Welcome to the October 15th Warehouse & Logistics News. Among the speakers at IMHX the consensus was that Ecommerce has transformed logistics and is probably the single biggest factor driving the industry. As established in the Voiteq-sponsored conference session, single order picking is key, time is of the essence, automation is driving businesses to new devices and robotics costs are falling, adding up to an exciting business to be in.

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The logistics industry will be hit by the skills shortage over the next five years, making it hard to recruit skilled warehouse workers. However, the good news is that technology is here to help meet the challenge. In the Voiteq-hosted session UKWA’s Peter Ward said automation and robotics aren’t just for big players: in his words, small to medium players, which includes eighty percent of UKWA members, need to get on the case.

Another priority is making the most of warehouse data, not just to analyse past performance but manage better day to day and plan for the future. In our Warehouse IT feature, until recently the focus was on processing goods fast, with devices in the forefront. Now we’re told ‘data is oil’ and the emphasis is on drilling data out quickly, assisted by AI and shared on the cloud and Android platforms.

The lights will stay on in our docks after Brexit, if Luxonic have anything to do with it. In our Warehouse Lighting feature, Associated British Ports’ Port of Hull Terminal needed a lighting system to meet the energy demands of a 24-hour port with little downtime. Luxonic introduced new reduced load LED high bay luminaires, combined with a wireless control system to target areas not in use. ABP is now rolling the system out across its other UK ports, having saved 96 per cent on energy costs thanks to Luxonic.

There’s more industry confidence in our Pallet Networks feature. UPN‘s Central Hub operation is moving in the spring to more modern, larger facilities close to its current base in Fradley Park, confirming UPN’s commitment to growth over the next decade and beyond. Prior to the move UPN is investing over £2 million in developing the new facility.

And finally, don’t let your Wi fi let you down in the run up to Christmas. Tell-tale symptoms of poor warehouse Wi fi include dead spots and dropouts from handhelds and devices, both of which can be critical issues, resulting in lost productivity and, in worse cases, ceasing business output completely. On our cover Performance Networks has launched a national Wi fi health check campaign for the logistics sector to bolster productivity ahead of the peak season. It’s the nearest thing your warehouse will get to a digital flu jab this winter.

James Surridge

Publishing Editor

james@warehousenews.co.uk