Warehouse , Tips

firefighters tackle blaze at warehouse

Warehouse fires have been a hot topic of conversation recently, with a large fire devastating a warehouse on White Hart Lane and residents being evacuated in North West London following a huge blaze in the same month.

Fortunately, in both cases, the blazes were controlled (by a total of 190 firefighters!) without any injuries.Warehouse fires are devastating for business, not only destroying stock and causing long downtime but also putting employees at risk. To help ensure fire is not a risk in your warehouse, take a look at our 5 step fire safety checklist.

Don’t Overload Your Racking

Not only can overloaded pallet racking cause damage to your system, it can also pose a serious fire hazard. With more stock to burn through in a condensed space, overloaded pallet racking can be the difference between controlling a fire and letting it spread to the rest of your warehouse.

Ensure that you stick to racking weight limits and don’t overload – instead, find ways to maximise space in your warehouse, invest in racking that is designed to make the most of your space and consider a mezzanine flooring system to create extra storage space.

Train Your Staff

Proper training of staff is key to making sure procedure works. Staff need to be aware of fire risks and how to control them, consider these steps to ensuring this:

  • Ensure all staff undertake at least a Level 1 Fire Safety course – this can be done online at any time. Designated fire marshals/wardens will be better equipped with a Level 2 Fire Safety award.
  • Implement a fire procedure - ensure your staff know where fire equipment such as extinguishers are located as well as having a clear evacuation plan in place. 
  • Ensure smoking shelters are located away from any flammable materials – properly signpost designated smoking areas to avoid confusion and make sure there is a place to safely dispose of cigarette ends.
  • Ensure employees are aware of the different materials they are handling, this will assist them in knowing which type of extinguisher to use in the event of a fire.
  • Display racking weight limit notices on all racking.

Assess Your Inventory and Equipment

In both warehouse fire incidents during September, gas cylinders were on site. Whilst it is not noted where these were stored – the chances of them catching would have been significantly reduced if they were stored off-site in a gas cylinder cage.

Assessing your inventory will not only help you reduce the risk of fire, but also assist firefighters should there be one. Take note of any high-risk areas where flammable material is stored in abundance; it’s worth having a special fire prevention procedure and additional safeguards (sprinkler system, fire extinguishers and sensitive alarms) for these areas.

In addition to your inventory, ensuring your machinery is properly maintained is essential for staying compliant and preventing fires. For any moving machinery, a mesh machine guard or cage can prevent physical injuries as well as offering protection against welding flare.

Mesh machine guard to protect against welding flare

Review Waste Removal Procedures

In 2016, a bin fire caused over $200,000 of damage to a warehouse in Toronto, how easy would this have been to prevent?

Having an abundance of rubbish stored in bins outside your site can make you a target for arsonists and vandals, follow these steps to ensuring rubbish doesn’t become a fire risk:

  • Keep rubbish bins and skips stored in a cordoned off area away from your main buildings. You may choose to install security lighting in these areas.
  • Keep them empty – reducing the amount of waste produced by your warehouse reduces the chances of a bin fire becoming unmanageable. Take a look at our latest blog to reduce waste in your warehouse.
  • Ensure you use specialist services for any batteries and electronics that need disposing of.
  • Try not to overfill bins and keep them securely shut.
  • Clean your premises regularly to ensure rubbish doesn’t build up.

Conduct An End Of Day Inspection

Before you lock up for the night, carry out an end of day inspection to ensure there is nothing that could cause a fire in the night – ask yourself these questions:

  1. Are the premises clear of any loose combustible materials?
  2. Is waste awaiting in disposal in a secure, secluded space?
  3. Are gas cylinders stored safely? (preferably away from the premises)
  4. Are fire doors, exits, equipment and notices unobstructed?
  5. Is every point of entry to the building and waste storage areas properly secured?
  6. Are all electronics switched off, including machinery that is not in use?
  7. Are all flammable liquids secured properly?

If your warehouse operates on a 24-hour basis, you may choose to carry out the end of day inspection between shift patterns. 

