Welcome to the October 1st edition of Warehouse & Logistics News. As we move into the final quarter and the lead in to Christmas, this is a busy time for everyone involved in supply chains, especially in retail. We have plenty of articles and case studies to help you prepare for December and improve business efficiency.

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With Black Friday now less than three months away, on our front page Louise Nurse, Sales and Marketing Manager at sara LBS looks at the practicalities of helping retailers and suppliers cope with seasonal pressures in the warehouse. The pre- Christmas upsurge in activity usually coincides with the weather deteriorating, and both goods and workers need protecting. This means installing equipment to make handling operations easier and bringing vehicle loading and unloading under cover. These enhancements are costly but they go a long way to easing the strain of the Christmas rush and the benefits apply all year round.

Looking ahead, as our Doors & Curtains feature reminds us, by 2020 industrial doors and curtains must meet the new building regulations’ requirements for energy efficiency. That leaves just over a year to ensure warehouse fittings measure up. With Britain’s warehouses getting bigger and busier, there’s also a growing need for barriers and gate solutions to protect doors and curtains from accidental damage by forklift trucks.

Speaking of materials handling mishaps, in our Fork Truck feature Linde, the forklift supplier reports that the number of such incidents in Germany alone during 2016 reached 12,671, with the cost estimated at Euro 85,000 per time. And that’s not including losses from business interruption or legal consequences. The figures also show that 4% of the notifiable accidents with forklifts involved pedestrians being hit. In recent years forklifts have used radar scanning to address the problem, but on this showing the problem hasn’t gone away by any means, highlighting the need for thorough forklift driver training.

Operator training is also essential to get the best and safest results from Lifting Gear & Cranes, which we cover in our final feature. With so many variations in the types of lifting machinery available, operators trained on one sort of kit aren’t necessarily qualified to use others, making conversion training vital, along with adequate personal protection.

Finally, as the universities start the new academic year, the retail supply chain specialist Clipper Logistics is doing its bit to help nurture the next generation of logistics leaders.

In a groundbreaking partnership with Sheffield Hallam, a group of apprentices are studying for a Chartered Management Degree while working in Clipper’s logistics network and interacting with key customers, including major retailers. The growth of online shopping is placing increasing demands on the industry to deliver quickly and efficiently to ever-demanding customers, and the sector needs to respond by developing innovative and forward-thinking leaders. We wish Clipper’s apprentices well.