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Welcome to the February 1st Warehouse & Logistics News. The Prime Minister has now announced her vision of Britain’s future relationship with our European and global trade partners, specifically her commitment to “tariff-free and frictionless trade” with the EU and hopes of ambitious free trade agreements elsewhere. The reality remains to be seen but the announcement at least clarifies matters about the Government’s plans for Brexit for warehousing and logistics people here and internationally.

Europe’s fashion businesses are some of the biggest investors in warehousing and logistics, as confirmed by our cover story about SSI Schaefer’s new omni-channel logistics centre for the Stockmann Group, one of Scandinavia’s leading retailers.

Replacing four separate warehouses, the new facility at Tuusula houses some 100,000 different products, or over 1.8 million individual items. Large products, cosmetics and decorative items and hanging textile goods are bundled together in one place covering all distribution channels and the new DC forms the central plank of Stockmann’s omni-channel strategy. The chain’s thirtieth ‘Crazy Days’ five-day discount event in mid October saw 1.4 million items sold in stores and over 1 million shoppers online.

Smoothing such seasonal peaks is driving Stockmann’s commitment to omni-channel, with SSI Schaefer’s WAMAS logistics software handling the stock management and order processing.

Beefing up warehousing and logistics operations to compete successfully in changing markets is an option open to all industry sectors, not just fashion. In our features we look at three key areas, Forklifts, Warehouse Floors and Pallet Networks. Oxford Economics’ latest Forklift Truck Market Outlook shows BITA members’ confidence softening in line with the economy’s predicted slowing, with counterbalance trucks expected to be hardest hit. However James Clark of BITA remains optimistic, talking about “encouraging” current order books and online shopping’s continuing evolution holding up warehouse truck orders.

Maintaining warehouse floors can lower the risk of accidents, improve productivity, reduce damage to trucks and increase driver fatigue and absenteeism. In our Warehouse Floor feature we hear from CoGri Group, who have been busy on behalf of global logistics firm Kuehne & Nagel, EGGER UK, whose load bearing panels have transformed Wyder Timber Systems’ Preston facility, Elan, the UK importers of FactoryCat cleaning equipment, who are looking for more dealers and Beaverswood, who have expanded their floor signals range.

In our Pallet Networks feature, don’t miss our exclusive interview with Hilary Devey CBE, Founder, CEO and Chairman of the Pall-Ex Group, celebrating its twentieth anniversary. The Pall-Ex story started when Hilary Devey overheard a haulier saying it took nearly two weeks to deliver a pallet from Cardiff to Carlisle because he had to wait for enough orders to come in to fill the lorry before it set off. Pall-Ex has since grown, first into a UK-based network and then into a market-leading player across multiple European territories, with over 350 members.

Finally, don’t miss the UPN 2017 Sports Planner in the centre pages of this issue. You can also download it on our website www.warehousenews.co.uk. Have a good month.