Prepare to repel a Japanese threat
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• UK distribution companies should be prepared for a "major threat" from Japanese rivals, warns logistics consultant Martin White.
Competition will include integrated freight management and distribution ventures, says White of Coopers & Lybrand Deloitte. "They consider themselves to be shipping information, not goods, and they've been in that game far longer than us," he says.
"Japanese logistics firms have been carrying out market research on the European market for the past five or so years," says White. "Al] of a sudden, wham, barn and they'll be here." He says that NYK, K-Line and Mitsui have already shown interest in Europe; parcels and property group-Footwork is going after a share of the German market.
UK distribution firms should be more aggressive in the Japanese and Far East markets, says White. "The retail/ manufacturer structure is unsophisticated in Japan, which leads to inefficiencies.
"The UK distribution industry is world-class," he says, "but we don't shout about it as we ought to see off the competition."