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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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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Warehouse

Inventory robots working a busy warehouse Working with Robots and Not Against Them

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:

The Age of Automation

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;

Amazon

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.

Locus Robotics System

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.

Ocado

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.

Improving Your Warehouse Processes

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.

 

 

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Warehouse , Case Studies , Pallet Racking

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. 

Location: Bromsgrove, Worcestershire

Products:  Carpet Racking and Pallet Racking

Carpet Racking Installation

Initial Brief:

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. 

Project Summary:

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.

Carpet Racking Installation

Carpet Racking Bromsgrove

Heavy Duty Pallet Racking

Contact Bristol Storage for any warehouse racking solutions on 0117 955 5211 or fill out our contact form here and we'll be in touch.

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Warehouse

Avoid Injury with Correct Manual Handling Practices

As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure that your employees are protected from harm or injury caused by manual handling tasks in 

Warehouse workers lifting boxes the workplace.

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. 

Associated Risks of Poor Moving & Handling

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.

Manual Handling – What the Law Requires

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:

  • Avoid the need for hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable
  • Assess the risk of injury from any hazardous manual handling that can’t be avoided
  • Reduce the risk of injury from hazardous manual handling, so far as is reasonably practicable

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. 

Prevention Measures

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.

Correct Handling Techniques

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.

Lifting

  • Prepare the area around you so that it is clear of obstacles and any doors are open.
  • If you are lifting with someone else, ensure you both know what you are doing.
  • You should adopt the following technique when lifting a load:
    • Put your feet around the load and your body over it. This will give you a stable and supportive base from which to lift.
    • Bend your knees and not your back. This allows you to use stronger leg muscles to lift the load and bear the weight, avoiding potential back injury.
    • Lift your head first to keep your neck straight. In turn, this will automatically cause your back to straighten and allow you to see where you are going.
    • Pull the load as close as possible to your body. The further away the load is held the more stress you will feel on your lower back.
    • Lift and carry the load with straight arms.
    • Lift smoothly and try to avoid sudden movements.

Pushing and Pulling

Including the pushing and pulling of devices such as trolleys and barrows, it is important that you:

  • Use your body weight; when pushing you should lean forward and when pulling lean back.
  • Ensure you have enough grip on the floor surface to lean forward/backwards.
  • Avoid twisting, turning, and bending the back.
  • Ensure handling devices are well maintained so that the wheels run smoothly.
  • Ensure floors are hard, even, and free from obstructions.

More Help and Information

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.

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Warehouse

Warehouse Automation and The Human Touch

Warehouse Automation Inventory check 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.

Where it All Began

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.

Automation Trends

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

  • Coca Cola – Operating a fully automated process from one supersized warehouse, Coca Cola store over 25,000 pallet locations. By centralising storage and using logistics to manage orders and distribution, efficiency savings are substantial through the simplicity of operation via central locations.
  • Ikea – As a Swedish home products manufacturer, Ikea has adopted automated warehouse solutions to become the leading furniture logistics company delivering household items to retail outlets and worldwide.
  • Fedex – Operating a super hub to connect 4,000 employees by day and 8,000 by night their processing is aided by 300 miles of conveyor belts to help support 3.3 million packages at Memphis International Airport.
  • Nike – The sports giant handles 43 million items per annum operating a warehouse with uniquely coded product ranges, enabling accurate stock taking/inventories and efficient order fulfilment.

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.

Is Automation for You?

On a smaller scale there are a few main trends afoot to help streamline future warehousing processes which will likely include:

  • Ergonomics – Ensuring loads can be stacked and retrieved from greater heights by machines, maximising storage capacity and safe retrieval..
  • Storage Configurations – These are evolving to support automated processes in the form of collapsible, dividable, reusable totes and boxes, making custom designs more redundant.
  • Standardised Tote Boxes – The design and manufacture of these products will save on design, engineering and project management costs associated with custom totes by providing industry wide solutions for lower capital investment.
  • Traceability – The process of tracking orders where customers become actively involved in monitoring the progress of their order from point of sale to point of delivery. Radio frequency tracking and warehouse management systems are set to become commonplace in warehouse automation. 

Resolving Automation Dilemmas

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.

 

 

 

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Warehouse

Efficiency checklist 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:

Risk Assessment

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:

  • Identify the hazards
  • Decide who may be harmed and how
  • Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions
  • Record your findings and implement them
  • Review your risks assessments and update.

Inventory Management

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:

  • Train every employee in regards to the proper procedures and inventory process
  • Avoid ordering too much stock with the aid of accurate projections of how much you’ll need based on previous seasonal patterns.
  • Ensure accurate tracking with barcode scanners
  • Reorganise your floor plan to ensure that the organisation and efficiency of your warehouse runs accordingly
  • Ensure a procedure is in place when a product is moved from one location to another to prevent loss and reduce processing time

Signage, Labelling, and Barcodes

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:

  • Improving accuracy – Eliminate human errors whilst ensuring you have a complete and accurate picture of your stock levels at any given time.
  • Speed up operations – Work fast and more efficiently as the picker is guided to the exact location of a product.
  • Real time information – Store information about items, its measurements, storage conditions and location.
  • Ease of use – Less paperwork and a higher level of stock information available.

Interested? We’ve compiled a full blog post discussing the benefits of barcode scanners.

Pallet Racking Protection

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:

  • Regularly inspect your racking
  • Understand loading capacities & ensure these are clearly marked for all
  • Invest in pallet racking accessories which can improve the efficiency & durability

SEMA Approved Racking Inspections

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.

Give us a Call

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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