With a shortage of good quality warehousing space in sight, occupiers are using specialist equipment to maximise the use of their existing property assets, says Paul Murray, JCB’s Teletruk General Manager. It’s no secret that warehousing facilities are in short supply, and the demand for new units and rental prices are expected to increase due to the lack of quality stock available to online customers. In a recent survey commissioned by property consultants, Savills, two-thirds of warehouse or distribution centre occupiers said they needed more space.
However, the supply of new-build warehouse space has remained static in most regions, due to planning policies restricting the construction of much-needed storage facilities. With no let-up in the scarcity of good quality warehousing in sight, occupiers are turning to technology that allows them to make the most of their existing space. While a great amount of resources is spent planning the internal design and layout of a store to optimise pallet capacity, the efficient use of outside space is often overlooked during the process.
Now though, this is changing as more own-account warehouse operators and third-party logistics specialists begin to realise the true potential of their external capacity – working to optimise every square metre of space. With it’s telescopic reach, JCB’s Teletruk has been designed to enable users to leverage their outside storage space. Designed with the ability to access curtainsided trailers from only one side, Teletruk can reduce the amount of floorspace needed to load and unload pallets by almost 30%, typically freeing up some 32m2 of yard space per vehicle. Using the technology to pick or pack pallets from one side means that a curtainsider requires just 6m of space to be loaded or unloaded, allowing trailers to be parked tight to a wall, leaving valuable space free for additional storage, delivery vehicles or tasks such as cross-docking.
For some clients, cramped yard space can create serious disruptions and make operations inefficient, with some contractors having to physically move cars from the company’s staff car park each time a trailer of goods arrives. With an average trailer measuring some 3m wide, it can be necessary for forklift trucks to use all the available yard space to manoeuvre safely around the vehicle, which can be very problematic for businesses. However, the introduction of a single Teletruk can help companies reconfigure its goods in and out processes in a more space efficient way.
On average, the Teletruk loads or unloads each delivery in around 30 minutes, eliminating any distractions or inconveniences that could slow operational efficiency, such as having to repeatedly rearrange vehicles. At all sites, loading and unloading a trailer from just one side delivers significant safety benefits.
Making the working environment safer, Teletruks remove the need for unnecessary vehicle movements, processing tasks and reconfiguring outdoor yards to allow trailers to park against a boundary wall. ‘Blind’ forklift travel – where a lift truck operator emerges from the side of a parked trailer into what is often a busy area – is also eliminated.
In addition, while the location of the mast on a conventional lift truck can compromise forward visibility, the JCB Teletruk’s telescopic boom is mounted on the side, allowing the operator a clear view of its environment.
So, if you’ve done all you can to maximise efficiency within your warehouse, maybe now is the time to consider the gains that can be made by optimising the layout and performance of your outside space.