Is cheap really that cheerful? QTS’s UK based manufacturing solution

Is cheap really that cheerful? QTS’s UK based manufacturing solution

I know what you are thinking, you don’t think you need to use a UK based manufacturing solution because you can increase your margins by importing. But, picture this for a moment; you are in a toy shop and your child wants to buy something, but it is cheaper to buy another similar item. You get home and after 5 minutes it breaks. Not only is your child now devastated, but also you have to go and buy a new one that means you have paid more than if you just got the better quality one in the first place. The saying is true, buy cheap, buy twice.

Now let’s edit this scenario a little bit; the toy in question is now a mesh deck and your child is now your customer. You now have an unhappy customer and a cost that you might have to front yourself. Not only this but the customers products might have been damaged in the process. This seems like a lot of risk for very little reward, does it not?

QTS designs and manufactures its mesh products here in the UK in our factory in Pinxton, Nottinghamshire. This means we can offer a great quality product with a great lead time. Still not convinced? See below why importing your mesh could be a mistake…

The challenges of importing from the far-east

Shipping:

The cost of shipping from a remote city in China where now most factories are placed, versus the cost of road transport from somewhere in the UK, will be drastically different. The biggest cost is the import tax placed on goods shipped from China. This will be an area of uncertainty with the current Brexit negotiations in place. In addition, the distance from here to the far east will obviously increase your delivery prices.

There is then the factor of time. If you are looking for a quick lead time on a project, then the far-east import option is not for you. Not only is there the time it takes to actually transport the goods to the UK but there is also all the added time with customs checks and paperwork that is required before you will receive the items. Think about the sales that you are going to miss out on every time you don’t have the ability to meet those ‘last minute’ project time requirements.

Chinese Manufacturing is known to work with far lower profit margins than their western equivalents – just ask Apple why their iPhone is manufactured over there. China can mass produce the iPhone far cheaper than any American electronics manufacturer hands down. This means they can ship massive quantities across the globe in a cost-effective manner. For those of us that don’t run a corporation like Apple, what if your requirements are for smaller quantities or one-offs? The chances are they won’t be able to accommodate your orders or you will have to pay far higher rates than any local manufacturer to get them shipped over.

Quality:

I think it’s fair to say ‘Made in China’ has some negative connotations and it’s for a good reason.  A particular case of this in China was when they started adding the element boron to their steel mix. The boron was found to cause the welds to crack. This would be potentially catastrophic if the deck were holding any products or if any warehouse staff were nearby.

The biggest difference is in the steel. For example, we use a steel with a rating of S280 which means that the steel has a structural yield of 280 n/mm². In the Far East, the typical rating is only at S230 and our Director has even seen them as low as S195. Any material that we import, we make sure that we either test it ourselves or send off for testing. This has paid dividend when, back in February, we tested some steel from a new potential supplier, but it came back at a much lower grade than they were claiming.

All of the wire that creates our decks comes from approved sources in Europe that are tested regularly and have a tensile strength of 700MPa. The cheap wire from the far east only tested at 510MPa. It means that if we choose to use a material with softer properties such as a cheaper wire, we would get more elasticity from our product. If we combine this with a softer support bar material such as a S230 you would see a great level of deflection in the product under load.

If you would like to know more, get in contact with one of our team.

Warehouse Automation – Providing a safe future

Warehouse Automation – Providing a safe future

If you Cast your mind back 10 years, It is strange to think of a world where robots are running our warehouses; but fast-forward to now, this is very much a reality. Warehouse Automation is just around the corner and its possibilities are endless. However, the correct infrastructure would still need to be in place to protect the remaining workforce and your products along with helping the automation to work effectively.

What is warehouse automation and where is it heading?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is going to head up the whole process of switching to an automated warehouse. AI will offer warehouse managers the ability to stock, pick and manage the inventory of the largest warehouse with minimal human interaction. Data will continually flow through a database management system as all aspects of the warehouse will have to be in constant communication for it to work efficiently. This means, at any point, an operative could have a total stock check, for example, whenever they require.

The main benefits of automation:

  • Reduced labour costs (by up to 70%)
  • Reduced human error
  • Seamless flow from a sale to fulfilment
  • No human lives at risk
  • Reduced product damage
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Remove bottlenecks from supply chain

There is, however, a large amount of scepticism around trusting robots to do the job; we all know how technology can be so how can we possibly place all our trust in it?

Well the trust will only come with using this kind of technology in practise so to put your mind at ease, here is how our systems could help manage any worry that may come with automating your warehouse.

rackGUARDIAN™:

The rackGUARDIAN™ is an anti-collapse mesh that sits behind your pallet racking system creating a safe barrier between the back of the rack and the walkway behind it. In the instance of automation, if a robot should miss judge loading or unloading a product, it will not be pushed off the back of the system. This will protect anyone walking past from falling objects and protect products from getting damaged.

The rackGUARDIAN™ behind the racking systems will also create a network of walkways (or driveways) around the warehouse. This means that it is easy to design tracks around the warehouse for the new AI robots to follow.

storGUARD™:

The automated warehouse system is not going to come cheap and will be a relatively complex programme which you would not want untrained professionals having access too. With this, our storGUARD™ would provide the perfect barrier to host any programming software behind a locked cage system. This could also provide a safe space for bots during periods of recharging or inactivity.

