According to the estate agents Savills, warehouse space now accounts for 566 million square feet of the UK. The last 5 years have seen the most rapid increase in unit take up in history. This has stemmed from the shift in consumer behaviour towards online retail. Whilst consumer trends suggested this would be the case, the covid-19 pandemic has been a catalyst that has led to this shortage. It is predicted that online retail will account for 35% of all retail by7 2025. This would mean that the UK would need to find an additional 64m square feet of warehouse space to cope with demand. The shortage of warehouse space is a problem that is not far away so it is best to get ahead of it.
The effects of Warehouse space shortages
In the short term, we are very close to Christmas. Supply chain managers from some of the biggest retails are already expressing concern over getting supply in on time . One of the biggest causes for this is the importation of containers into UK ports. This has all been driven by a lack of lorry drivers in the UK which has led to the build up of goods in warehouses.
Whilst small businesses will not be able to buy in containers following their prices rising by over 550%, big retailers like Amazon are able to continue to buy in goods. They are also able to offer over the odds to pay for the lorry drivers and warehouse staff that everyone else is short on. In the long term this could push out new and small online retailers as they can’t get product to their customers on time.
How can QTS help increase your warehouse storage?
Central ridge decks allow you to utilise both sides of the racking bay when you are storing smaller boxes or items. The ridge that runs along the centre of the bay provides a barrier and a guide to the operatives that stops products getting muddled up whilst maximising the space. It will also mean that all products will be accessible as you can access the bay from either size.
Whilst QTS don’t provide Moving racking systems, we do provide anti-collapse mesh which is vital for the safety of your staff and products. A heavily loaded rack is already a potentially dangerous structure but adding movement to it adds another risk factor. Improperly loaded goods are much more likely to tumble in comparison to a static racking system.
QTS also have an extension kit that can be added onto the top of your racking system allowing you to store goods at height. There is a high chance that you are currently limited by the top of your racking not being able to have the safety element attached to it. An additional level on all your existing racking would drastically increase your available space.
Finding and implementing the most suitable solution for your warehouse is paramount to its performance. There are plenty of innovative space planners that will design your warehouse to optimise capacity and productivity. However, we know it isn’t always easy to source a manufacturer to produce these in time for a deadline. This is where QTS can help.
Bespoke solutions from QTS:
The biggest benefit to choosing QTS is that we manufacture and design everything from our factory in Nottinghamshire. With the decline of British industry many years ago, many companies outsource to countries in Eastern Europe and Asia. Whilst this used to be a cheap alternative, the landscape we once knew has changed following Brexit and corona virus. This has led to a drastic increase in logistics costs and a decrease in availability. Fortunately for customers of QTS, we can manufacture all our products and a wide range of bespoke designs all from our factory. This means a reduced lead time and a more cost-effective solution for your project.
This year QTS have partnered with the Made In the Midlands group. Their aim is to support the British industry and hopefully bring back manufacturing to the UK. This is a great resource if you are looking for a manufacturer close to home with hundreds of companies listed.
Industry experience and a dedicated design team:
Amongst our team QTS have a lot of experience within the industry. Some members of our team have been with QTS for over 10 years. This means they are used to thinking outside of the box but at the same time they know exactly how to make the solution as cost effective as possible for our customer. Our design team also includes a full time CAD (computer aided design) technician who can provide detailed drawings and renders of the proposed product before you approve it. In addition to this, they are responsible for the design of new and old QTS products and have a lot of experience in product design. This means if you cannot come up with a solution yourself, then you can give QTS a brief and we will try and solve it for you. Along with a design team, bespoke projects like this will often get referred to our projects team who will ensure that everything runs smoothly from start to finish.
We come across bespoke products on a daily basis. Here are some common adaptations that QTS have previously completed:
Double deep decks that span across 2 bays.
Specifically coloured powder coating finish.
Mesh decks with thicker wire or additional support bars to support heavy loads.
Moveable mesh dividers that run along a rail making the space extremely versatile.
Varieties of mesh apertures for various uses.
Point load solutions, including stillages and more Reduced apertures to reduce imprint on heavier boxed goods
Pallet racking failure can be catastrophic to both products and warehouse staff. By nature, they are often holding a lot of weight at multiple heights which poses a large risk. These issues can be avoided, so what are they and what is the solution?
Top causes of pallet racking failure:
Unbalanced pallet loads
The items that are stored on the pallet and the arrangement in which they are stored is one of the most common causes of pallet racking failure. Firstly, the in balanced load will put unnecessary stress on the pallet which will cause it to break. This is a particularly devastating situation if you have no additional support as a contingency. Unbalanced loads can also cause unnecessary stress on a wire mesh deck causing deflection or breakages.
The solution: Every time a pallet is loaded, it should be uniformly distributed. This means the weight is spread evenly across the surface are of the pallet. Not only will this avoid uneven weight on the pallet put also spread the weight across more of the support bars on a mesh deck reducing the chances of deflection.
