april.jpgWelcome to the 1 April edition of Warehouse & Logistics News. There’s no April Fool’s Day jollity in the CBI’s latest forecast – issued just before the early Easter break and as chilly as the snow on Easter morning, this august body predicts a prolonged financial market freeze and rising inflation, giving us a rough ride to 2010. The CBI’s wise men have marked their 2008 outlook for UK GDP down by 0.2% to 1.8%, and expect even slower growth of 1.7% in 2009. This is given continuing credit clampdowns, costlier commodities and diminished domestic and global demand. The CBI’s caution clashes with Chancellor Darling’s more cheerful Budget, predicting 2.25-2.75% growth, but it’s not for this column to ponder the politics.

Warehousing and logistics people already live with the drear realities of customers cutting spending, steel shortages and soaring fuel prices. But they’re not giving up, nor should they: in such times, seizing whatever opportunities fortune presents remains the way to win. To help you arm yourself, in this issue we present features on Racking & Shelving and Data Capture. Our Racking & Shelving feature embraces pallet racking, cantilever racking, shelving and storage solutions: Data Capture takes in RFID, bar codes, readers, scanners, tags and labels.

Also in this issue we interview Certex UK and AGF (UK), whose Maxi Storage Systems business is a byword for storage and materials handling excellence. Both companies are set for further success, even in the present economic doldrums.

The one-time distribution arm of rope maker Bridon, Certex UK is enjoying strong growth demand for its tailored lifting solutions, following legal pressure on industry to attain higher lifting safety standards through use of properly certified equipment. Certex UK’s recent acquisition by Axel Johnson International reunites the British team with their former Scandinavian and East European colleagues and provides a springboard for future expansion, as UK Operations Director Kevin Smith says in our article.

In our other interview, AGF UK’s Keith Watson talks about how racking and shelving experts AGF are broadening out beyond their garment industry heartland with their innovative Maxi Long Span shelving. Maxi Long Span is designed to meet the storage needs of manufacturing and distribution operations for more flexibility in this part of their operations with no loss of functional performance. In our difficult days, Maxi Long Span is sure to be much sought after.

Have a successful month!

Charles Smith