Welcome to the 1 November Warehouse & Logistics News. As this column went to press the UK’s first nationwide post strike in two years was under way. Mail centre staff and drivers across Britain were beginning a 24-hour strike, part of a dispute about pay, changing work methods and working conditions. More such disruptions were promised in coming days. As Prime Minister Gordon Brown put it, the strike will be self-defeating for the union, if all it achieves is less people using Royal Mail. But with companies including John Lewis and Amazon using alternative home delivery services during the dispute, it means more work for the rest of the parcel industry, which they won’t be turning down.
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Our special features in this issue are on fork lift trucks and lifting gear and cranes, two markets typical of the state of much of the economy – threats for some, opportunities for others. In the fork lift market, the recession has added to the suppliers’ previous problems, but has also brought some positives. Just how tough things have got for suppliers can be gauged by tales of a number of major manufacturers sitting on huge amounts of trucks, which they are reputedly having to sell below cost. However true such reports might or might not be, this climate should certainly encourage truck suppliers to work towards more meaningful, longer-term relationships with customers.
We’ve heard for some time about over-supply causing gluts. It’s a problem in many industrial markets, not just fork lifts. What’s new in this area is another threat to fork lift manufacturers and dealers alike: the quality of the low cost trucks heading here from China and elsewhere is said to have improved dramatically in the last few years. That will make things even more competitive for everyone involved in selling ‘normal price’ fork lifts, but it’s got to be good news for anyone thinking of buying or renting.
As mentioned in our second feature, on lifting gear, legislation is forcing people to think more about the safety aspects of working at height. One development is that cherry pickers or scissor lifts are increasingly preferred to ladders. If you need lifting gear in your business, one way to ensure you use kit that complies with the law is to hire or lease it. The big benefit is, the hire company is ultimately responsible for how the equipment is used and maintained, which takes the burden off the hirer.
Have a successful month.
Warehouse & Logistics News