Inaccurate bay loading
Inaccurate bay loading can pose a risk to your stock and your warehouse operatives. An improperly positioned pallet can very easily come crashing down. This is one of the most common accidents that happen in a warehouse that leads to damaged and unsellable stock.
The solution: QTS have a few solutions to this. Firstly, you can add an upstand to the rear of the easySHELF™ mesh decks. This will act as a backstop for operatives when loading so they know the pallet is all the way on. Secondly, the easyDIVIDERS™ can be added to split the bay which helps to ensure the pallet isn’t too far to the left or right of the bay. Lastly, adding rackGUARDIAN™ anti-collapse mesh can also be added to the rear of the system to stop pallets falling onto the walkways behind.
Overloading pallets and racking systems with too much weight seems like an obvious thing to avoid – but it still happens.
The solution: Pallets and mesh decks have a maximum load capacity outlined very clearly. Make sure that all staff are trained and that the load capacity for each run of racking is displayed at the end of each run. At QTS, we adapt the designs of our mesh deck to suit the storage requirements. This is done by adding support bars, increasing the wire diameter, or swapping to a cradle deck.
Poor warehouse design
The design phase of a warehouse is imperative to its safety and functionality. A common mistake is not leaving enough space between the aisles. This means it is a tight squeeze for warehouse operators to squeeze pallets through. It can also make it difficult for them to load and unload the racking system. A narrow aisle increases the likelihood of an operator crashing into the racking system which can cause catastrophic damage.
The solution: Know exactly what you will be storing. This way you can design the space to accommodate for any items that would cause difficulties. It may be that you need to use a different storage solution for these items. For example, storing long posts on a normal pallet racking bay is not suitable. Instead, you can use canti-lever racking.
Lack of training and awareness
In a warehouse setting, all staff should be trained in the relevant health and safety precautions to ensure that all risks are minimised. Improper use of equipment, lack of awareness, distractions and even rushing can all lead to accidents.
The solution: Start by putting all your training plans and standard operating procedures down on paper and save them in a place that is accessible by all. Every new member of staff should go through the same training procedure. Following training, staff performance and training top-ups should be a regular occurrence. This will mitigate the risk of bad habits arising or staff forgetting things. No one other than fully qualified forklift drivers should be operating forklifts as they have been specially trained to load and unload safely.
Despite what you may think, cold storage for food items has many factors to consider when designing your storage space. QTS’ storage solutions have many customisable attributes that create a great solution for the cold storage of perishable items. This blog will cover some key factors to consider when designing your warehouse space.
Why is cold storage of food so important?
The cold storage of food is one of the most highly regulated sectors of the warehousing industry. In the UK, such warehouses are subject to checks from the Food Standards Agency (FSA). The incorrect storage of organic matter accelerates the reproduction of any bacteria that may be present as they have a source of energy to reproduce. This bacterium (a common example is e coli) can cause severe illness so any spoiled product is essentially wasted money and no business wants that.
Mesh deck design:
When storing food, it is important your racking system is properly suited to its job. Commonly, mesh decks are supplied with support bars that are either flared or c-channel. These bars have an open groove which means that food or dust could gather in these gaps which poses a potential hygiene risk. The QTS solution, the easySHELF™, to this is to invert the support bar. This massively reduces areas for food and dust to become trapped making them extra easy to keep clean.
The second element that can be changed on the QTS decks is the finish. The standard stock deck finish is pre-galvanised which is perfectly suitable for the cold environment. However, QTS also offer a hot-dipped galvanised option which is much longer lasting in cold and damp environments. You will need to consider the cost trade-off in this situation. Pre-galvanised will be cheaper initially but the hot-dipped option may work out cheaper in the long run.
When you are storing food products, the racking system needs to be cleaned down much more regularly than if you were storing non-perishable goods. Wire mesh decking is far easier to clean than using their wooden alternative. It is very easy to hose down the wire and it dries much quicker. Too much moisture on timber decks may compromise its structural integrity.
Customising decks for even more effective storage.
Food items are often stored in boxes or smaller packages which all look very similar and could cause confusion for warehouse operatives. Firstly, it is imperative that everything is labelled correctly. This will make it easy to identify boxes and ensure food is not stored in the wrong place. For example, it is standard practise to store meat on the lower levels of the racking system so not to contaminate other foods. Another way QTS can help keep your warehouse organised is by adding dividers (easyDIVIDERS™) to your mesh decks. These will compartmentalise the bay creating a form of picking location that will stop accidental cross contamination of foods.
Standard mesh decks come in a 55mmx100mm mesh aperture, but this can be changed to 55mmx50mm. This will reduce the possibility of items that fall out of their storage containers ending up on the floor and becoming waste.