Talk To The Experts

What other measures do you have in place to prevent fires in your warehouse? We’d love to hear them. Don’t let it be a lack of space become a risk in your warehouse, give us a call on 0117 955 5211 to talk to one of our experts about space saving racking solutions and mezzanine flooring

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Warehouse , Tips

Waste at a Landfill Site Zero waste has become an increasingly popular objective for businesses, with companies finding that minimising their waste improves their image with customers and even saves them money in rising waste disposal costs.

Minimising your warehouse's impact on the environment doesn’t have to be a huge challenge, and just a few simple changes to your waste procedure can make a noticeable difference.

To help you, we’ve come up with 4 easy and cost effective steps towards producing zero waste. 

Conduct A Waste Audit

This doesn’t mean you have to go rummaging through your bins! But getting an idea of where the most waste is generated in your warehouse will provide you with enough information to start planning to reduce it. Take a look at general high waste areas including:

  • Office space – do you have recycling bins readily available for paper?
  • Kitchens – food waste shouldn’t be sent to landfill, start composting instead.
  • Delivery areas – loaders should be able to easily recycle any packaging from delivered materials.
  • Picking lines – reduce the temptation for pickers to throw recyclable materials away by adding a recycling bin to each workstation.
  • Tech suites – Tech items such as old computers, keyboards, cables and phones can be recycled for free – you may even make some money from them.
  • Print outs – instead of printing our documents, save paper and ink by saving them on a hard drive or document sharing platform such as Dropbox.
  • Emails to clients – add a ‘please consider the environment before printing’ graphic to your email footer – you can do this easily here.
  • Bathrooms – Provide air hand dryers or reusable towels as opposed to paper towels.

Once your waste audit is complete it would make sense to put a long term strategy in place to tackle the areas that are regularly producing the most waste.

Switch To LED Lighting

As well as being much more efficient and saving you money, switching to warehouse LED Lighting will reduce your carbon footprint. An LED can last upto 50,000 hours before needing to be replaced, massively outperforming the life spans of traditional Halogen (3,000 hrs) and CFL (6,000 – 15,000hrs) lighting meaning that fewer bulbs go to waste.

Additionally, our LED lighting can be fitted with dimming controls and occupancy detection to ensure maximum power savings – check out the video below to see it in action, or give us a call on 0117 955 5211 to arrange a product demonstration.

 

Review Suppliers

At Bristol Storage, we receive hundreds of packaged products from numerous suppliers every year, whilst most of this comes in recyclable cardboard – some materials inevitably end up in the bin. Reviewing your suppliers enables you to flag the ones using the most packaging that is not recyclable.

Once you’ve highlighted these suppliers, write to them and encourage them to switch to 100% recyclable packaging – not only would this reduce your waste, but the waste of all their other customers too!

Engage Staff

Employee awareness and engagement is the most important and effective way of reducing waste in your warehouse, without them on board – your efforts may be in vain. Here are a few easy ways to get your employees onboard with your waste reduction scheme:

  • Introduce incentives for employees that reduce the most waste. Why not promote some friendly competition by offering a monthly prize for the department that managed to recycle the biggest percentage of their waste.
  • Make it easy for your employees to recycle by placing colour-coded waste bins at the points where waste is generated.
  • Be transparent with your employees about the amount of waste your warehouse produces, this can create a good ethos to drive that figure down.
  • If you have cleaning staff, make sure they are also aware of your efforts to reduce waste in your warehouse.
  • Encourage employees to cycle to work or lift share with other members of staff.
  • Display posters encouraging staff to recycle to mimise the impact of their waste.

Help and Advice From Bristol Storage

We hope you found inspiration from this zero waste post, do let us know if you adopt any of these strategies in your workplace. If you’re looking to make the switch to energy efficient LED lighting, or are interested in any of our other services, give one of our expert team a call on 0117 955 5211 and we’ll be happy to help.

 

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Warehouse , Tips

Overstocked Warehouse Running out of space is one of the most common problems warehouse managers run into when they are in the process of expanding. The first thought many have is to buy more space – but this isn’t always necessary.

