Welcome to the October 1st edition of Warehouse & Logistics News. As we went to press the news from IMHX 2019 is that BITA and FLTA are exploring a potential merger, as reported on this page. The other major development is that IMHX will now be two-yearly, the next one being September 14-16 2021. We’ll have more reports from IMHX 2019 in our next issue.

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Warehouses may be changing but order picking is still a core task – and a cost-intensive one, due to the high proportion of manual activities. On our cover, Linde is expanding its range of low-level order pickers to offer what it calls the most comprehensive portfolio in the industry. There are eight new Linde N20 C low-level order picker models, ensuring comfortable, safe and crucially, cost-optimized order picking.

Alpha Fulfilment in Rossendale, Lancashire, is a success story born out of the e commerce boom. In our interview Steven Smith, Group MD of Alpha’s parent company Bacup Shoe Holding Company, explains that when Bacup, who have three online consumer brands under one roof, were faced with spare capacity, they decided to open their premises to third-party storage, order-fulfilment and remedial services and Alpha Fulfilment was born, serving Bacup’s online businesses and external customers.

With Black Friday and Christmas around the corner, now’s time to check your warehouse doors and curtains are in shape, to minimise down time. The major equipment suppliers are also actively involved in servicing: Dock Solutions offer Planned Maintenance Service Agreements with a 90% First Time Fix rate, while Hörmann offer 24-hour support.

75 years after forklifts revolutionised the movement of goods, today’s top of the range trucks are high-performing, smart, sophisticated machines, and the stream of innovation continues, as reported in our Fork Truck News feature. STILL recently flew our Commercial Director Rob Hollows to Hamburg for the unveiling of the latest development in the bestselling RX 60-25/35 series of counterbalance trucks, aimed at food and drink companies, manufacturing and logistics operations.

In our Lifting Gear & Cranes feature, warehouse working conditions have improved considerably in recent years, with technical advances delivering safer moving of loads and aerial platforms and scissor lifts transforming working at height. However repeated strain from manual lifting and handling of heavy items remains one of the commonest causes of warehouse injuries, making a strong case for investing in lifting gear.

And finally, in this issue, we also have our SEMA Safety Conference 2019 Supplement. As this year’s Conference takes place on Halloween, October 31st, in the speaker programme the speeches have appropriately spooky titles, such as the need to avoid a ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’ in the warehouse, but the message is very serious, about the need to focus on safety. Take good care.

James Surridge

Publishing Editor

james@warehousenews.co.uk