Improving efficiency and reducing costs – it puts a smile on our faces and it’s something that every warehouse manager wants to achieve. The best part, it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
Whilst you may attempt to reduce costs by using second hand pallet racking, logistical and safety issues can arise from this. If an employee is injured, not only will you lose the savings you made by buying second-hand racking, but if your employee requires time off, that’s your efficiency gone too.
On the other hand, sure, automated robots can run 24-hours a day, but they are going to cost big. Additionally, without the right balance of human workers to ensure the robots are working efficiently, it’s Terminator waiting to happen, right?
In this post, we’ll run through a few ways you can reduce costs and improve the efficiency of your warehouse.
One weak link in your chain and the whole process suffers. Analyse your process to find room for efficiencies, are you making the most of your space? Is your warehouse using the best drop off and loading process? Do you have enough storage for surplus products – maybe you have an excess or storage space?
Rather than just looking at it from a management point of view, talk to your employees and team leaders to find out where they think room for efficiency lies in their relevant roles and departments.
Nothing is as inefficient and costlier than an unsafe warehouse. In 2015/6, there were 4.5 million working days lost due to workplace injury, around 20% of these were manual handling related injuries and 19% from slips and trips – we understand that some injuries are unpreventable, but there are several things you can do to keep these numbers down.
Here’s a couple of our top tips for keeping your warehouse an injury free-zone
The layout of the warehouse is one of the most important factors in keeping it efficient and ensuring that your warehouses’ layout maximises productivity ensuring more work gets done.
If you’re certain your layout is optimal and think you’ve reached the maximum space in your warehouse, look up! Rather than spend on costly expansions to your warehouse, make better use of your vertical space.
There are several products designed to make the most of existing space, for example, narrow aisle pallet racking systems and multi-tier mezzanine floors that allow up to 3 floors - effectively trebling your workspace.
New technologies are constantly being developed to increase efficiency in the warehouse, ensuring you stay on the lookout for advancements in these new methods keeps you competitive and gives you the opportunity to be at the forefront of warehouse efficiency.
This doesn’t mean replacing your entire workforce with automated machines, but incorporating this technology into your existing workforce to do tasks that can be competently and more efficiently done by automated technology, these could include, picking, storage configuration and packaging.
The key to a truly efficient warehouse is a happy one and job satisfaction has a direct correlation with motivation and output of work. Here are a few ideas for keeping your employees happy in the warehouse:
So there you have it, increasing your warehouse efficiency doesn’t necessarily mean increasing your costs. If you need a hand getting your warehouse up to scratch, we can help. Whether it’s inspections, new systems to maximise your space or information on how to keep your workers safe; give us a call on 01179 555 211.
Wait, what? And no this isn’t a ploy to get you to purchase brand new pallet racking from us. We’ve seen an influx of companies offering ‘pallet racking repairs’ for serious damage, with warehouse managers opting for this cheaper option and putting their workforce and inventory at risk.
Of course in some cases these remedial repairs will suffice in making racking safe once more, but there are numerous scenarios whereby a replacement is the only real option.
Find out more about the dangers of having your pallet racking repaired as opposed to replacing it, as well as how you can extend the life of yours.
In some cases, such as scuffs, chips, other cosmetic faults or in a situation where the lower-tier of the racking has only seen minor damage, a repair can be the most appropriate solution. However, you should always consult an expert before deciding which route to go down.
Scenarios where a replacement is essential include:
Trying to repair these serious issues by yourself is a bad idea and poorly repaired racking can lead to injuries, inventory loss and work stoppages – costing you a lot more than replacement racking.
In an ideal world, warehouse managers would keep their pallet racking well maintained and avoid having to pay for repairs or replacements. There are a number of steps you should take to ensure you get the most out of your racking:
Protect them from bumps – Pallet racking may take the occasional bump from a forklift or other vehicle in the warehouse. You can implement racking protection at a low cost to take the brunt of these hits. Additionally, introducing flooring tape to cordon off the racking will discourage workers from driving too close to the racking.
Don’t overload – This may sound obvious, but often warehouse managers and employees will ignore the deflecting / bending of the racking’s beams until it’s too late.
