It may be the time of year for gloomy mists, exacerbated by Brexit issues and a December general election, but there is nothing gloomy about logistics in our current issue so welcome and enjoy the encouraging news. It is likely that prospects look encouraging for logistics because businesses realise that the huge switch to online business demands heavy investment to keep up with customer pressures and volumes. The key pressure from customers is timely deliveries and that means no unexpected downtime. To see what equipment suppliers are doing to eliminate safety breakdowns check out our loading bay section.

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Pressures of a different kind are challenging the cold store industry, namely how to cut its environmental impact in a cost-effective way. See what the industry is doing through the latest innovations in our cold store section. Forklift motive power also has its environmental issues as users steadily switchover to electric drives, but which type of batteries to choose and what of other clean alternatives? Pointers can be found in our power sources section.

Meanwhile, check out what Robert Brand-Smith, MD of BS Handling Systems, has to say about e-commerce. This company has just completed a contract for online fashion retailer, PrettyLittleThing (PLT), whose rapid growth forced it to relocate to a new 600,000ft2 Sheffield warehouse. At the heart of the very flexible project is an automated sortation scheme “which has been tailored to our sortation needs, says Ben Hulme, head of operations at PLT. Mr Brand-Smith continues: “The last few years has seen BS Handling Systems complete some great e-commerce automation projects. We are experiencing first hand how fast e-commerce is growing and the pressure put on companies to meet customer delivery demands. Automation is now essential for-e-commerce.” The company will be launching some exciting products and services in the coming months.

Still on the exciting new products in store, PD Industrial, a Midlands-based designer, supplier and installer of storage systems, recently launched Reloskate as part of its armoury to make warehouses safer by design. Although used extensively in America for several years, PD Industrial had to develop the product and subject it to rigorous testing to make sure it complied with the UK and European pallet racking systems and supermarket gondolas, picking up a Design4Safety award along the way. Reloskate was specially designed to lift and move pallet racking structures without the need to dismantle or move sprinkler pipes. Such a device has not come too soon. It has been known for businesses to move whole sections of racking with nothing more than the derriere end of a forklift! Equally exciting is that the company is in the final stages of developing sophisticated racking inspection software to be launched in the new year. “We believe it will be an absolute game-changer so watch this space for more on this one,” says the MD, Darren Hardiman.

There is no post Brexit anxiety next year if the packaging industry is anything to go by. Packaging Innovations 2020, for which we are a media partner, is the UK’s largest packaging event with over 300 exhibitors to help source new technologies and solutions, discover the latest trends and overcome their challenges. Make a note in your diary, then, for February 26th-27th at Birmingham’s NEC.

Finally, for those of you with a busy year ahead, why not make matters a little easier by extracting our free 2020 UPN-sponsored wall planner in this issue.

James Surridge

Publishing Editor

james@warehousenews.co.uk