Death of the big shop, electrifying the aftermarket, rise of the robots

Sam Phipps

Last updated: April 20, 2023
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With news of a major development in consumer behaviour, the opening of an exciting new facility dedicated to the production of electric vehicles and a report detailing the impacts of robots on our future careers, this week has given us plenty to think about. Supply chain blogger, Sam Phipps, investigates the hottest topics in the press and assesses their impact on businesses across the UK.

Is this the bitter end for the big weekly shop?

When the first out-of-town supermarket superstore opened in 1964, it was truly revolutionary: Shoppers had never seen anything like it! However, are these megastore formats still relevant to shoppers today?

Following a study into the shopping behaviours of more than seven million shoppers, it seems consumers are turning their backs on the big weekly shop in preference of smaller, more regular shopping trips. In fact, the report highlighted that a staggering 60% of all baskets in hypermarkets stores now contained 6 or fewer items (as opposed to a trolley full).

With more time pressure than ever before, it’s not surprising that consumers are utilising superstores more like convenience outlets. However, given that this trend shows no sign of slowing, how should retailers adapt their assortments and supply chain operations to meet the evolving demands of their customers?

Electrifying the aftermarket

It’s been a big week for the British automotive industry as the London Taxi Company opened the UK’s very first dedicated production facility for electric vehicles. Costing over £300,000,000 to build, the state-of-the-art factory is set to produce around 20,000 vehicles annually, with the potential to increase production to over 36,000 cars in the future. Given that our black cabs are now going electric, how long will it be until we all join the queue?

However, as we enter this new era of electric motoring, the aftermarket is under increasing pressure to keep up with the pace. Considering the number of new components, coupled with the ever-evolving nature of the technologies that go into electric vehicles, anticipating future customer demand for replacement parts could be difficult, to say the least!

Despite this, as the sector grows, this emerging market will present businesses across the automotive aftermarket with a real opportunity on which to profit. The questions is, however, what can these businesses do to prepare their operations for the challenges that lie ahead?

Human vs the humanoid

From the manufacturing processes of the cars we drive to the production of the food we eat, robots already play a huge part in the way we live our lives. However according to a new report from PwC, millions of UK workers are at risk of losing their jobs to intelligent robots. In fact, by as early as 2030, some 30% of jobs that exist today will be under threat from artificial intelligence and advanced robotics!

With manufacturing, wholesale distribution, retail and transportation expected to be amongst the worst industries to be hit, how will the advancement of robotics impact the supply chain? Will we ever embrace our new humanoid colleagues?

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