Ever-increasing pressures on businesses to work faster and achieve more with fewer resources are transforming the physical storage aspects of manufacturing and e-commerce operations, with last-minute replenishment and minimum stockholding becoming standard practice. Choosing compatible supplier partners to advise on the right storage solutions is vital, particularly for fast growing businesses who need to gear up quickly but don’t have the expertise inhouse to draw up their spec.

One such potential partner, United Storage Systems design and install storage solutions for many of today’s leading retailers and national chains and are trusted by the UK’s top corporate companies, to deliver everything from warehouse storage and industrial racking to mezzanine solutions, a popular way to make use of unused overhead space.

Another requirement is for storage containers and the racking and shelving to store them. BITO’s full range includes palletised containers for forklifts, racks for small parts storage, distribution containers, stacking containers, picking shelves, boltless shelving and heavy-duty shelving. BITO claim to stock the UK’s widest range of storage and handling products, many of which they make themselves, another benefit in guaranteeing quality.

Visionary materials handling equipment partners are essential to implement and operate largescale storage solutions, especially when the goods stored are on pallets. The multi temperature supply chain operator Oakland International, who specialise in food distribution and logistics, recently announced a long-term contract with Jungheinrich, the material handling and intralogistics solutions expert. Details are yet to be revealed, but Oakland say the partnership will support the growth at Oakland’s Corby site from 6,000 pallets to 15,000 pallet capability.

If you need more space but you can’t extend your warehouse or move, temporary buildings are another option. Kloeckner Metals called in Aganto in June 2018 to supply a suitable storage structure at their Exeter site to hold marine steel plates for ship building and repair. At the time, Kloeckner could only hold relatively low volumes of these plates on site due to lack of suitable storage, but were aware that increasing the stockholding would help accelerate their order response to next day delivery while helping to reduce overheads. Aganto’s solution was three 10-metre-long retractable tunnels, linked end to end. In another installation Aganto helped car seat manufacturer Britax gain over 10,000 sq ft of on-site warehousing with a 65 metres long temporary building.

Finally, smart storage lockers are the most temporary storage solutions of all, used as required to store small items for a limited period. Service organisations need to keep their field service engineers supplied with spare parts, hence the growth over the years of smart storage lockers spanning the country, in petrol forecourts and other roadside locations. Among the leading service providers, BT’s UK network of Final Mile intelligent lockers mean service organisations can promise their engineers they’ll be closer to the parts they need, supported by BT’s distribution services so vital parts arrive from suppliers where and when needed.

CHARLES SMITH

Feature Writer