Movers & Shakers Q&A – Tony Mannix, CEO of Clipper Logistics

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Tony Mannix, CEO of Clipper Logistics

  1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?

Agility is a word we’ve lived by at Clipper since we started, and it’s a concept we believe has been key to our own success. It’s allowed us to develop award-winning solutions, such as our Boomerang™ returns service, and our recent joint venture with John Lewis, ClickLink, both of which have led innovation in our industry. Maintaining this agility is the key driver for the business.

At Clipper, we focus purely on retail, and we believe in taking a collaborative approach to our relationships, as retail evolves as a sector we need more collaboration, shared thinking and shared utilisation of assets – everyone benefits when we have a diverse and buoyant retail landscape.

  1. What is the biggest challenge to your business?

Uncertainty isn’t something new in the world of retail, or logistics, but things are perhaps more uncertain now than they have been for some time. As a business with operations in Europe, we are yet to see any detail on what Brexit will mean, so making sure we’re ready for anything will be key. Making our operations for retailers scalable will also be crucial, to cope with any changing demands in the sector. 

  1. With the benefit of hindsight what would you have done differently so far?

There is little point in looking backwards and therefore our focus is to continually look for how we can improve performance & solution design. With an evolving market adapting to the rapid pace of change is crucial.

  1. With the issue of digital wildfire how do you understand and control your growing digital landscape?

Digital has transformed retail over the past decade, and advancements are being made in real-time. The challenge for retailers is to have a scalable solution that can be enhanced & redeveloped often in days, rather than weeks and months.

Clipper have made significant investments over the last five years in our technological capability and have invested in people that are specifically tasked with R&D and future-proofing our capability in areas such as solution design, automation, and more recently we’ve turned to consider the future impact of robotics and AI.

  1. What will the high street look like in a decade?

This is difficult to predict, as change is the only constant. A decade ago many predicted the death of the high street, this hasn’t materialised and instead the high street has just evolved with inspiration and experience being top consumer priorities. The developments in click & collect are proving that a bricks & mortar retailer can develop a strong customer loyalty proposition by offering store interaction as part of their omni-channel solution set.

  1. Will mobile devices be the primary sales channel in the future?

Mobile devices have developed into a big thing in retail in recent times, with consumers taking advantage of mobile-optimised retail websites, and the convenience of shopping ‘on the move’.

Retailers are interacting on a more intimate level with their customers, however, the ease of use and speed of communication does create the opportunity for instant feedback – both positively and negatively.

  1. What retail businesses do you admire?

We’re lucky enough to work with some true retail leaders in the UK and are delighted to have helped a few retail pioneers with their first steps with new business offerings.

It’s very difficult to single out a single retailer as we view all of our customers as partners, but I would like to highlight the J-V we have created with The John Lewis Partnership. With their foresight in supply-chain solutions we were able to develop Clicklink – the award winning retail focused click & collect solution – which has been created to offer collaborative benefits to many high street retailers.

  1. If you hadn’t been a retailer/service-provider-to-retail what would you have liked to do?

I’ve been in retail for more than 30 years now, and it’s difficult to imagine life outside of this exciting and dynamic arena. I graduated from university as an Architectural Engineer, so my life could potentially have gone down that path. I have been involved in the development of several distribution centres so I suppose I have got the best of both worlds.

  1. What marks out of 10 do you give yourself so far for achievement?

As a Yorkshire headquartered business, we’re duty-bound to be a little modest at times. I’m proud of everything we’ve done to date at Clipper, but there’s always more to do. 8.5/10 is probably fair.

  1. Who would you place in the Top 25 Multi-channel/e-commerce Movers & Shakers?

They know who they are…..

This is one in an ongoing series of Q&A’s with individuals that are featured in the annual ‘Retail Insider Movers & Shakers in Retail Top 100’ report.