The pandemic has affected most aspects of life this year, from a personal as well as a business point of view. A challenge for wholesale and retail operations has been keeping the supply chain going and ensuring availability of stock.

A further major issue for warehousing and logistics operations is the soaring growth in e-commerce. According to the Office for National Statistics, online sales in the UK in July 2020, as a percentage of total retail sales, was 28.1% compared to 18.7% during the same period last year. This represents an almost 50% increase year on year. Online sales are unlikely to drop back to pre-Covid levels, so warehousing space will continue to be at an all-time premium. Choosing the right material handling equipment (MHE) can make a vast difference to operations; using forklifts that can maximise the footprint of current storage facilities can avoid the expense and headache involved in looking for elusive extra premises.

Irish manufacturer Combilift supplies a wide range of handlings solutions, all of which are specifically designed to make the most of every inch of space. The company’s Aisle Master articulated models can work in very narrow aisles of only 1.6m and have reach heights of 15m. Compared with other types of forklifts such as reach or counterbalance trucks, which typically operate in aisle widths of 3.5m, this can increase storage capacity by 50%. The company’s pedestrian stacker trucks also work in much narrower confines than other walk behind brands. This is in part due to the patented and award-winning multi-position tiller arm, which enables the operator to work at the side of the unit rather than at the rear. This not only enables aisle widths to be narrowed down, but the excellent visibility also offers very safe operation in areas where other personnel are present.

Combilift also offers a free warehouse planning service that includes racking layout proposals and storage density calculations.

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