Following the growth of online retail and the pressures of sameday or next-day delivery, demand for warehouse space has nearly doubled over the last decade. A survey by property research firm CBRE reveals over 235 million sq ft of warehouse space – equivalent to more than three thousand Wembley Stadiums – was either purchased or leased in the UK between 2007 and March 2018.

With warehouse space at a premium, businesses are increasingly looking at how to get better performances out of their current premises. Upgrading the loading bay is one option, but you need to work with supplier partners you can rely on.

One of the leading companies in this category, Hörmann UK’s Projects team have had a flying start to 2019. January was their most successful month ever, building on the team’s achievements in 2018, the company’s strongest year to date.

Hörmann have a longstanding relationship with industrial developer Panattoni, and offer everything from high speed doors to CE-compliant loading houses.

As spring arrives and the days get warmer, smart warehouse operators are thinking about what do between now and the autumn to improve heat loss in the loading bay, potentially a high cost factor for these operations. Loading bay doors vary widely in thermal performance: EFAFLEX are an example of a supplier whose doors have a higher initial cost compared to standard equipment, but subsequently deliver greater energy savings.

Another key factor in choosing a loading bay supplier is their capability to meet a tight schedule. sara LBS recently supplied all the loading bay equipment for the Co-op’s new £6m Dalcross Distribution Centre at Inverness Airport Business Park. The construction timetable was demanding, so sara’s commitment to being flexible and fitting in with last minute changes was critical to the project’s success. The Dalcross Distribution Centre is the latest addition to Sara’s portfolio of successful projects around Scotland.

The state of the art Dalcross facility is part of a sustained process of expansion and renewal for the Co-op’s convenience retail network throughout Northern Scotland. The Co-op is implementing a £200m programme of development, opening about 400 new stores in the last four years and refurbishing and expanding existing sites.

Each loading bay at Dalcross accommodates double decker vehicles, which saves 1,800 road miles per day compared to single deckers and helps reduce CO2 and other emissions. They also help contain shipping costs and keep consumer prices low and the Coop competitive. The new loading bays also facilitate night time working, withstand winter weather and maintain hygiene and biosecurity.

Finally, Stertil are well known for their loading bay scissor lifts, but are also focused on providing value-added innovative product solutions to customers in the vehicle lifting industry. Stertil have reached a settlement agreement with the Vehicle Service Group, which will provide Vehicle Service Group with the global licence for a scissor lift patent for vehicle service equipment. This area of Stertil’s operations is likely to grow as largescale automotive manufacturing and maintenance operations incorporate intralogistics systems.

CHARLES SMITH

Feature Writer