Avoid DIY – By carrying out DIY on your racking, your putting yourself and your employees at risk. If you notice an issue with your racking, have it inspected by a professional who will recommend the best course of action for you whether that be a repair or replacement.
Train your staff – Providing your staff with rack safety awareness training makes them more conscious of the issues that can arise from poorly maintained racking, as well as training them on how to prevent damage to the racking and why it’s so important to report any damage they cause or notice.
Plan for growth – If you are experiencing a period of growth, be sure you properly prepare for it. Implement additional racking systems where necessary to avoid putting your existing racking under a workload it cannot handle.
Inspect regularly – Regular pallet racking inspections mean you can catch damage early, this might mean for a quick and easy remedial repair as opposed to a replacement down the line.
Pre-used pallet racking often comes at a very desirable price tag, and may even look the part. But often you will find the problems hidden by a lick of paint will cost you more in replacements down the line. At a glance, some of the most common problems with second-hand racking include:
In addition to these common problems, second-hand pallet racking will rarely come with a guarantee. Check out our blog post on second hand racking for our full analysis on the dangers of compromising on quality to save money.
Ensuring regular inspection of your pallet racking is a legal requirement, and can ensure flags any deterioration is flagged up early so you can revoke the problem before it becomes a serious issue – eliminating the need for replacements.
As a SEMA Distributor Company, we are able to carry out comprehensive reports on all makes of pallet racking and shelving systems. Give us a call today on 0117 955 5211 to book yours.
Did you ever see Westworld? The 1973, sci-fi set in your not so typical amusement park where the rich get to live out their fantasies though artificial consciousness. You know, the one where in the end the robotic “hosts” malfunction and take over the park spreading chaos and fear.
It is clear that the fear of robotics integrating into everyday life is nothing new; something science fiction authors have predicted for years. Although not quite as dramatic, the real fear is that they aren’t, in fact, coming for you, but for your jobs.
But in actual fact, it is likely that advancements in technology and automating jobs within the workplace can benefit businesses and employees alike. But how, we hear you say. Find out below:
Some may say that implementing robotics in warehouse operations is nothing new, after all “dumb robots” have been used for some time now for performing repetitive tasks.
However, many are converting to improved automation in an attempt to stay competitive or to gain an edge over competition. As such we are seeing – from businesses at least – a widespread acceptance and presence of robots in warehouses and logistics operations. In fact, Tech Republic suggests that chain operations will go from 40,000 units (2016) to a projected 620,000 by 2021.
It seems that increasingly companies are coming to the conclusion that “hybrid” scenarios make a lot of sense whereby workers effectively manage, programme, and maintain robots across the warehouse in order to improve both productivity and performance.
In effect, a factory or warehouse that saves money on labour through automation will lower prices which make its products more appealing and creates an increased demand that may lead to the need for more workers. In turn, a greater profit will enable the pay of higher wages.
If you’re still not convinced just take a look at those who are already doing it;
Over the last three years, Amazon has increased the number of robots working in its warehouses from 1,400 to 45,000. Over the same period, the rate at which it hires workers hasn’t changed.
Some have suggested that robots help Amazon keep prices low which means that the company needs more people to man its warehouses even though it requires fewer human hours of labour.
A Massachusetts-based start-up developed a new multi-robot fulfilment system at the facility of its development partner, Quiet Logistics. The robots and warehouse associates work together in a manner designed to reduce travel time and increase productivity.
Associates scan items and place them into totes that are transported by the robots. They autonomously navigate through the warehouse infrastructure along with others in the fleet.
In its Hampshire distribution centre, traffic management systems are in place to help with every day activity. Instead of all the conveyors, cranes, and big machines they instead have swarms of robots collaborating with one another to collect customer groceries and bring them to the point where they’re picked.
It is clear that technology is radically changing the way in which we can expect to work. Whether you’re adopting full automation or indeed pallet racking, mezzanine floors, or workbenches, make sure you get in touch with the team.
Give us a call on 0117 955 5211 for more information.
Many pre-used items come at a very persuading price. Second-hand bicycle? Bargain. Second-hand chest of draws? Bargain. Second-hand pallet racking? NO.
