A project to investigate whether collaborative working can reduce logistical costs and improve levels of customer service in the shoe sector is being launched by The British Footwear Association (BFA) and Industry Forum, a three-year industry-led initiative established to deliver a sustainable supply chain improvement programme.

The project, which begins in September, involves bringing together logistics and eCommerce experts with a group of footwear manufacturers

Niall Campbell, director, British Footwear Association, says: "Many UK shoe manufacturers are concentrated in Northamptonshire - the centre of British shoe making. All have warehouses and use external carriers to ship their products to market. In many cases, the manufacturers are using the same carriers and the goods are being transported to the same retail outlets or forwarding depots.

"We thought, if manufacturers were to 'share' these responsibilities - they could significantly reduce their warehousing and carrier charges, as well as make more frequent deliveries to retailers with fewer expensive small drops."

Ken Watson, director, Industry Forum, explains: "This project extends Industry Forum's work into a new, but related, product sector. As with all our projects, we hope that our results will help manufacturers improve their competitiveness."