Welcome to the February 1st Warehouse & Logistics News. In our fast moving industry, warehouse and logistics operations face mounting pressure to be productive yet stay focused on safety and minimise the risk to human operatives.

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Against this background Automated Guided Vehicles (AGV’s) are increasingly important in the food and beverage industry, and in other manufacturing and production facilities and distribution warehouses. On our front page AGV specialist SSI Schaefer has delivered a fleet of WEASEL AGVs to fashion logistics service provider NextLevel Logistik, for their hanging goods warehouse, following NextLevel previously commissioning a similar fleet for its HQ in Eltmann, near Schweinfurt. SSI Schaefer’s innovative internal fleet solution won the International Forklift of the Year (IFOY) award in the Intralogistics Solution category at CeMAT 2016.

Staying with forklifts, congratulations to BITA, who recently celebrated their 75th anniversary at the Jaguar Experience Centre in Castle Bromwich, with keynote speaker Gerry McGovern, Land Rover’s chief design officer revving up the proceedings. Don’t miss our report on page 6.

As our Forklifts feature points out, when choosing the right trucks for operations the options are wide and the decision ultimately depends on the task at hand. Versatility is key: as mentioned in the feature Hubtex’s new MaxX multi-directional sideloader looks and acts like a reach truck, lifting 4.5 tonnes.

Given the congestion on our roads and the need to reduce the environmental impact, the argument for moving palletised freight via pallet networks is compelling. In our Pallet Networks feature UPN continues to innovate with a range of pallet delivery options from the 150kg Micro pallet to the new 2.2 metre high Full pallet. UPN has evolved over more than a decade and its services are underpinned by advanced IT systems. UPN’s stated strategy is to provide “First Class Travel for Palletised Freight” and it is looking to establish itself as the pallet network with the highest “IQ.” UPN’s latest development is SmartDOC, a web-based IT support system boosting UPN’s operational and admin efficiencies.

As our Warehouse Floors feature reminds us, achieving maximum performance in the warehouse starts at ground level and below. Warehouse floors need to be ultra flat so racking is straight and true at high level and forklifts can move around unimpeded. Keeping floors in tip top condition is good business for suppliers such as Geobear, formerly Uretek, with their expanding foam injection techniques and Level Best Concrete Flooring, with their Ligchine remote-controlled, laser screed concrete levelling machines.

And finally, here’s a date for your diary. Online registration has opened for Multimodal 2018, at the NEC Birmingham from 1-3 May. Book your visit now!