So don’t get left behind, check out this video inside Amazon’s automated fulfilment centre to learn more. And if you decide to take the leap, let us help you make it a safe one.

Creating an agile warehouse with QTS

Creating an agile warehouse with QTS

To those of us in the logistics and warehousing industries, being agile will have a slightly different meaning to those who watch too much David Attenborough. However, the premise remains the same; being able to move quickly and easily. But what doe having an agile warehouse mean?

Why is agility important to warehouse management?

Ultimately, for any business in todays climate, you need to be competitive to remain an avid contender in the market and one way to achieve this is through fast and efficient delivery of products. Creating the shortest lead time possible is going to increase the probability of a customer choosing you over one of your competitors. There is also the benefit of organisation within an agile warehouse. When it comes to fulfilling orders, it should be easy for your operatives to locate and access the products that need to go out. A disorganised warehouse will increase the time it takes to fulfil an order and could result in late charges depending on the contract you have with the customers.

How can QTS help improve warehouse agility?

QTS has a range of products that will help keep your warehouse organised which is perfect for optimising agility but below are a few key designs you may not know about.

easySHELF™ – Central ridge:
The central ridge design has been adapted from our regular waterfall easySHELF™ system with a small ridge in the centre of it. The bonus of this is that you are then able to load and unload the bay from either side without the products pushing anything off on the other side or getting mixed up. This solution is generally better for smaller boxes as it will have to fit onto ½ the normal space we offer on the standard easySHELF™ waterfall decks.

easySHELF™ – Upturn Deck:
The upturn deck is again an adaptation of our waterfall deck but instead of a waterfall at the rear, it has an upturn. This means that if you are loading pallets on from the front, the risk of the warehouse operator pushing it on too far and the stock falling out the back. This would run the risk of having damaged stock which will in turn reduce profit margins and potentially increase lead times.

easyDIVIDERS™:
Our mesh partitions are a great addition to any of our easySHELF™ mesh decks. It is the perfect way to divide the deck into sections to split up products to improve stock organisation and thus agility. For example, in a clothing warehouse, you may use the dividers to split different sizes of stock stopping them mixing in together. This would also be complimented by using our powder coating finish to create a smoother deck. Read about our finishes here.

If you are interested in becoming an agile warehouse, then get in contact with one of our specialists today for a quote.

With the weather getting colder, its time for a new coat!

With the weather getting colder, its time for a new coat!

Much like you would not choose to wear an anorak in the Arctic, you would not leave your steel mesh decks un-coated. An un-finished mesh deck would not be up to the job. At QTS, we take pride in providing you with the best possible warehouse solution, which is why we have a range of finishes available depending on your needs.

How do I know what coating I need?

Have a look below at the 3 finishes that we offer and see what benefits they can offer you to help you make your decision.

The benefits of our standard coating: Pre-galvanised

  1. Pre-galv is the most cost-efficient way to have your easySHELF™ finished.
  2. Reduced lifetime costs. The molten zinc, which forms the basis of the finish, can form a strong bond with steel, the material which our mesh decks are produced from. This means that maintenance costs will be reduced in the long run
  3. The pre-galvanised finish can be easily separated with a large amount of heat applied to it; once it is back into a liquid form, then it can be used to coat another deck.
  4. By finishing our products in pre-galv, we are protecting the steel against damage. This means that in the long run, you will not have to spend as much money to fix or replace the decks as regularly.

What other coatings are available and why would I need them?

Powder coated:

Benefits are as above with the addition of…

  1. Aesthetically pleasing. Powder coated finish provides a clean looking mesh deck which is perfect for those clean warehouses that have lots of visitors. We can also offer any colour on the RAL colour wheel to add that personalised touch.
  2. The coating removes sharp edges. Mainly useful for warehouses where staff are hand-picking items, the powder coat eliminates all the sharp edges creating a safe environment for your workers.
Hot-dipped:

Benefits are the same as the pre-galv with the addition of…

  1. Extra protection. The hot dipped option is perfect if you have damp conditions or require storage outside. The additional finish can withstand moisture much better than the other two options.

 

If you would like to know more about any of the finishes that we offer, then get in contact with one of our professionals today. 

You can also read some of our other blog here or keep in contact with us over on LinkedIn.

Improving your sustainability, one rack at a time

Improving your sustainability, one rack at a time

Would you believe that only 5% of the worlds land mass remains untouched by humans? At QTS, we are concerned for the planet’s wellbeing but also your products and staff safety. We know that sometimes it can be difficult to get the right mixture of cost efficiency and sustainability, but we think that we can help to alleviate some of this burden.

The population increase rate of the world is currently around 1.05%. This does not sound like much but that could push the world’s population over the 8 billion mark. Naturally, this increase in population is going to cause an increase in demand over time.  If we look at the consumer spending for evidence of this then you will see that between 2014 and 2019 consumer spending increased by over 80%. Of course, as businesses, this is exciting. However, it does bring about the problem of not having the capability to house this much stock.

