The shortage of good quality warehouse space is only likely to get worse, which means companies will have little option but to rethink the racking footprint of their existing stores and employ more space-efficient materials handling systems, says John Maguire, Commercial Director of Narrow Aisle Ltd.
In the first week of March we attended a networking lunch organised by the United Kingdom Warehousing Association at the House of Lords in London.
As a former chairman and a board director of UKWA, I was pleased to see the entire spectrum of the logistics industry – from the major 3PLs, to road and rail service providers, through to port operators and leading retailers- – represented at the event.
From the discussions I had and listened to throughout the day, it is clear that
the logistics industry is faced with some significant challenges as the social changes that impact upon our traditional way of life continue apace.
For example, the Government’s plan to build 200,000 new homes means that the logistics sector will have 200,000 addresses to deliver to, while, of course, the shelves of the local shops will need to be replenished if the residents of these new estates are to be fed.
It seems likely that this building programme will fuel ever greater demand for the construction of not only more but different kinds of warehouses, distribution centres and fulfillment facilities in new locations.
But, as we all know, there is a shortage of good quality warehouse space and a lack of land to build new facilities on. Indeed, 20% of the UK’s warehouse property stock is said to be not fit-for-purpose.
As a result, good quality, or new build warehousing stock close to the UK’s major population centres is at a premium, and more and more companies have little choice but to utilise every square foot that they have available within their existing stores.
Rethinking the racking footprint and employing more space-efficient materials handling systems is one way of ensuring that a building’s storage capacity is maximised.
For example, by reducing the aisles served by reach trucks from three metres to two metres wide and replacing outdated reach truck technology with more aisle-friendly Flexi articulated forklifts, storage capacity at most sites can be upped by some 25 per cent.
But, remodelling racking systems to make more space-efficient use of a building’s storage cube has, in the past, been an expensive process that often involves on-site disruption and lengthy periods of downtime.
However, this is no longer the case.
Narrow Aisle has introduced a low fixed cost racking reconfiguration service that means the finance and downtime barriers that have often stopped companies from maximising the space efficiency of their storage cube are removed.
And, what’s more, we provide a guaranteed fixed price, timescale and detailed project plan for each reconfiguration scheme that we undertake.
To find out how we can help you to get the most out of your storage building, call us to arrange an appointment with a member of our intralogistics planning team.
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