Safety is paramount when it comes to purchasing pallet racking and that is exactly the one thing that can not be guaranteed from a second-hand seller. You never know what’s being covered with a lick of paint or being hidden from the sale.
Avoid costly mistakes when purchasing pallet racking and if you’re going to do it, invest some money into getting an expert to check it out with you. Or alternatively, check out the reasons why we think you should be avoiding this:
1. Deflected Beams, Broken Planks
Naturally, over time your beams and planks will slightly deflect due to the continuous movement of stock being imported and exported. Although this is to be expected, it can become highly dangerous once it reaches a certain limit.
When buying second hand, this is something to be aware of. Although the seller may be selling racking that has a deflect within the SEMA standards, it will not take long after purchase for it to become hazardous – particularly without having the knowledge of what was actually stored on there previously.
Buying new will not only take away the worry of or when the beams will go, but also save money in the long run.
2. Poor welding
Another thing to keep a strong eye out for is poorly welded together beams. If this has been done, there is a strong risk of the whole structure collapsing which is not only going to put you out of pocket, but will leave you without racking causing disruption throughout the business.
3. Bent diagonals
Bent diagonals can be a red light sign of a mis-used racking system or a genuinely faulty structure. This, of course, means your bargain pallet racking is not going to live a long life. Avoid falling into this trap by buying new. Not only are you going to have a brand new, stronger structure, but you can relax knowing that you not only have genuine pallet racking, but a warranty that covers it too.
4. Rusted components
Buying second-hand pallet racking is buying from the unknown and/or hidden. Although most purchasers will know to look for the obvious signs of rust and corrosion, you can’t always tell what’s hidden under a lick of paint.
It is important that your pallet racking is not weakened by rust as the frames will not be able to hold even the allocated weight allowance.
There is no way of telling where the pallet racking has been kept or how it has been treated. Make sure you’re thinking smart about cover ups if you’re buying second hand.
5. Money Bin
The majority of the time, second-hand items will not come with a warranty which means if something goes wrong, it’s coming out of your pocket.
You need to think hard about if it’s worth spending more money on fixes than it’s worth. It doesn’t take long to get stuck in the trap of constantly paying out for repairs, so why not make a secure investment in some new racking? Not only will you be saving money in the long run, but also time and efficiency.
6. Replacement Parts
When buying second-hand pallet racking, it is more difficult to figure out what has been replaced, fixed, painted over or even if those replacement parts are genuine.
If the brand is well known, there is more of a chance that the replacement parts are genuine. However, this does not mean it is for definite. You wouldn’t buy a Ford car with a Vauxhall engine, so don’t make the same mistake with your pallet racking.
7. Get a professional inspector
If second-hand pallet racking is still the route you want to take, make an investment in precautions. Understand that you don’t know how often the pallet racking has been checked, toyed with or endured DIY jobs.
By taking a professional inspector with you to check it out, you can be secure that all the obvious signs of faultiness have been checked over.
General maintenance on racking systems is healthy, however if it becomes a regular occurrence it can quickly become dangerous. Regular inspections are a legal requirement under UK law to be taken annually. Bristol Storage are SEMA approved which means all of our equipment is tested and in date before being sold.
We understand that without a durable and safe product in use, both safety measures and quality is compromised.
Whether you’re looking for some new pallet racking for yourselves or looking for advice, make sure you are going to the correct places.
With over 50 years of experience with pallet racking, we are here to help you in any way we can. If you need helping finding what’s best for your warehouse or want to find some racking that you can rely on, give us a call on 0117 955 5211 to speak to a member of our team.
If you’re looking to improve the organisation and efficiency or your work environment but struggle with space, it might be time you considered Mezzanine Flooring.
Whilst a fantastic solution for a wide range of commercial, industrial, and retail premises there are a number of regulation and health and safety practices both employers and employees should be aware of.
We’ve discussed these below, so read on for more information or contact our specialist team for your mezzanine flooring.
A little cramped for space? Struggle to find inventory and stock at the snap of a finger? If so, its time you invested some thought into reorganising your warehouse or other commercial property.