How can you become more sustainable in your warehouse?

The space saving answer  is to stack warehouses high by using multiple racks on top of one another. There are some risks associated with this. What if the decks collapse? What if something falls and causes injuries? Well, by using a wire mesh deck in combination with an anti-collapse wiring will help to combat both issues. And we have the perfect 2 products that can be completely tailored to your needs:

easySHELF logoEasySHELF:
easySHELF Wire Mesh Decks are a low weight, high strength wire mesh decking system that is suitable for storing palletised goods or single units in a secure and simple way.

Constructed from fusion welded steel in various configurations, the easySHELF surface is on average 70% permeable. This reduces the gathering of dust, whilst at the same time allowing light and water from sprinklers to penetrate lower levels. Designed with a waterfall design front and rear the easySHELF is secured safely into place with no additional fixings for rapid and straightforward installations.

rackGUARDIANrackGUARDIAN:
RackGUARDIAN Anti-Collapse Mesh (ACM) is a High-Strength Steel panelled protection system, which protects your workforce from serious injury or harm from falling product stored at height.

Mounted to the rear of a pallet racking system using a universal bracket, panels are configured in a brickwork pattern and installed to create a strong mesh screen capable of absorbing impacts up to 2500 joules.

How can steel possibly contribute to the sustainability of your company?

I know what you are thinking, how can steel possibly be in any way sustainable? Well firstly, by building upwards, you are saving space. Natural areas are often cut down and flattened to make space for these big warehouse spaces; by building upwards you can potentially triple of quadruple the amount of storage per meter squared.

Secondly, a common misconception is that the wooden structure alternatives would be better suited from a sustainability point of view. However, wood is a single use material; this means that once the decking is finished with, it will be burnt or left to rot. The burning of the wood releases all the CO2 that is stored in the wood. If you compare the span of steel to wood, then you may have to replace the wood 3 or 4 times which is a lot of c02 that gets released.

Steel is also the world’s most recycled material. Once business have finished with our easySHELF, it is melted down and reformed into more mesh decking. The steel used in the construction of warehouses across the UK has a recycle rate of around 90%. Our main supplier of steel produces a majority of its product through recycling used steel.

If you would like to help us save the planet and improve you sustainability, then get in contact with one of our dedicated sales team today here.

The easySHELF – A superior wire mesh deck solution

The easySHELF – A superior wire mesh deck solution

In a world where the population is rapidly increasing, and space is diminishing quicker than we can get you a quote (which is very quick), it is becoming increasingly important that we find solutions to maximise the space of our warehouses. The obvious answer – build upwards. This, of course, comes with its own difficulties, but the one that we are most concerned with here at QTS is the safety of your products and staff.  This way we have designed our easySHELF™; a wire mesh deck system to help store your goods safely.

The solution to this problem is to layer up multiple shelves but to do this you are going to need something to support the products. The common solution is to use wooden slats between the beams to rest the products on so that they don’t fall through and become damaged. Having the decking also helps to provide extra support for heavier goods that would otherwise not be able to be supported by the beams alone. All pretty simple so far, right?

The common mistake though (which we have many bespoke solutions for) is that companies will often opt for wooden decking because the initial upfront costs are cheaper than the steel metal mesh alternatives.  I know what you are thinking, “saving on set up costs doesn’t sound like a bad thing”, well in this instance, it is. The solution is to use a wire mesh deck replacement, like our easySHELF, and here is why…

The easySHELF, the superior solution:

  1. Wood is weaker. By only using a 4mm steel wire, QTS have been able to create the mesh frame which, combined with a choice of our support bars, can hold up to 1500kg.
  2. The easySHELF can deal with moisture. We know it isn’t always possible to keep everything dry, especially if you have to receive a delivery in bad weather. A wooden decking would become damp and when wood gets damp it becomes weaker which means you are potentially risking the safety of your products. This also means that our easySHELF is perfect for storage outside and the strength will not be compromised.
  3. The easySHELF is fire safe. As a result of its mesh design, the easySHELF allows water to penetrate through to all the levels. This is extremely effective in fire safety as the fire can be put out right at the bottom of the unit. This means it would also make your insurance cheaper so thus cheaper in the long run. If you want to improve your safety even further, then you could add the rackGUARDIAN to your system to improve safety for your staff.
  4. easySHELF is simple and easy to install. The wire mesh decking has a waterfall design which makes constructing each bay very simple; all you need to do is drop the deck onto the beams and you are done.
  5. They are easy to maintain. With the easySHELF, you can have a variety of coatings on the wires which helps the wires be almost maintenance-free. At QTS, we offer a Zinc finish which adds the benefit of being chip-proof. Our mesh decks are also rust-free allowing you to know your mesh decks will always be in tip-top condition.

Now, there are a lot of different varieties of the easySHELF that we produce right here in the UK and we even offer bespoke versions to cater to your needs. We know this could seem a bit daunting but luckily, we have a team of experts just on the other end of the phone (or email if you prefer) who can help take your warehouse to the next level.