Welcome to the November 1 W&LN. Tradition has it the ancient Celtic New Year Festival of Samhain falls on this day. The details of what went on back then are lost in the mists of time, but the reality is, brutal sacrifices are still being made in these isles in 2008, in the attempt to secure a better future. Today it’s in the name of business, as companies struggle for survival. We’ve two features in this issue, Buildings & Facilities and Warehouse Signage, which we’re sure you’ll find useful in helping you weather today’s stormy climate. When you’re tightening up your warehousing overheads your biggest opportunity could be literally over your head, the building itself. Using temporary buildings instead of new ones makes increasingly good sense. Smart Space has reportedly helped a client save over £750,000 with a temporary solution for expanding a distribution centre.
Investing in warehouse signage can feel like sticking pound notes on the wall. These days signage is another area of cost where people look for reductions. Yet clear signage remains crucial for safe working, In busy warehouses, pedestrians run the risk of being hit by forklift trucks working at speed. The consequences for the victims are potentially fatal, with heavy penalties for the company.
Recessions alter the balance in vertical markets: in retail for instance, discounters do well, so in these times they will be the ones spending more on such areas of infrastructure as automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS). That’s the message from our first interviewee, Brian Skelham, Senior Business Development Manager in the UK operation of ASRS specialists Diamond Phoenix. Many readers will know Brian as a seminar speaker at warehousing and logistics exhibitions. Brian believes we won’t feel the full effects of the present economic situation in this market until next year or later. Meanwhile he says Diamond Phoenix has not yet seen any signs of budget cutting or spec lowering, which is encouraging.
We have a second, equally encouraging interview, with the industrial truck manufacturer Jungheinrich UK. Jungheinrich has just finished what UK MD Hans-Herbert Schultz, MD, calls “a very encouraging year” in terms of profits, truck volume sales and increasing demand for its integrated material handling solutions. Jungheinrich UK’s turnover increased 18% in 2007 to over £130 million, including 25% sales growth to small and medium users. Volume sales of forklift trucks increased in line with turnover. Happy reading, and have a successful month!