The logistics revolution over the past twenty-five years has become a central feature of globalisation, leading to the rise of global corporate retail giants such as Walmart, Amazon and Sports Direct. This revolution is fuelled by their ability to move goods as quickly and as cheaply as possible from the global South to the global North. ‘Wal-Mart may be widely known as a mammoth retailer, but in the world of business management it is known as a logistics company’ (Cowen 2014: 192).
The increasingly complex supply chains which source cheaper goods are based on just-in-time production and deregulated labour markets, so the modern corporation has also restructured its logistics, creating a flexible, low-wage and exploitable workforce across warehouses and distribution centres. According to the Financial Times,
The people here are not day labourers looking for an odd job from a passing contractor. They are regular employees of temp agencies working in the supply chain of many of America’s largest companies – Walmart, Macy’s, Nike, Frito-Lay. They unload clothing and toys made overseas and pack them to fill our store shelves. They are as important to the global economy as shipping containers and Asian garment workers. (Gabrell 2013)