Back when Brexit was still a work in progress, Southgate Packaging anticipated levels of worker migration from Europe to the UK – already plummeting – would fall yet further and even reverse, affecting the warehousing and distribution sector.

This article required research to establish whether worker migration might present an actual threat and to gather credible data from reliable sources to support this, leading to the main purpose of the content – highlighting how Southgate can help warehouses and fulfilment centres mitigate staff shortages through its order fulfilment and pack bench systems.

Will Brexit Threaten Your Operation’s Staffing Levels?

Industries employing high percentages of unskilled labour will undoubtedly feel the impact of falling net migration as EU workers return home or seek work in other EU countries in the wake of more stringent migration laws following Brexit.

The signs are already there – at the end of 2018, the Office for National Statistics estimated that in the year to June 2018, EU migration plummeted to 40 per cent of the numbers reported for the same period two years previously.

In December 2018 the British Home Secretary announced plans for a new immigration system that will allow entry to the UK for skilled and experienced workers yet reduce overall immigration statistics and end free movement. In many ways, this is sensible as it opens the doors to the brightest and best to fill the gaps, for example in the health sector.

But will it mean that sectors such as warehousing and fulfilment will struggle to find the right calibre of staff for their industry? If this is the future of the UK labour market, what must they do to maintain operational effectiveness in the event of a widespread labour shortage?

The answer may be found in studying countries such as Sweden, where the high cost and low availability of labour have encouraged companies into using technology and innovation, but this need not necessarily involve investment in sophisticated automation and robotics.

Order fulfilment system experts Southgate® routinely encounter situations where packing and despatch operations have either outgrown their facilities or not fully embraced the principles of lean processes. This has resulted in crowded, inefficient environments where products and packaging materials are frequently handled multiple times throughout the journey from the pick face to the loading dock.

Pacplan® Technik™ is an entirely bespoke system that begins with in-depth situation analysis and progresses through consultation and design, manufacturing and installation to final commissioning. Materials handling equipment designed for specific purposes maximise usage of space, pack stations are built around the principle of ensuring all packaging materials are kept within easy reach and easily replenished, while conveyor systems move goods swiftly through the complete packing cycle.

Southgate augments Pacplan Technik with a wider range of packaging equipment, including Pacplan air pillow and kraft paper void fill systems, Tegrabond® water-activated carton sealing tapes, and Optimax® stretch wrapping and strapping machinery. This, and their track record of delivering cost-saving, time-efficient results have placed Southgate at the forefront of innovative order fulfilment centre design.

If you want or need to boost the efficiency and productivity of your operation, Southgate should be your starting point.