Welcome to the September 15th Warehouse & Logistics News. As autumn arrives, the Christmas shopping season is getting under way in stores across the country, with the major retailers fully supported by the warehouse and logistics industry.

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As we report on our cover, Hörmann, the UK’s leading door manufacturer, was called in recently by John Lewis to install over 1,200 different loading bay products, including doubleskinned steel SPU F42 sectional doors and V 6020 TRL flexible highspeed doors, at two sites in Magna Park 3, Milton Keynes, developed by IDI Gazeley to support John Lewis and Waitrose’s growing online business. Hörmann also installed over 100 mechanical dock levellers for container vehicles, plus double-deck dock shelters, van bays for home deliveries, dock buffers and tail lift covers.

Voted the best UK-owned retailer for customer service, John Lewis has been busy future-proofing its supply chain, crucial to staying on top both on line and in store.

As well as state of the art loading bays, speedy despatch of retail orders requires the best possible storage setup. In our Storage Solutions feature we interview Matthew Palmer, MD of Palletower, who make the UK’s largest and most diverse range of storage equipment and supply some of the world’s largest customers in retail, logistics and warehousing. As Matthew explains, Palletower stocks over 100 product lines and carries more than 250,000 items in total, from roll pallets and stillages to retail trolleys and plastic box pallets.

In other storage news, 2017 marks the seventieth anniversary of the launch of the Dexion Slotted Angle, the world’s first adjustable shelving system. Now part of the Constructor Group, a key Dexion storage product today is the Hi280 small parts storage system, chosen by Volkswagen Parts, Staples retailers and small businesses alike for ease of installation and flexibility of use. Having the right warehouse trucks is also crucial to optimising storage performance. In our case study, articulated warehouse truck supplier Narrow Aisle Flexi is helping Palletline member Expect Distribution get the best output from their expanded Bradford warehouse.

Staying with forklifts, in our Power Sources feature we have news from ECOBAT, formerly Manbat, who have moved into larger premises and are rebranding their delivery fleet, and David Goss, BITA’s Technical Manager and Amit Ghosal, Chief Exec of Espex Batteries look at the case for leadacid versus lithium ion.

In our Order Picking feature, Crown Lift Trucks has extended its popular Quick-Pick Remote order picking technology to cover even more models and applications.

Conveyor Systems Ltd (CSL) has installed a new high performance picking system at long-term client NHS Scotland’s Larkhall distribution centre. Axiom GB has also innovated, with a grade A destination sorter for Cambridge Assessment, who operate and manage the University’s exam boards. The new sorter automates the sorting and processing of exam paper scripts, which used to be done manually.

Finally, the end of this month sees the PPMA Show, from September 26-28 at the NEC. As our preview article in this issue reports, major exhibitors include SICK Intralogistics, who will be sharing their vision of Industry 4.0 and explaining how sensors and systems can empower warehousing and logistics operators to be more flexible, productive and profitable. We look forward to seeing you at the Show.