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Welcome to the July 15th edition of Warehouse & Logistics News. It was good to see a strong turnout on a hot summer’s day for this month’s UKWA Awards Lunch at the Dorchester in London, to which Warehouse & Logistics News was a media partner. Once again it was a hugely enjoyable occasion, with Gerald Ratner’s highly entertaining after lunch speech a memorable highlight.

Congratulations to all this year’s UKWA Awards winners, including Best New UKWA Member of the Year, Dalepak Ltd; Warehouse Manager of The Year Daniel Earp of Boughey Distribution; Warehouse Company of the Year International Logistics Group; and Chairman’s Award winner Steve Granite, founder of the ‘Think Logistics’ network of regional careers centres and school and college visitors, encouraging young recruits to the industry. See page 6.

Congratulations too to Asda’s Julie McCaffery, who won the Woman of the Year Award at the recent everywoman in transport and logistics ceremony. As reported on page 16 Julie’s award recognises her efforts continually improving the logistics services at Asda’s Grangemouth and Falkirk distribution centres.

Speaking of supermarkets, our front cover story is about Fortis Battery Care, whose blue chip client list includes Aldi, Booker Distribution, the John Lewis Partnership and B&Q. Fortis’ message is that many materials handling equipment users are neglecting proper battery care, a ‘shameful secret under the bonnet’ resulting in huge losses and increased health and safety risk to operatives. Fortis’ pitch is that cost effective battery maintenance contracts cost as little as £18 per week and extend battery life to six years.

In our special features we look at Packaging, Pallets and Warehouse IT. Warehouses can’t live without packaging, but can do a lot to reduce the amount they use and the environmental impact. Packaging is also vital to securing loads and Kite Packaging’s new pallet shrink gun is the latest addition to their heat shrink systems range.

In our Pallet Focus we hear from the FLTA about pallet handling best practice, including pallet care tips, choosing the right pallet, avoiding accidents and an overview of the regulations. Mike Bowie, CHEP UK & Ireland’s Customer Service Director offers advice for white wood pallet users, who can no longer swop EPAL Euro pallets for UIC/EUR ones now the exchange agreement has ended.

In our Warehouse IT feature Peoplevox’s recent e-commerce fulfillment report shows many online retailers haven’t yet implemented WMS due to perceptions of complexity and unclear benefits. One possible solution could be ProSKU’s cloud-hosted WMS for smaller warehouse operators, available on monthly rental.

The rise and rise of e-commerce is very good news for the warehouse and logistics industry, but has thrown up some new challenges. Don’t miss our exclusive interview on page 11 with James Sharples, MD of intralogistics experts Swisslog UK, about how automation technology can help tackle the issues of limited storage space, returns handling, errors and system downtime.

And finally, back to the UKWA Awards and Gerald Ratner’s speech, the inspiring story of how he famously screwed up in business, dusted himself down and got back up again. If you have some amusing anecdotes from your career, why not share them with our readers in our Quote Unquote section. Get in touch!