Running out of space can encourage bad practices in storing stock – leading to damaged inventory, missed orders and potential injuries.

In this post, we’ll run through a couple of procedures you can put in place and products you can implement to maximise space in your warehouse without the need for expensive extensions.

Rethink Your Warehouse Layout

Most warehouses are not configured with much thought to future expansion, which can lead to chaos when the time comes. If you feel like you may run out of space soon or are already pushing against the walls of your warehouse, put some time aside to consider a new layout for your warehouse – this will take expert planning and may cause some down time so it's best done when you are experiencing a quieter period.

Analyse Your Inventory

When was the last time you carried out a full audit of your inventory? Carrying too much stock or keeping stock that you no longer sell takes up valuable space. Conduct a full inventory audit and determine what stock you have in comparison to what you need, then move any surplus into storage.

Train Your Staff

Almost all problems a warehouse manager encounters can be solved in some respect by properly training staff. If you have worked hard to maximise the space in your warehouse but your staff are unaware of racking weight limits and thus under loading them – your efforts will be wasted. 

Training your staff to be more aware of the space available to them in racking and the warehouse, in general, will ensure that they are working with you and not against you to save space. Additionally, keeping your warehouse staff happy and motivated is a great way to encourage a good work ethos to ensure no space is wasted.  

Take Advantage Of Vertical Space

Instead of building out, build up! There are a number of solutions available to save you money by taking advantage of the unused vertical space in your warehouse:

Narrow Aisle RackingNarrow aisle racking is taller and a lot narrower than conventional racking, it is a great way to get the most out of your space when used in conjunction with specialist narrow aisle forklift trucks.

Mezzanine FlooringMezzanine flooring gives you the space you need at a fraction of the cost of expansion with prices starting from just £55 per square metre. Mezzanine flooring is commonly used to create office space and extra storage.

Consider Temporary Solutions For Busy Periods

Temporary solutions such as shipping containers are a low-cost space solution; they can be particularly useful to store any surplus inventory you may have ordered in when preparing for a busy period such as Christmas.

If you are looking for a more permanent solution, a temporary warehouse or storage marquee is a lower cost alternative to expansion and perfect for dealing with excess stock during busy periods.

Load Your Pallet Racking Correctly

How much space is being wasted by under loaded or poorly loaded pallet racking? Ensuring that your pallet racking is loaded properly allows you to save space and load as much stock as safely possible. Be sure not to overload you racking, this can lead to racking damage and potential collapse.

Be sure that both you and your staff are aware of the maximum load your pallet racking can safely take by displaying weight load notices where appropriate.

Help From The Experts

As you can see, there are several measures you can put in place to maximise the space you have available without having to invest in a costly expansion.

If you need any help reconfiguring your warehouse layout or want to find out more about the space saving products available give one of our expert team a call on 0117 955 5211 and we’ll be happy to help.

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Tips , Mezzanine Floors

Purpose built office mezzanine floor 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.

Why Consider 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:

  • Maximise and more efficiently manage factories and warehouses
  • Avoid the hassle and expense of extension or relocation
  • Make better use of redundant space
  • A cost effective solution that can be designed to meet your specific requirements
  • Easily installed with minimal disruption

Working at Height

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:

  • Must ensure that handrails are installed as well as a toe board around mezzanine floors where people are working
  • Must ensure that mezzanine floors are regularly inspected and properly maintained
  • Employers have a responsibility to identify, assess, and properly control the risks of working at height
  • All work at height must be properly planned and organised
  • All employees must be properly trained and competent
  • Risks must be regularly assessed and appropriated for the equipment provided

 Our Mezzanine Solutions

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Warehouse , Tips

We’re halfway through 2017 now so you’ll probably have a good idea of how well your operations are performing in line with your start of year targets. Are you doing well or do you need to need to shake up your processes to get back on track?

Whilst we strive to fill our blog with useful resources for warehouse and logistics managers, there are hundreds of useful other blogs out there. To save you scouring the web, we’ve compiled a list of 7 must follow warehouse management blogs to check out (in no particular order!)