Think of it like this; would you really expect an office employee to work productively and efficiently if their desk was piled high with papers, accessories, and folders? No.
Equally, you and your employees can’t run efficiently if the organisation and planning behind the scenes isn’t optimised to allow staff to do so. Quality mezzanine floors can benefit you in a number of ways including:
According to the Health and Safety Executive falls from height contribute as a significant cause of injury. Whether risks from low height or the more obvious risk of falling from a distance, mezzanine flooring is a common area of concern.
As such, employers should take this seriously and assess their workplace, workforce, and the procedures in place. Employees have general legal duties to take reasonable care of themselves and others but it is ultimately down to you as the employer to ensure everyone complies with Health and Safety duties which generally include:
The team at Bristol Storage have more than 40 years of experience in the industry with a specialist team who can supply, fit, and design mezzanine flooring for your premises.
So, whether you’re looking for extra-storage, mezzanine floors for offices, or multi-tier mezzanine flooring we can help.
Interested? Give us a call on 0117 955 5211 for more information on how to maximise space for your business.
Client: Contract Flooring Solutions Ltd
Based in Bromsgrove, Contract Flooring Solutions Ltd are a nationwide flooring supplier and installer, dedicated to providing complete flooring solutions to UK House Builders and Housing Associations.
Due to the expansion of Contract Flooring Solutions Ltd to a new purpose built warehouse in Bromsgrove, Bristol Storage Equipment were invited to quote for the supply and installation of a new carpet racking system.
Bristol Storage impressed the client enough to win the contract thanks to competitive pricing, personable service and a wealth of experience and knowledge.
Supplying heavy duty carpet racking designed at 9000mm High and up to 5000mm deep, this heavy duty system was capable of storing loads of over 3000Kgs per level. Using the highest quality storage equipment and specialist decking manufactured specifically for use with carpet racks, a total of 8 carpet racks were installed with a total of 46 bays each containing 11 storage levels – that’s a lot of carpet!
The client had suffered with rack damage on their old racking system, therefore rack protection was installed and steel buffer rail was laid down in order to protect the bottom beam level from fork lift truck damage.
Heavy Duty Walkway Barrier was also installed around the new office area.
The project was installed in line with strict timescales and Bristol storage worked closely with Contract flooring to create an installation schedule that would suit both parties. It was agreed that racks would be handed over in phases to enable Contract Flooring Solutions to vacate the existing warehouse and move carpet over to the new site as the new carpet racks became available.
Bristol Storage were also on hand to strip down the existing racking from old site, and rebuild it as required at the new site.
Warehouse automation is one of the biggest challenges facing our business world today.
Whether commercially run, operated by government, charities or NGO’s, storage and distribution centres across the world all have the same goal in mind. That is to run fast, efficient, high quality processes safely and cost effectively in order to increase output, profit, and end user experience.
Although warehouse automation is nothing new it is certainly something that you should be utilising if you’re not already. Read on and discover how you can find out exactly how you could benefit.
Unprecedented advances in technology have become a game-changer for businesses that want to become market leaders and industry competitive. Why has this happened? Four reasons really; better communications, information sharing, greater collaboration, and the merging of great minds.
The adoption of automating technologies that led to mass production in factories was first led by American businessman Henry Ford in 1909. Through a combination of technological knowhow, innovative ideas, and working practices, as well as respect for co-workers, colleagues, and customers, the Ford car company grew from a small local company into one of the largest industrial companies world-wide.
Not only did Ford set the bar high for fast, efficient, highly profitable processes, he also campaigned for fair wages and work conditions for his workforce, understanding that improved standards of living were essential to effective production.
In recent years we have seen a shift with warehouse services merging. In a bid to achieve improved efficiency from picking and packing through to distribution, warehouse managers are increasingly turning to automation.
In fact, there are a wide range of automation tools out there to choose from, from direct order placement at the press of a button to collection and delivery by autonomous transport systems. It is also seen that automation is releasing human beings from tedious and repetitive tasks which Ford recognised as necessary over a century ago.
