Compared to many in the industry, Passha Storage & Interiors Ltd is a fairly new company – only established in March 2015, but MD Paul Aires has been in the business for longer than he cares to remember.
For years Paul had worked for other companies assessing storage and racking solutions from his Midlands base. Nowadays he is using that skill and experience to grow his own successful business.
In a nutshell, Passha Storage provides storage, mezzanine and interior solutions to a wide range of companies including warehouses, factories and offices. This also includes solutions for warehouse safety services, mezzanine floor solutions and interior fit outs. MD Paul recently achieved the qualification of SEMA approved racking inspector.
Warehouse & Logistics News: Has the qualification helped you to help your clients?
It’s been a while since I’ve gained any new qualifications, but studying and being assessed for this qualification was well worth the time and effort. I think it gives clients a greater sense of trust in the advice that I offer and it certainly helps people feel more comfortable that they are doing everything they can to keep their employees safe.
WLN:What does your role involve day to day?
The size of the company that I run (we are still fairly small) means that I get involved in most aspects of the business. Although larger jobs have a specific pattern to them, it’s safe to say that no two days are ever the same. However, aside from some of the general admin tasks that we all do, most days are spent undertaking SARI rack inspections, reporting on inspections, organising future projects and attending site to scope out a client’s requirements. As well as new clients who are always welcome of course, I work with many companies whom I have had a relationship with for decades. So seeing them is always good as it’s nice to catch up and see how their businesses have grown and changed over the years.
WLN: This year’s SEMA conference includes sessions on safe storage system design and the new Construction Design and Management regulations (CDM). Are you directly involved in designing storage solutions for customers? How important a factor is safety in your solutions?
Passha design all manner of storage solutions and safety is of course a vital factor during the process. There is no point in designing a solution which might gain additional pallet locations if safety is compromised. So, in my role it is important to make sure that when a job is completed I leave the building with the new racking offering safety that is at an absolute minimum as safe as it was previously – even if we have doubled the area of storage space.
WLN: Who else in your company is specifically involved with storage safety?
It’s me who looks after this area for the most part. That said, we do have the services of a fully accredited safety consultant who advises and oversees our projects.
WLN: What are your core products and services; what are you best known for providing and how is safety ‘built in’ to these?
To answer your last question first, one thing that we never do is make compromises or cut corners on safety so it can be frustrating if we lose a potential contract to another company who has underpriced by compromising on the end result. We have low overheads, so we are not an expensive firm but we always ensure that we do the job properly. I don’t think I could sleep at night if I thought that an accident occurred which was down to sloppy planning or installation.
In terms of our core services, these are racking inspections, pallet racking solution provision, installation of mezzanine floors and interior fit outs.
Our pallet racking is provided by the UK’s major racking manufacturer and these materials are all designed to BS and SEMA codes.
Mezzanine floor designs are confirmed by structural calculations and by obtaining Building Control advice prior to Building Control submission. All floors will have safety designed in with hand rails, counterbalance gates and the correct type of staircase.
WLN: Have you launched any new products and services in the past year? Again, how do they help enhance storage safety?
My recent SARI qualification (it is always the individual rather than the company that is accredited) has enabled us to launch our new SARI inspection service. With the knowledge gained from this, we can promote safe storage awareness that covers not only damaged components but pallet conditions, placement and housekeeping. Combining these important elements together has a majorly positive impact on safety.
WLN: Which industry sectors are your customers in? Can you name some of your major customers and tell us about the work you do for them?
It’s amazing just how many different industries I have worked with over the years. I guess because racking is such a universal need, we end up working with a very diverse group of businesses from manufacturing to retail to construction. We have supplied back of house shelving, interior fit outs, pallet rack inspections, mezzanine floors, whole warehouse reconfigurations and low energy lighting solutions. For example, Passha recently won a large order for the total reconfiguration of a warehouse. Removing the existing racking installation and replacing with a double deep solution made for a significantly better use of warehouse space. Combining this with the installation of a new low energy lighting solution added up to a significant ongoing saving for the business.
Some of our major customers are HMV Retail, AGA Rangemaster, Macfarlane Packaging and The Cambridge Weight Plan to name a few.