Shelving.com Blog 

Shelving.com are a shelving supplier based in Michigan USA offering storage and shelving products in the US and parts of Canada for both commercial and home. Their blog focuses on health and safety, making the most of space in the warehouse and maximising efficiency.  

Posts We Love From Shelving.com blog

  • Unusually shaped items in your inventory? Shelving.com run you through methods to shelve awkwardly shaped items such as piping and large appliances, without having to use excessive amounts of space.
  • Amazon prime day is one of the busiest and most daunting days of the year for those working in product distribution, drop shipping or direct retail. To help you ready your operation for the big day, check out their top tips to prepare for Amazon prime day.

Blog article shares for Shelving.com over the past year - 480!

 Best warehouse blogs to follow

 Reddit r/Warehousing 

Whilst Reddit is technically a forum rather than a blog – we thought it deserved a spot in our top warehouse management blogs post.

Reddit is an absolute goldmine of information if you know where to look – the focus of this sub-reddit is inventory management and control, transportation & distribution and services that support warehouse operations.

Link bait blogs and answers that wholly promote to a single service or product are prohibited from this sub-reddit so you won't be inundated with businesses trying to sell to you.

As well as being able to source useful information and ask questions in these sub-reddits – it’s a great place for businesses to show their expertise, with questions regularly being asked by warehouse managers.

 Reddit warehouse management sub reddit

Which Warehouse Blog

Which warehouse are a logistics company specialising in sourcing warehouse storage space and logistics services for clients in the UK and Ireland. Their blog focuses on logistics trends, warehouse efficiencies and chain management efficiencies and trends.

Posts we love from Which Warehouse blog

Blog article shares for Which Warehouse Blog over the past year  - 50!

Blogs with information for warehouse managers

Westfalia Blog 

Westfalia are a provider of warehouse solutions based in Pennsylvania USA, with a specialisation in providing automated storage and retrieval, self-storage, and order fulfilment solutions. Their blog focuses heavily on automation and automation trends but also features blogs aimed at warehouse managers.

Posts we love from Westfalia blog

Blog article shares for Westfalia Blog over the past year  - 48!

Westfalia warehouse management blog

Commerical Warehousing Blog 

Commercial Warehousing are a warehouse logistics company based in Florida USA, their blog is updated frequently and is split into various categories including warehousing, transportation, technology and packing.

Posts we love from Commercial Warehousing blog

  • The one thing all warehouse management and logistics blogs have in common is speculation of the future of the industry. Commercial warehousing wrote a blog post back in 2014 speculating what the future of logistics could look like – some of these predictions were absolutely spot on!

Blog article shares for Commercial Warehousing Blog over the past year  - 93!

commercial warehousing blog for warehouse managers

Warehouse Rack and Shelf Blog 

Warehouse Rack and Shelf are suppliers of material handling and storage products to distributors and retailers based in the USA. Along with their insightful blog, they have an ask an expert feature which allows you to send your questions directly to them.

Posts we love from Warehouse Rack and Shelf blog

  • If you find yourself constantly replacing wooden pallet racking, rack and shelf list some of best alternatives to wooden racking and their benefits, including plastic, aluminium and wire.
warehouse rack and shelf blog

RFgen Blog 

Last but not least on our list is RFgen, providers of mobile and wireless automated data collection solutions for WMS and inventory management solutions. Their blog focuses on supply chain management and warehouse automation and efficiencies.

Posts we love from RFgen blog

  • There are plenty of blogs out there with recommended efficiencies to save time and money in the warehouse. RFgen highlight 3 tools that work in the background to ensure modern warehouses run smoothly in this blog post.

Blog article shares for RFen Blog over the past year  - 671!

Rggen racking and shelving blog for warehouse managers

Expert Information and Advice From Bristol Storage

As you can see, there are countless useful resources online for warehouse and logistics managers. At Bristol Storage (aside from our useful blog), our expert team are always happy to share our expertise, advice and recommendations in any area of warehouse management, racking, storage or operations you may have questions about. 

Just give us a call on 0117 955 5211 or fill out a contact form and we’ll get back to you. 

