry?
The development of 1PL to SPL. 3PL was a game changer when first conceived, it potentially provided a ‘one-stop shop’ of integrated supply chain services from transport and warehousing to inventory management, packaging and freight forwarding.
4. The logistics sector has long had an issue recruiting and retaining skilled employees. How do you think the industry can help plug the skills gap?
We have an ageing profile within the logistics industry which is predominantly from a male-driven background. The key to recruitment is early interaction with schools and colleges to raise the profile of logistics, engaging the next generation and focusing on attracting a higher number of females for a better gender balance within the workplace. Sector skills councils can play a significant role in this engagement, with support from leading companies
5. What role do you think logistics should play in the government’s target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050?
I think sustainability is key as we move forward. If you look at the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, combined transport contributes 26% to the overall figure. We are seeing expansions of both the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) and CCZ (Congestion Charge Zone) with it costing an estimated £1 for every minute an LGV idles in traffic. Consumer behaviours will influence the logistics chain as it pushes back and influences fleet compositions. We should fully engage with government over alternative fuelling options. Whilst there have been massive strides forward in the electrification of vans, I believe LGV technology is still some way away from being commercially viable for operators.
6. What is your view on the need for more sustainable fuels?
I think they will play an increasingly important role as we move on the government’s ambitions to zero. Whilst BEVs (Battery Electric Vehicles) are the focus for van ‘last-mile’ deliveries, the LGV sector currently has natural gas, CNG, LNG, LPG or bio diesel as its main credible options. I believe electrification will come to the LGV sector in the future.
7. What quality do you most admire in others?
I believe the most important attribute an individual can have is integrity. I have always had the belief of “treat others as you wish to be treated” and you will set a good benchmark for everyone you deal with in life.
8. What has been your biggest achievement career wise to date?
While working for my previous employer I set up the UK’s first flower wholesale imports from Aalsmeer, Holland into the then Safeway supermarket supply chain. They are now commonplace throughout the supermarket industry.
9. What do you think is the most pressing issue facing the logistics sector?
Climate change and sustainability. Under the Air Quality Plan, the government has mandated the ban of new diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040. That provides a massive challenge to the industry in how best to respond in a responsible manner.