Welcome to our fourth quarterly Back of Store feature for 2013. As Christmas nears, the pressure is on multiple grocers to stay stocked in all departments, raising the heat in the back of the store and the rest of the supply chain.

chazThe multiples lead UK industry in investing in warehousing and logistics, served by a host of specialist equipment and service providers. As reported in this feature, frozen warehouse provider Partner Logistics’ £42million facility in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, is Britain’s biggest deep freeze warehouse and prides itself on its high levels of energy efficiency, automation, accuracy and a value engineered service. It was recently a finalist in the Warehouse Operations category in the CILT Awards, recognising innovation in logistics and transport.

In a separate report we hear from ISD Solutions, the UK’s leading specialist in cold store design and construction, about their involvement in Partner Logistics’ Wisbech facility. ISD built the warehouse using 36,000m2 of composite panels with a single ply fully adhered membrane, over a steel frame. The building is a state-of-the-art, fully automated high-bay frozen warehouse, operating at -25ºC. What’s different is the single envelope construction, a step change from traditional frozen store building techniques. It promises significant advantages in capital investment and lifetime running costs, and the high bay design needs four or five times less land.

For further savings, DANLERS’ Batten Mount PIR Occupancy controls offer a quick fix, low cost way to reduce rising energy costs. Ideal for switching lights off when not required and with energy savings of up to 50%, the payback period is kept to a minimum. Kite Packaging has developed an air cushion system that will address an overwhelming gap in the market. Businesses that would benefit from using air cushions but couldn’t previously justify the expense have been introduced to the Mini Air, the UK’s lowest priced air cushion unit, retailing at just £599. And EyeNut from Harvard Engineering gives store managers unsurpassed control of their lighting levels, from front of house accent lighting to back of house energy saving systems. This ingenious lighting solution gives supermarkets, co-ops and convenience stores ultimate control over their lighting output, saving energy, reducing CO2 emissions and showcasing products in the best possible light.

We also hear from Middleton Engineering’s Mark Smith, who points out that in busy warehouse environments feed conveyors are frequently an afterthought, but there are important factors to consider to ensure productivity isn’t compromised.

On the warehouse equipment front, we have details of Doosan’s new lease purchase and contract hire deal, offering three months’ free forklift use. In other news, EnerSys’s new compact Hawker XFC powerbloc and powerbloc dry batteries are designed for smaller motive power applications needing excellent performance and long running times with reduced operating costs and enhanced sustainability. They are suitable for pallet trucks, cleaning machines, AGVs and other electric vehicles. And Crown Lift Trucks has developed a remote control with a difference for its order pickers, transforming low-level order picking. Promising enhanced productivity and less operator fatigue, the QuickPick™ Remote Advance is attached to an open glove worn by the operator to advance the truck to the next picking location, avoiding having to mount, drive and dismount the machine.

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