Q&A: Kerry Delaney, Regional Managing Director – Europe North-West at Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK
Rhenus is one of the pioneers in warehouse logistics and forms a comprehensive global network with more than 155 locations in 21 countries and 3.5 million square metres of warehouse space.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
The vast majority of my career has been in the 3PL global supply chain and logistics industry. I have over 20 years of experience in this sector and it has been exciting to witness all the ways it has changed and evolved over that time.
I’m currently Regional Managing Director – Europe North-West at Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK, where I have been for five years, and use the knowledge I have built over my career to identify emerging industry trends and ensure that Rhenus is at the forefront of new ideas, technology and approaches.
What does your company do? / What is your USP?
Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK is a logistics specialist that provides sustainable warehousing, fulfilment and returns processing to multi-channel retailers and brands across a range of sectors.
The company was originally founded in 1990 under the name Core Management Logistics (CML), before being acquired by Rhenus in 2019 and becoming part of the Rhenus Group, which is one of the leading logistics specialists, with global business operations and annual turnover amounting to EUR 7.0 billion. Over the past 30 years, Rhenus Warehousing Solutions UK has built up a foundation of expertise, ensuring the company is a leader in the industry.
Currently, Rhenus operates out of four warehouses at Magna Park in Lutterworth, Leicestershire, and is in the process of expanding to Nuneaton, Warwickshire, with two brand-new sustainable warehouses, which, together, will be known as the ’Rhenus Campus’.
Upon completion, the development will be certified “BREEAM Outstanding“, which is evidence of the commitment Rhenus has to creating a highly sustainable environment that also enhances the health and wellbeing of employees. The site will fully adhere to the net zero operational carbon framework by the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), following on-site generation from solar panels, air source heat pumps and a car park fitted with electric car charging points.
Rhenus is also working with a local timber mill to recycle felled trees from the site and ensure nothing goes to waste. The wood will be used to craft furniture including picnic tables for employees to enjoy, bat and bird boxes, hedgehog homes and habitat boards for the local wildlife.
What’s special about the platform and your approach?
Over the years, we have developed a tailored, human-led approach in delivering a quality service for our customers, that makes Rhenus stand out among the rest. We always build strong relationships, particularly within the fashion industry, and form a partnership with every client, which allows Rhenus to go beyond the role of a service provider and become an integral part of each of our customers’ supply chains.
What advantage does it add?
With Rhenus, retailers gain the advantage of increased efficiency, guaranteed speed to market, and the ability to handle peak volumes, with the added benefit of support for their sustainability goals, all of which can be particularly challenging.
We ensure our clients meet the ever-increasing demands of consumers by providing a warehousing solution that goes beyond the typical ‘paid-for’ fulfilment service. We offer sustainable warehousing, systemic pick and pack, B2B and B2C order fulfilment, value-added services and comprehensive returns management.
How does a product/service implementation actually look like and how do you measure success?
Service implementation always starts with getting to know the client and their needs. We pride ourselves on having a tailored approach and delivering a bespoke service to each of our clients, so that period of learning what they need from us for their business to thrive is essential.
Once we have that information, we utilise our expertise in project management and governance to constantly ensure we meet the clients‘ needs, leaning on our experienced people, efficient structures and reliable systems, such as mapping process flows.
We measure our success by how well we meet the needs of each individual client and are always looking for ways to improve our service.
Are there other companies you partner with?
Rhenus works with distinguished brands, from high-street retailers to online sellers across a range of sectors, including fashion and apparel, health and beauty, toys and homeware.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in UK retail for 2023 / What challenges are retailers facing in 2022?
Some of the challenges we see in the UK for both the retail and the logistics sectors are hitting net zero carbon emissions, the rising cost of energy and labour, and obtaining the space needed to meet customers’ growing needs.
We are also keenly aware that the increased cost of living is likely to have an impact of consumer demand. This type of uncertainty in the market makes retailer forecasting and stock holding more of a challenge than it would be in more stable periods.
How will you address these challenges and turn them into successes?
Rhenus is preparing to face these challenges in a number of ways. Our brand-new development in Nuneaton will help customers achieve their sustainability goals, whilst a full sensor suite and building information modelling create a “Digital Twin” to support the commitment to transparency at all times.
The measures taken at the new sites to encourage biodiversity, such as planting native hedgerows, ornamental and native shrubs, the installation of bird, bat and insect homes, and planting between 700 to 900 native trees which have been nursery grown, will also help customers reduce their overall impact on the environment.
We also stay at the forefront of innovation in the industry by embracing automation, which gives us the scalability to meet ever-changing customer demands.
What is on the horizon for you as a company?
We have big plans for the future. Rhenus has committed to reducing its direct emissions by 60 per cent by 2030. This is the first step on our journey to achieving net zero carbon emissions, which is a Rhenus Group initiative to achieve by 2045.
We also aim to become more competitive through embracing technological innovation, careful labour planning and constantly improving our processes to make them more efficient.
Globally, Rhenus Warehousing Solutions forms a comprehensive network with more than 155 locations in 21 counties. Over the next few years, we will be working to expand our operations and continue to grow internationally.
Any final thoughts?
Rhenus is first and foremost a family business, and that foundation is an essential component of our company’s vision. Closeness and understanding are present in everything Rhenus does and have been crucial to the growth and success of the company.
About Rhenus Warehousing Solutions
Rhenus is one of the pioneers in warehouse logistics and forms a comprehensive global network with more than 155 locations in 21 countries and 3.5 million square metres of warehouse space. Specialised in numerous industries, Rhenus customers benefit from tailor-made warehousing solutions and fulfilment services. At multi-user locations and for dedicated and in-house solutions, the main focus is on innovation, sustainability and continuous process optimisation.
The Rhenus Group is one of the leading logistics specialists with global business operations and annual turnover amounting to EUR 7.0 billion. 37,500 employees work at 970 business sites and develop innovative solutions along the complete supply chain. Whether providing transport, warehousing, customs clearance or value-added services, the family-owned business pools its operations in various business units where the needs of customers are the major focus at all times.