Welcome to the August 15 edition of Warehouse & Logistics News. While much of Britain is on holiday, our retail and e-commerce businesses are busy preparing for peak demand this autumn and beyond.
Asda’s Lymedale facility handles replenishment of the George clothing range to stores and pick, pack and despatch for online. On our cover AMH Material Handling has been helping Asda prepare for the forecast 16% increase on last year’s record throughput. AMH created extra warehouse space and supplemented it with additional carton live and hanging garment capacity. They also raised order throughput and processing speeds for George’s ecommerce operation. Asda have since appointed AMH as Lymedale’s in-house maintenance team, giving cover all year round.
Today’s innovations by big players like Asda and Amazon become tomorrow’s normal practice for smaller operators. Spending on warehouse equipment, as our Conveyors & Sortation feature points out, is a key item on UK retailers’ todo lists, according to law firm TLT’s recent survey. The poll found 46% of retailers said their logistics investment was set to grow from 9% to 12% of annual revenue over the next five years. With 53% of respondents unsure what to buy, there’s an opportunity for suppliers to advise.
In our Forklifts feature, as trucks’ performance becomes more advanced, the need increases for approved operator training. RTITB is warning forklift operators’ employers about the risks and penalties of failing to issue proper authorisation to workers. Some employers don’t even know what this authorisation is or why it’s needed, says RTITB’s MD Laura Nelson, but it‘s their responsibility, not the trainer’s. Under no circumstances should anyone operate lift trucks without authorisation, as this poses huge risks to safety and jeopardise legal compliance. Authorisation should only be granted when employers are satisfied operators have completed proper training and have a clear training record.
In our Warehouse Flooring feature the floor is where the strains of warehouse life really show, but too often it’s taken for granted until problems arise. Cracks, worn joints, floor dust and surface abrasion are all signs that attention is needed. In today’s 24/7 operations, minor flaws have a major impact: forklifts working at height will tilt if floors aren’t flat enough, while damaged joints make warehouse vehicles jolt and have to slow. With increasing adoption of robots and AGVs, the demands for precision floors are even greater. But when things go wrong, the good news is there are suppliers who can carry out floor repairs during a working shift.
Also in this issue, our increasingly hotter temperatures are good news for Cliff Cane, Westgate’s warehousing and logistics Sector Manager. In our interview he says Westgate’s Easipanel reflective roof light covers are enjoying growing demand from factories and warehouses wanting to reduce heat, glare and UV from entering via rooflights, but also maintain natural light levels.
And finally, it’s time to order salt for your yard for the winter. Salt barn makers Rubb say 2018 saw Britain’s largest ever salt stockpile, with the Local Government Association’s annual Winter Weather Survey showing many councils squeezed on storage space. Don’t be caught off guard.