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Warehouse , Tips

Pallet Racking Repair or ReplaceWait, 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.

When To Replace Your Pallet Racking

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:

  • If there is any rust - signs of rust are signs of weakness in the integrity of the metal. A repair and a paint job might mean the rust has visually gone but the metal will still be weakened. 
  • If you notice your beams bending/deflecting, remove the excess load – if the beam stays deflected after removal then it will need replacing.
  • If there is significant damage to the sides of the racking or there is damage in multiple places.
  • The racking has been repaired several times previously and is still showing signs of structural weakness.

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. 

Maintaining Your Pallet 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.

 Protect pallet racking with barriers

A Word On Second Hand Pallet Racking

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:

  • Deflected beams and planks
  • Poor or aged welding
  • Bent diagonals
  • Rusted components

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.

Need Some Expert Help?

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.

 

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Tips

Wooden Pallets Stacked High 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 warehouse 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.

SEMA Approved Racking Inspections

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.

Need Some Expert Help?

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.

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Warehouse , Tips

New Year’s Resolutions for your Warehouse

2016 To-do listJools Holland will have done his best to ease us out of one year and into the next, you’ve will join in heartily with Auld Lang Syne and have gone around the room kissing your nearest and dearest. As you look forward to the year which lies ahead, the only thing left to do is decide on your New Year’s resolutions.

It’s the same every year. We have a chance for a fresh start; time to look at the previous year and then decide how we’re going to be better, kinder, fitter, and healthier during the year ahead. But let’s be honest. With all the best intentions, how many of us are sticking to our New Year’s resolutions by the time we reach the end of January? According to Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, only 1 in 10 of us will achieve our goals and most of us will have ditched them by as early as the 23rd January!

It’s not a great statistic but one that you can understand. Here’s the ten most popular resolutions people make and probably don’t stick to. They might strike a chord with you…..

  1. Lose weight or exercise more
  2. Quit smoking
  3. Eat healthier food
  4. Learn something new
  5. Spend less and save more
  6. Drink less alcohol
  7. Travel more
  8. Give back to the community
  9. Spend more time with family and friends
  10. Relax more and reduce stress

Resolutions at work

So if we’re all failing miserably with the New Year’s resolutions we make in our private lives, perhaps we can fare better at work? Especially in the warehouse, it’s worth thinking about what you can do better next year and how you can actually make it happen.

Here are five resolutions you can make and keep in 2016:

Go green

If you haven’t already got an environmental policy, review what you can do to operate in a greener way. If you contact a local recycling company, they’ll give you a quote for supplying bins to place around your warehouse and empty them on a regular basis. If you can site them near your packing area, people are more likely to use them.

Think about what you’re doing with your old pallets too. Introduce a scheme where you offer your old pallets to locals or community groups. They can be used for all sorts of things from DIY projects to garden benches or raised beds.

A clean sweep

In some warehouses, there are piles of clutter that seem to have been there since the company began! Get a skip and enlist the help of your team to go through the place section by section, throwing away anything that’s not needed and finding a suitable storage place for anything important.

Once you’ve had a good clear out, make a vow to keep the warehouse clean and clutter free. This will not only make the warehouse safer for your employees, it will also help with productivity.

Safety first

Warehouses can be dangerous places to work. Whether you have a great safety record or not, it’s a good time to review your working practices and see if there’s anything you can do to make it better and improve conditions for your employees. If you’re not already doing it, check your warehouse racking regularly or get us in to carry out a SEMA approved inspection for you.

Let’s talk

Don’t underestimate the importance of regular meetings with your warehouse team. It’s a great opportunity to discuss how everything is running and ask for their ideas about how things could be done better. They might have noticed a problem and thought about a solution, or been thinking that new or higher racking solutions could create greater efficiencies. You may be pleasantly surprised at some of the suggestions they come up with!

Out with the old and in with the new

If you’ve been thinking about redesigning your industrial warehouse storage and investing in some new warehouse racking systems, or even a mezzanine floor, now’s a great time to do it. Although there will be an initial outlay, you may find that it’s offset by greater working efficiencies and safety. All you have to do is call our helpful team on 0117 955 5211 and they’ll arrange for you to have a free site survey to assess what you need and let you know how much it’s likely to cost.