WLN: What makes you the first choice supplier in your area of expertise?
I think we are often the first choice because we come recommended. When people call you up and say ‘You’ve worked with Fred for years, can you come and give us a quote?’ I know that we have a good chance of winning the business, because they are taking a very small risk by using you. They know that you have done a good job for a friend for years. That element of trust is important to convey to new customers looking for a new supplier.
WLN: What is your key message about improving storage safety for the warehouse industry?
It’s very easy to say that there are too many rules, or that regulations take up too much time and are a waste of money. But they are there for a reason. Warehouse operatives should follow SEMA & HSE guidelines if they want to run a safe warehouse. Do it quick, do it cheap and compromises are made that lead to mistakes. This causes damage to stock, damage to racking and puts staff at risk.
WLN: How does your involvement in SEMA help you as a company? How does it benefit your customers knowing you are SEMA members?
The recent SARI qualification has enabled Passha to demonstrate a commitment to SEMA’s guidelines. Personally, I have long followed a lot of the guidance issued by SEMA, but now as a fully qualified inspector I have a new level of respect for the work that they do and how important it is to follow procedures.
From our clients’ point of view, this is extremely important. It gives them confidence that we are passing on the latest advice on the safety of their warehouse operation.
WLN: What specific safety standards do your products and services comply with?
All the pallet racking that we supply is manufactured by the UKs leading racking manufacturer. They follow the appropriate British Standards and SEMA codes of practice. Obviously any advice that we offer follows all the latest industry guidelines.
WLN: How frequently does the equipment you supply need to be inspected to make sure it is safe? Do you offer an independent safety inspection service to make sure it is in good order?
By law, all work equipment has to be inspected every 12 months to comply with UK Health and Safety legislation including the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, the Provision and Use of Work Equipment regulations 1988 (PUWER) and the Workplace, Health, Safety and Welfare Regulations 1992 which racking falls under. So this inspection is not just ‘nice to have’ – it is essential. Failure to carry out these regular inspections could invalidate insurance policies and put equipment and even lives at risk.
Passha offers a safety inspection service that not only reports damage but comments on the general overall safety of the operation.
WLN: Do you publish customer case studies on how your products and services help make warehouses safer generally?
There are several case studies on our website where we have shown how our assessment and product installation have made the warehouse safer. We look to update these on a regular basis as we carry out new installs every month.
WLN: Do you have any pilot sites where people can see your products in action?
We have several key accounts where our products can be viewed in a live environment. Obviously these can only be visited by prior arrangement, but people are welcome to contact me and I can speak with the client and arrange a mutually convenient time to visit.
WLN: What do you see as the most common threats to warehouse safety and what can be done about them?
The major threat to warehouse safety is complacency. It often starts with a relaxed attitude from management which gets passed down throughout the organisation. If the MD isn’t too worried – why should the individual forklift operator be? A combination of lack of attention to detail and a desire for increased operational speed are dangerous contributory factors to incidents in warehouses.
WLN: What do you think the warehouse industry should do to raise awareness of asset protection, moving forwards?
I would say that there a few simple areas that combined would make a difference.
First of all, set up annual inspections and put into effect any actions that are strongly recommended.
Secondly, have a culture of safety first. Make it a serious offence for people to take risks to save time. Assess staff regularly on what they should do in different situations and give spot prizes for good behaviour for the safety conscious employee.
WLN: Where do you see your company going from here in terms of product development and attention to safety concerns?
Our focus as a business is making our customers safe. We don’t make products and we don’t create regulations. However, we do see it as a priority to keep our customers safe and up to date with the latest laws. With Brexit on the horizon, we’d anticipate a number of changes to legislation.
Some of these may be quite subtle; however they could catch out even safety conscious companies. So it’s our job to ensure that they remain not only safe, but safely within the law. To find out more about Passha and how they can assist you with any storage and safety issues wherever you are based in the UK, contact them for a no-obligation chat. Passha Storage, Rugby Business Centre, 21 – 23 Clifton Rd, Rugby, CV21 3PY
Tel: 01788 247074