front-jun08-small.jpgWelcome to the June 1 Warehouse & Logistics News. As we settle into the summer, sadly economic conditions in the UK continue to feel frosty for many in the industry, with the rising price of oil and hence motor fuel adding to the pressures. That said one or two economists have started saying they don’t think the downturn will be as bad as initially feared. It’s good to see the FTSE-100 back over 6,200, even though the Index partly reflects the currently very prosperous oil companies’ share prices. So once again it’s a case of keep smiling and hang on in there! In this issue we’ve got two features which we hope you find useful – Tyres, Wheels & Castors, which includes specialised tyres for mobile equipment in the warehouse, and Order Picking, covering Pickers, pick to light and voice picking.

As London gets used to its new Mayor, we have to see what difference it will make to business life in the capital. According to one of our interviewees in this issue – Nigel Parkes of Pallet-Track, the UK’s fastest growing overnight pallet distribution system -one of Boris’s policies is the welcome commitment not to extend the Congestion Charge to the Low Emission Zone boundary.

Pallet-Track went live with 46 members on 30th January 2004, transacting 852 pallets through its Wednesbury hub, a UK record volume of freight for a first night’s operation. Since then Pallet-Track’s throughput has grown fivefold and now, its hub transacts 4,500 pallets per night between 65 member depots. To date Pallet-Track has handled over 2 million pallets and boasts a zero lost pallet record!

Our other interview is with Easypack, another fast growing British-based organisation doing well in the current climate. The Internet’s ‘rise and rise’ and home shopping’s resurgence give cushion packaging a new importance for businesses dispatching goods to consumers. At the same time, growing environmental concerns heighten the need for businesses in all sectors to use ‘greener’ products in transit packaging. The user-friendly void fill materials Easypack’s systems produce are suitable for all industries and their performance is confirmed by proven results and many contented customers. Easypack’s paper and air-based systems revamp packing productivity, while meeting growing demand for environmentally safe, biodegradable packaging.

STOP PRESS…
Regular readers will recall last year we published The Warehouse & Logistics News Health & Safety Guide in association with the Fork Lift Truck Association. David Ellison, FLTA Chief Executive, has now asked us to publish an updated Guide, which will be given to the delegates at the FLTA Safety Conference 2008 at Warwick University on 27th September.

The Guide will be inserted in our 1 September issue, and the stories and interviews will be published on a dedicated section of our website, and featured in a dedicated email newsletter sent out shortly before the Conference. The Guide will feature a wealth of information on forklift truck safety and general safety practice in the warehouse environment. It will contain advice from the FLTA plus articles and interviews from leading players in the industry, covering the latest developments and regulations in this important area. Don’t miss it!
Have a good month, and happy reading.

Charles Smith