At Whittan we turn empty space into working space. We have been expanding capabilities and maximising opportunities with storage for over 70 years. Home to Britain’s most trusted brands: Link51, Apex, HiStore, Polypal UK, Probe, Link Lockers, and Linbins, we have storage products and solutions for any industry, environment or requirement.

Matthew Grierson, European Sales Director at Whittan, speaks to Warehouse & Logistics News.

What are your best-known products/solutions/services?

We’re best known for our wide range of lockers, shelving and adjustable pallet racking which we manufacture and supply for a multitude of applications and specifications. Our reach is quite incredible and we serve customers across a wide variety of markets and sectors. At Whittan, we promise to make the most of your space and expand capabilities with storage. Our trusted brands include Link51 and Apex, providing design, manufacture and installation of racking and shelving products; HiStore, for mezzanine floors; market-leading display and storage solutions for retail sectors from Polypal UK and an extensive range of lockers and workplace products from Probe and Link Lockers. All our products are manufactured locally. This is important as it means that we’re never far away from installation sites and you won’t need to worry about extra delays or disruptions to your timeline. It also means that we can cut down on carbon emissions.

Which industry sectors are your customers in and which ones are growing fastest?

The warehousing and logistics sector is very prominent for us, however, we have storage solutions suitable for a broad range of sectors. These include retail, healthcare, food and drink, public sector, pharmaceutical, military and manufacturing, museums, office and archives. With adaptable products appropriate for stores and offices, to warehouses and fulfilment centres.

It’s no secret that the pandemic accelerated everybody’s online shopping habits, creating a demand for more warehousing, and therefore, more storage. This is where our expertise in e-tail and retail have excelled and we were proud to partner with the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors to help meet their increasing needs over this period.

What are your most recent product innovations?

We innovate daily. Turning empty space into working space, we are constantly expanding capabilities. We are committed to delivering the most innovative storage solutions. Our expertise enables this, having been present in the industry for 70 years.

What are the major trends and developments affecting your category and your customers, and how are you responding?

Last mile delivery services continue to challenge our customers. I spoke to an inner-city customer recently, who was seeking storage solutions for distribution hubs. In this case, we recommended our adaptable shelving systems and lockers as they are ideal for the environment and create flexible storage solutions for both goods and staff personal effects respectively.

Can you tell us about any recent customer contracts and how you helped the customer meet their challenges?

We recently completed an installation at a warehouse for British clothing retailer, Boden. We discussed various solutions to offset their warehousing space issue, including increasing the racking capacity and adding mezzanine floors.

The addition of our multi-tier storage solution not only allows Boden to store more, but it enables easy access to products to make operations more efficient. We also worked closely with Boden to make sure the structure provides for their planned future capacity. Overall, Boden was very pleased with the result and described our advice and consultative approach as invaluable.

How does business in 2021 compare to previous years? What’s your strategy for succeeding in the current climate?

From a growth standpoint, very good; however, I believe that nearly every company in our industry will relate to several challenges that the pandemic presented and will continue to do so. We remain committed to supporting our customers and have every confidence that our business systems and teams of expert staff afford us the opportunity to overcome such challenges as we have to date. We can all learn from the last eighteen months. Furthermore, manufacturing our products in UK does present advantages to our UK-based customers, who might not want to risk ordering from an overseas supplier. We are local and that cuts down on any delays in supply as well as carbon emissions.

What’s the latest news from your company?

We’ve been focusing on making it easier than ever to find your ideal storage solution. We have recently undergone a rebrand and have launched a new Whittan website, as well as a new website for Storage Direct. It’s important to us that our customers are at the heart of everything we do. So, it’s crucial that we ensure our websites are easy to use and understand, and that we make communication with our customers as accessible as possible. With live chat available on both websites, there are now a number of ways you can contact us – our experts are always on hand to help and support.

Can you tell us about any areas where you’re currently making technical advances?

The higher demand for faster response time – without any compromise on engineering accuracy – as well as the increasing market competition means that we cannot stand still.

We are currently upgrading our technical design system: a new next generation system has been conceived and named Design360. It is an integrated and extendible suite of industrial storage system design applications for Whittan products. The system will provide us with an integrated, end-to-end, access controlled, workflow-based enterprise level approach to capture customer requirements and produce engineering drawings, bill of materials and quotation.

Are you investing in staff training and skills development?

Yes, we are investing in apprenticeship programmes in several areas of our business. Whittan is an exciting place to work. I’ve no doubt that our growth, coupled with the market opportunities ahead of us, will result in opportunities across our company. I’ve been working in the industry for 10 years and there has probably never been a better time to be involved in the UK storage industry.

Are you taking part in any major trade shows? Can you tell us what you’ll be exhibiting there?

We are currently in negotiations with IMHX on showcasing Whittan’s new identity and proposition as the leading trusted UK manufacture of pallet racking, lockers and shelving.

w: www.whittan.com

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