In a sign that when the going gets tough, the tough get going, the UK’s logistics industry is working extremely hard to help us cope with the COVID-19 outbreak. 


As the UK lockdown comes into full effect, logistics is one of the key industries that are not only providing us with the essentials that we need but is also taking on more workers.  


Many workers in sectors such as Hospitality have found themselves unexpectedly out of work and the urgent drive for roles such as Warehouse Assistants, Picker/Packers and Delivery Drivers might provide many of those affected with a way to get by.  


Logistics and Distribution is complex industry with each role a vital cog in the larger machine that keeps the UK ticking over – this is particularly true now but is also a fact under normal circumstances.   


The business of moving goods throughout the UK and abroad must continually evolve – and not only because of changes in legislation. 


The introduction of new technology, introduced to keep up with the changing needs and growing expectations of clients and customers, means companies must keep up with developments in machinery and emerging software. 


The massive uptake in online shopping has also led to the need for a new army of employees to meet increased demands on sourcing, packing and distribution. 


For instance, Amazon is to create more than 1000 jobs at a brand-new warehouse complex in Darlington. The company, which already has similar centres across the UK, has pledged the posts will be permanent and recruitment of employees, who will pick, pack and ship orders – will begin immediately.  


There will also be associated vacancies that range from engineers and IT professionals to HR and health and safety managers. 


Outside of our current circumstances, ‘Real world’ shopping, too, shows no sign of slowing down. Winvic is set to start main construction works next week on a new £36 million customer fulfilment centre for Ocado in Essex. The 19-acre site will become the fifth UK customer fulfilment centre that Ocado Retail – a new joint venture between Ocado Group and M&S – will operate from. 


In the current climate, there are fears of a skills shortage. Despite being the fifth largest employer in the UK – with the responsibility for moving 1.41 billion tonnes of goods in 2018, according to figures from the Department for Transport – the logistics industry continues to face recruitment issues. 


Attracting the younger generation is increasingly challenging. Industry analysts hope one way to boost recruitment is to raise awareness of innovation in the industry and make more job seekers aware of the vast scope of new roles available, as well as the opportunities for rapid career progression.  


All these factors can be evidenced by the wide range of logistics positions on x1jobs, aimed at everyone from absolute beginners to veteran managers and in areas as diverse as warehouse operations to IT. 


One reason for the sudden variety of roles to choose from is the growth of so-called ‘smart’ factories, warehouses and distribution centres across the country. 


These highly digitalised and IoT-connected facilities offer a novel and exciting environment for employees by using Artificial Intelligence, robots, cobots (collaborative robots), radio-frequency ID systems and wearable tech, such as smart watches. 


Research firm LogisticsIQ recently reported it expects the adoption of such technologies, especially those relating to the (Industrial) Internet of Things, will be a huge driver in the growth of the logistics sector in general and automated warehouses in particular.  


When it comes to dealing directly with customers, tailored online services take the complexity out of logistics by allowing instant ordering and the real-time tracking of deliveries, while a live chat customer service can resolve issues quickly and efficiently. 


Not all new tech is geared towards better business and customer service, however. Often the purpose of wearable tech is to enhance worker safety; when a device detects fatigue, for example, it can alert a supervisor to make sure the employee is okay. 


Sensors can also play a key role in protecting the warehouse environment, for instance by monitoring the temperature and making adjustments for maximum comfort. 


Of course, amid all this hi-tech wizardry, skilled humans remain at the heart of every logistics operation. 

The big difference now is that warehouse operatives and supervisors are being joined by IT experts, data analysts, robot engineers and software developers. 


While tech advances are opening up these kinds of new opportunities in logistics, in terms of career progression, many organisations are proactively upskilling employees to become their next generation of movers and shakers. 


Amazon has announced it plans to spend more than $700 million to train 100,000 employees at all levels for higher-skilled jobs over the next six years. 


Participants will be able to choose programs that range from learning skills for in-house jobs to earning certifications that are recognised for new roles outside of the company. 


It means in the world of moving stuff it’s easier than ever to move on up. 


If you’d like to discover more about moving yourself into Logistics/Distribution, x1jobs 

can deliver a host of vacancies at every level.