Get In Touch

We hope you all have a fantastic New Year and manage to stick to your resolutions (for a few days at least). If you plan to make some changes in your warehouse and would like our help to achieve them, we’d be happy to help you. Just give us a call on 0117 955 5211 and one of our experienced and knowledgeable team will tell you all you need to know about pallet racking, mezzanines, repairs and maintenance or SEMA inspections.

 

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Warehouse , Tips

Top Tips to Improve your Warehouse Inventory Management

Inventory app on iPad in the warehouseWhether you’re a well-established and successful company or a recent start-up the running of your warehouse and tracking of its inventory is key to your operation.

You might simply be looking to better organise your space, upgrade your warehouse capabilities, improve inventory control, or even build an entirely new storage unit.

Well, whatever your plans may be, we have decided to detail some of our top tips on how you can ensure successful management.

Take a look below and let us know if you can add any more:

What is Inventory Management?

As a business owner with warehouse space, we’d hope that you already know the answer to this question. But we thought we’d highlight its purpose again, so you can appreciate exactly how you should be running your warehouse floor.

Inventory management is the process of efficiently overseeing and controlling the ordering, storage, and use of components used in production. In addition you will also need to oversee and control quantities of products coming in and out of the existing inventory.

As one of your major assets, mismanaged inventories inside your warehouse can create significant financial problems such as being presented with a shortage or overflow of stock.

Proper Training

Spending additional time training every employee, in regards to the proper procedures, will undoubtedly save you both time and money in the long term.  You should, as standard be providing adequate training that is specific to their areas of work anyway; so just take a few minutes more to detail your inventory process.

Don’t Order Too Much

We understand that you might be concerned about running out of stock but by ordering too much inventory you can easily spend too much and hinder your organisation in the process. In addition, excess stock will just sit on the shelf and is therefore subject to potential damage and depreciation.

Instead why not start with some projections of how much supply you’ll need? It’s best to gauge what you’ll require by looking at the stock records for the past year whilst taking into account seasonality, national holidays, and product popularity.

Accurate Tracking

There are unfortunately opportunities for mis-counts everywhere. Once you know how much inventory you need – and how much you currently have – why not get your hands on an Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) or bar scanning system to help eliminate errors?

In fact, The Benefits of Barcode Scanners are far reaching as more and more companies are switching over to this technology in the warehouse to improve both productivity and efficiency. However, we’d suggest choosing a few products at random each day and checking that your systems line up with what is physically in stock.

Forget the Spreadsheets

Yes, we really said it. It’s time to say goodbye to your friend Microsoft Excel – who really know how to use it properly anyway? By using the spreadsheet there is no foolproof way to ensure that errors are not made or the opportunity to allow multiple individuals working on the data in synchronisation.

Take the time to find alternative software that suits you and your business and take advantage of their usability and convenience. The apps, which run in real-time, can ensure accuracy across all systems potentially improving customer service, fewer data entry errors, and better compliance. We’ve highlighted a couple below:

Retail Inventory is an excellent inventory management system that also scans barcodes and syncs with point-of-sale purchases.

Lettuce is not only an inventory management app (bear in mind that it’s iPad only) but integrates related systems such as order capture, payment processing, shipping, tracking, customer relationship management, and sales and order analysis. This system isn’t free but at $59 (around £40) a month – plus $25 per addition use – it might be worth your while.

Goods Order Inventory has been designed to help manage orders, inventory, and sales on a mobile device. The app is currently free, but as a result does not currently integrate with other services or software.

Reorganise Your Floor Plan

Don’t be afraid to tackle the warehouse floor to take charge of your inventory. After all, lack of organisation here will certainly spill over into other areas. Demand production changes so why shouldn’t your storage systems?

From pallet racking and mezzanine flooring to storage containers and shelving you can ensure that the organisation and efficiency of your warehouse runs accordingly.

