Welcome to the February 15th issue of Warehouse & Logistics News. Once the term ‘efficiency expert’ conjured visions of figures in white coats spending their days timing how long jobs took. Now everyone in business is an efficiency expert, particularly about energy. This is of course the year the 2011 Energy Act comes into force, making energy efficiency a key issue for anyone dealing with industrial buildings.


Forklift trucks are key to warehouse efficiency. My colleague Rob Hollows went to Hamburg recently for the launch of Still’s redesigned bestselling electric forklift range, the RX20, with significant improvements in compactness, ergonomics, performance and precision. Read our article on page 18. There are plenty of other heartening reports in this issue about industry problems being solved. We have news about CHEP’s partnership with the European Federation of Food Banks, which is helping alleviate hunger and reduce food waste and Antalis Packaging pointing to reducing excess packaging being the first step to going plastic-free.

Being an efficiency expert in the industrial doors sector includes knowing how to reduce heat losses and boost productivity in warehouses and distribution centres, particularly in winter. As energy costs climbed over the last 20 years, warehouses have been using automatic high-speed doors and PVC shutters as secondary doors to protect loading bays from the weather. In our front page lead story sara LBS, the loading bay specialist has introduced a new automatic high-speed door, the Sprint Spiral, which works even more effectively than a PVC curtain, and is made of aluminium panels backed with an expanded foam insulating layer.

There’s more efficiency advice from sara LBS in our Loading Bay feature, including strategies to help main contractors maintain smooth installations. As mentioned earlier the 2011 Energy Act comes into force this year, making energy a key issue in loading bay investments. As our loading bay feature points out, suppliers of this equipment should offer free energy audits on existing premises and advise payback times on new kit, based on energy savings.

In our Order Picking feature we have evidence of impressive efficiencies being achieved in our customer case studies from BITO Storage Systems’ project for Proper Music Distribution, Britain’s biggest independent record distributor and Knapp, delivering the first OSR Shuttle Evo system to Kramp, the German industrial spare parts supplier. Some forklift batteries are more efficient than others. In our Power Sources feature EnerSys’ superior cell capacity allows Gaer Business, logistics partner to Swiss house appliances retailer Expert, to unload lorries at its Italian warehouse with the smallest counterbalance trucks, to keep aisles narrow and allow more racking.

And finally as reported in this issue, Renovotec, the UK’s fastest growing independent rugged hardware is launching a rental scheme that supports a move to Android, the mobile phones operating system which is now a powerful force in the B2B space. It’s hard to believe the Windows mobile enterprise products we’ve come to rely on will soon reach the end of their life.