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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
If your warehouse operates on a 24-hour basis, you may choose to carry out the end of day inspection between shift patterns.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Racking – Narrow 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 Flooring – Mezzanine 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 systems, partitioning, or workbenches - get in touch with the team. Give us a call on 0117 955 5211 for more information.
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.