Welcome to The Grocery Trader’s May Back of Store feature, looking at warehousing and logistics solutions for the grocery supply chain.

With high volumes of palletised stock needing to be moved around day in day out on pallets in supermarkets and distribution centres, the pressure is on multiple grocers to run their forklift and warehouse truck fleets as efficiently and cleanly as possible. In hygienic working environments involving food battery powered trucks are the obvious choice, but with warehouse trucks working long shifts, one of the biggest operational concerns is battery changing and charging.

Conventional lead-acid batteries take time to charge and need to be swapped over between shifts. On top of which, these batteries have a finite working life. That’s all changed now, with Linde MH introducing lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery technology into their range.

These maintenance-free batteries have already proved their worth in a range of grocery-related applications, including cold storage and food logistics. Not only that, 60% of charge is restored after just 40 minutes and full charge in 90 minutes.

With a guaranteed 2,500 recharging cycles, Linde’s new range of Li-ion batteries have been proven to last twice as long as conventional lead acid batteries, and are still functioning after reaching the end of their guaranteed service life. With 75% of their original storage capacity still available, the battery can be used for up to 10 years or longer, offering higher energy density and providing more power from the same physical size of battery.

Another imperative is for trucks to work in a smaller footprint, particularly in high density racking areas such as cold stores. As mentioned in this feature, Aisle- Master’s 20SE cold store spec narrow aisle truck enables end users to achieve as much as 30% extra storage space compared to traditional forklifts – and the end user potentially needs only half the amount of forklifts.

Omnichannel grocery retailing is becoming more of a battleground between the big supermarkets, the discounters and new entrants like Amazon. What they all have in common is the necessity to gird up their operations with the best possible IT solutions. In this issue we have a case study from CSBSystem, who have been helping leading German supermarket supply chain EDEKA save time and money by optimising the supply chain logistics at its sites in Meckenheim and Essen IT solution.

Finally, securing pallet loads is a major area of concern for everyone involved in transporting goods by road. Kite Packaging is playing a major role in transforming pallet strapping best practice with its new range of high quality corded polyester traps for securing heavy loads, which is stronger than standard polypropylene or polyester strapping.

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