Whether adopting semi or fully automating processes, there are a host of household names that have reaped the rewards from their commitment to tech, robotics, and logistics. Find out more below and take a look at some of the top 10 automated warehouses
However, many jobs are becoming redundant and experts are suggesting the introduction of a “robot tax” to ease the transition of employees to new areas of employment and roles in the community.
On a smaller scale there are a few main trends afoot to help streamline future warehousing processes which will likely include:
Many visionaries say the opportunity for growth is only limited by our own imagination.
The starting point is to know your values, your resources, and your limitations. Knowing your organisation requirements is essential to realistically determine the size of investment required and the number of implementable changes possible to calculate the potential returns on that initial investment.
What’s clear is that technology, consumer demand, and competition is radically changing and you’ve got to embrace the changes to compete in a rapidly changing market.
If you’re looking to improve your warehouse processes - whether you’re adopting full automation or indeed pallet racking, partitioning, or workbenches - get in touch with the team. Give us a call on 0117 955 5211 for more information.
As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees are protected from harm or injury caused by manual handling tasks in
With many reporting musculoskeletal disorders, these types of injuries can cause lasting damage which will not only affect your employee’s long-te
rm health and ability to work, but potentially your business too.
It is therefore vital to have a thorough understanding of the risk factors that increase the likelihood of such injury.
Manual handling is any transporting or supporting of a load by one or more workers. It includes activities such as lifting, holding, putting down, pushing, pulling, carrying, or moving a load. These loads can be animate (people or animals) or inanimate (boxes, tools).
Occurring in almost all working environments there are a number of health effects. In fact, according to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in 2015/2016, there were 30.4 million working days lost to work-related illness and workplace injury. More specifically we saw 621,000 injuries occur at work with an estimated £14.1 billion cost of injuries and ill health from current working conditions.
With more than a third of all reported workplace injuries associated with manual handling, it is important you ensure you comply with the correct requirements.
The Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992 require employers to:
As required by law these apply in all situations including lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling, and carrying in environments from construction and warehousing to banks and offices.
The negative health effects of manual handling can be prevented by eliminating the risk factors involved for your employees. Adequate manual handling training will allow staff to assess situations and carry out day to day tasks safely and thus adhere to relevant health and safety guidelines.
• Elimination – If necessary, the workplace can be reorganised in such a way that manual handling can be avoided entirely or restricted considerably. Using powered or mechanical handling equipment such as forklift trucks can help you achieve this.
• Organise Inventory – Avoid lifting heavier objects from the floor or very low shelving as you are more likely to risk injury. It is advisable that you store heavier items in the middle as it is both easier and safer to grip and lift from waist height.
• Is There a Better Way? – Ask yourself whether the task at hand is difficult. If so, it is likely to present a higher risk of harm to an employee. Therefore it is time to look for a better way to complete said task.
It is important that every member of staff is given the correct training to ensure the elimination of injury. The approved manual handling lifting techniques should be used on a daily basis to help keep your employees safe and balanced.
Pushing and Pulling
Including the pushing and pulling of devices such as trolleys and barrows, it is important that you:
Whether you need a bit of advice regarding your warehouse operations, or are in need of updating your pallet racking systems, give our team a call on 0117 955 5211.
Alternatively, why not check out our blog? We offer some great advice regarding all areas of warehousing which could help you.
If you and your employees have become accustomed to the strain of working in difficult conditions, it is most certainly time for a change.
Take the time out of your working week and look to improve the efficiency and running of your warehouse. A few simple changes will see happier employees, greater & more reliable health and safety measures, and a potentially enhanced bottom line.
Avoid the perils of an unorganised mess and improve upon your efficiency with a few of our top tips and efficiency checklist below:
Identifying the key health and safety priorities within a workplace is fundamental. Not only will improving upon these better protect your employees and their day to day activities but allows you the opportunity to reassess your current processes.
In fact, under The Management of Health & Safety at Work Regulation (1999) the law requires that you have a documented risk assessment in place.
Make sure you comply with these regulations and check these off of your list:
Without effective inventory management in place, the process of efficiently overseeing and controlling the ordering and storage of products is near to non-existent.
As one of your major assets, mismanaged inventories can create significant financial problems such as being presented with a shortage or overflow of stock and a prolonged picking process.
