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The 2010 Scottish Region Annual Dinner

The Scottish Region of the CILT held it's 2010 Annual Diner at the Airth Castle Hotel on the evening of Thursday 16th September 2010.

The Chairman, Dougie Adamson was introduced by Ken Thomson who was again our Master of Ceremonies and in his address, Mr. Adamson thanked those who had assisted the Region over the year and presentations of framed certificates were made by the President, Sir Moir Lockhead.

After the Grace by George Brown, the 5 course dinner was served and was enjoyed by all. After the interval, members and guests were addressed by Sir Moir Lockhead, President of CILT (UK) and Chief Executive and Deputy Chairman, Firstgroup plc.

In his address, Sir Moir said it was a privilege to be at the Scottish Region's Dinner. He said that we are in challenging times, but difficulties provide opportunities. He referred tot he recent Logistics Research Network Conference and asked why it is called Logistics and Transport instead of just Transport. We all do Logistics, it's just that those of us in the passenger business have "self loading cargo" and that can complain.

Sir Moir said that the last time he had been at the Airth Castle Hotel was when First had acquired Midland Bluebird for £9 million, which was a considerable amount for such a company then. Now the company has acquired Laidlaw in the United States for $24 billion adding 40,000 buses. First Group now has somewhere in the region of 60,000 buses in North America and this makes the business predominantly US based although there are substantial UK interests, including Scotrail and bus companies throughout the UK.

In May of this year when Sir Moir was asked to be President of the Institute, he was asked about his objectives and he said that one of the key ones was be to create greater awareness of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport which currently has over 12,000 members . He posed the question of why the government does not ask the Institute for advice and mentioned the recent member survey. One of Sir Moir's aims is to get the CILT into a position where it is consulted on various matters by the government.

Turning to other initiatives, Sir Moir spoke of a bus industry campaign, "Green Journey" to get car drivers to make one journey a month by bus instead of by car and it is estimated that this would save some 2 million tonnes of CO2 per annum. Today there are many young people who are unemployed, so what can be done? Sir Moir pointed out that making another 30,000 places at university available would only cost £210 million and the number of apprenticeships should be increased as it is important to invest for the future.

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport is in good shape both nationally and regionally and has a unique strength in the depth of knowledge within the Institute membership and it is important for the Institute to make a contribution in the education field as it is already doing.

The next speaker, Professor Leigh Sparks, Professor of Retail Studies at Stirling University looked at the part the retail supply chain plays in business, pointing out that it is often overlooked, yet is fundamental for industry and commerce. If something goes wrong, then it is noticed. Companies are looking at their supply chains and how they can improve them. The supply chain is now being scrutinised as never before and this is especially true in the retail supply chain.

Retailers have reorganized their systems, invested in technology, reduced inventory and utilize outsourcing and partnerships. In doing this, they have changed consumers and competitors views on what is possible. Retailers know what customers want and the supply chain helps them meet these wants. However, there have been mistakes and challenges. Last winter revealed weaknesses in supply chains and these will need to be addressed.

The supply chain and logistics do not stand still and end to end capability is a key requirement. The sourcing of products now needs to consider not only distance but also ethical and environmental factors and product availability is crucial. Cost pressures mean that there is a requirement for efficiencies and people have changed the way they shop, using more on line retailers requiring delivery to the customer.

Supply chains need to be flexible and organizations need flexible partnerships built on trust, but able to react to the responsiveness of markets. But at the same time sustainability is important and environmental challenges need to be addressed. It is not just the environmental impact or perceptions, but other factors such as waste packaging, emissions etc. that need to be considered.

Challenges facing businesses are how to implement sustainable, local, low cost supply chains especially in these challenging times with regard to investment. The supply chain has to be right for all, especially the customers. The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport has a role to play and needs to be recognised as to how good it is in providing highly qualified personnel for the industry.

The prize draw with proceeds going to Transaid was then made, presided over by Mr. G. Condron and this year £1287 was raised for Transaid.

The evening was rounded off with a humourous address by Mr. George McNeil who entertained members and guests with a number of amusing anecdotes, stories and observations of everyday life.

The Scottish Region would like to thank the speakers, the staff at the Airth Castle Hotel, the sponsors of the prizes for the prize draw and the Dinner Planning sub committee for making the evening so successful.

Report by John Fender.


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