Location, Location, Location

Make sure you and your staff know where everything is. Ensure that there is a procedure in place when a product is moved from one location to another and that every employee knows the products rightful home. By doing so you will undoubtedly prevent loss and reduce processing time.

Signage and Labelling

It might be obvious to many but don’t forget the correct labelling. This will ensure personnel are directed through the warehouse safely as well as helping them find inventory fast and easy. This is an actual requirement from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which is required by law.

Let Us Help

Whilst we’re not experts in telling you how to run your warehouse we can certainly help with the organisation of your stock using clever pallet racking and other nifty solutions. Just give us a call on 01179 555 211 for some friendly advice and information.

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Warehouse , Tips

Our Top Tips to Warehouse Safety

Warehouse SafetyWe often post on our Facebook page warehouse fail videos that continue to amuse us (once we know that the individual concerned is safe and well, of course).

However, whilst providing mild entertainment, the accidents, which often come close to major injuries, should really be preventable.

With some simple safety tips in place, along with the correct safety equipment, your warehouse can be a much safer environment for you and your employees. If you haven’t already, ensure that you implement the proper regulations, or risk being featured in our Friday Fail on our Facebook page! ;)

Successful Health and Safety Management

Did you know that around a quarter of all major injuries – from broken bones to hospitalisation – in the warehousing industry are caused by workers slipping or tripping? In addition, poor manual handling can result in individuals being hit by moving or falling objects.

To avoid these situations there are a number of legally required conditions that you must abide by to ensure successful health and safety management. These will include risk assessment, proper training, and regular inspections. But how can you be sure to achieve the best results? Take a look at the regulations and tips below and remember that you might want to involve the workforce, as well as health and safety representatives, in decision making:

Identification

Identifying the key health and safety priorities within a business or workplace is fundamental.

Undertake a risk assessment to recognise hazards, who could potentially be harmed and how, evaluate risks, and decide on the precaution methods. Ensure that you concentrate your efforts on these priorities and eliminate risks where possible – and where you can’t, reduce the risk to an acceptable level.

Adequate Training

Upon identifying the risks to employees and anyone else who might venture into your warehouse, ensure that staff are given basic training in Health and Safety. Training should be specific to the hazards associated with their work and the environment in which they work.

At a minimum, employees should understand and thus follow the various signage placed within the building. This will include their awareness of emergency exits and standard protocols as well as the regulations surrounding requirements for protective clothing.

Using Safe Systems

The law requires that equipment such as fork lift trucks, conveyor belts, racking, and ladders for example are suitable for the intended use. They should be maintained in a safe condition and inspected for deterioration on a regular basis. Finally, such equipment should only ever be used by the people who have received adequate information, instruction, and training.

Lifting equipment and fork lifts are further discussed under The Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). These regulations state that lifting equipment provided for use at work is:

  • Strong and stable for the particular use and always marked to indicate safe working loads.
  • Positioned and installed to minimise any risks.
  • Appropriately and safely used.
  • Subject to on-going and thorough examination.

Appropriate Signage & Instruction

Eliminate potential safety hazards by ensuring that they are well signed and required actions are clearly instructed. The use of simple signage, such as hazard warning tape, load notices, and floor signals can make the world of difference.

In fact, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires by law that you have proper signage in your place of business to protect employees and customers. Not only will their use protect your business and its employees, but your inventory too. A lack of safety warnings will put you and your employees at considerable risk.

In addition, signage can provide simple reminders for your employees about warehouse safety; the likes of hard hats and protective glasses for example.

Regular Inspection

To ensure on-going success for your Health and Safety efforts it is important that regular inspections are carried out.

Not only will inspection of your warehouse, pallet racking, and shelving ensure that it is always up to scratch and the safety of your stock and personnel is maintained, but regular inspection can help reduce both insurance premiums and maintenance costs.

Let Us Help

Whilst the above information is by no means exhaustive, it is certainly a great place to start.

At Bristol Storage we offer an inspection, repair, and replacement service for your pallet racking to ensure that you don’t miss any hidden dangers. In addition you can find a host of safety equipment available in our store to ensure that you comply with the appropriate regulations. Just give us a call on 01179 555 211

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