Simplify you inventory management and ensure successful and efficient procedures:
An obvious point to make for many, but an important one nonetheless is the correct labelling within a warehouse environment. A requirement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) you’ll need to ensure personnel are directed through the warehouse safely as well as improving the ability to find inventory fast and easy.
With its history and worth proved in the retail setting more and more companies are switching over to barcode technology in the warehouse to improve profitability, productivity, and warehouse efficiency. The benefits of doing so are quite significant and include, but are not limited to:
Interested? We’ve compiled a full blog post discussing the benefits of barcode scanners.
What better way to ensure the efficient running of your warehouse than to make certain it isn’t falling apart at the seams.
Pallet Racking is an invaluable system to the day to day running of your business and the organisation of your warehouse would collapse without it. Providing a durable and reliable system to store high volume and high density bulk inventory we’d suggest you’d follow these tips:
We cannot stress the importance of regular inspection and checks of your pallet racking enough. Not only will you lower any future costs, avoid stock damage, and increase efficiency but you’ll protect your staff and ensure that they are working within safe conditions.
As SEMA approved racking inspectors we can provide safety checks for you. We’ll also fix it for you too, providing a competitive quote for installation of replacement materials, repair services, and spare parts.
If you’re looking to improve the efficiency of your warehouse, we can help. Whether with pallet racking itself, protection accessories, labelling or inspections get in touch with the team. Give us a call on 01179 555 211 and talk to our experienced and knowledgeable team.
In order to run a successful warehouse business you must have high standards when it comes to the organisation of your premises.
Amazon didn’t become the world’s largest internet retailer, selling every product imaginable, with a disorganised and dishevelled warehouse floor, did they? No.
In our latest blog we’ve taken a look at a few simple changes you can make in your warehouse to ensure all operations are running smoothly and efficiently.
Did you know that Amazon Prime Now offer one hour delivery on their orders? Can you imagine the delights of ordering the latest DVD releases on your way home from the office, only for it to arrive as you do?
Unfortunately, unless you live near one of their 27 US stores, you won’t just yet. But the warehouse processes and efficiency behind the offering has us intrigued.
With a service specifically relying on the accurate and on-time delivery of their products a well organised warehouse is essential. But things work a little differently here. A system that seemingly goes against everything we have been programmed to believe, Amazon randomly store their inventory. You’re likely to find a set of weights next to Ben & Jerry’s.
Placing items randomly across the warehouse, each is scanned into a computer system thus logging its location. When the order comes in the computer can find the fastest route for all of the items to be picked ensuring that the order is delivered on time.
Whilst we appreciate that this system will unlikely work for many it is important to find a method that works for you.
An efficient warehouse starts with its organisation both in terms of layout and your process. Take a look at our top tips below to get started:
Ask Your Team
What better place to start than your employees; those who work on the ground on a daily basis.
Provide an opportunity for feedback and ask your employees for their comments regarding daily warehouse activity. Find out what they feel needs improving, where changes can be made, and how time can be saved with improved processes.
You may be surprised by suggestions you hadn’t even considered.
Onwards and Upwards
If you’re short on space, don’t forget that you can go upwards with Pallet Racking. In fact, many places would quickly diminish without the use of such systems.
With the correct installation and proper maintenance, pallet racking is a particularly durable and reliable system providing years of service. Well-designed and securely fitted there are a number of benefits:
If your warehouse is home to a host of products it is worth investing in a warehouse management system (link to blog) to help keep everything labelled and tracked. Despite a likely significant upfront cost, the potential for improved productivity is massive.
Alternatively, put a label on your pallet systems and ensure that your employees are able to easily identify product locations with aisle markers.
Quite simply there is no point in organising you warehouse if your staff aren’t aware of the processes in place.
Make sure every team member understand the systems and process and realises the importance of sticking to them to ensure an organised, more efficient, and safe environment to work in. Remember that training should be an on-going commitment and not a one-off.
You may also want to give your warehouse operative a helping hand by colour coding areas to show where different classifications of products are kept.
If you need a hand getting your Warehouse into shape, give the team at Bristol Storage a call on 0117 955 5211 for more information and advice regarding all of our products.