We are delighted to announce that the parent company of Brandsafe, IWS Group (The Industrial Workspace Specialists), has acquired The Rack Group – a leading provider of pallet racking safety, inspection, repair and maintenance solutions.
Established for over 40 years as the UK’s leading pallet racking safety specialist, The Rack Group provides a unique combination of services – including inspection, repair, maintenance and training – and innovative products and solutions that guard, secure and maintain racking.
The Rack Group is reputable for its unique ability to deliver high quality and speedy service to some of the largest brands in the warehousing, storage, logistics and retail sectors. Its racking protection product, Rack Armour, is used extensively throughout warehouses and distribution centres across the globe.
What does this mean for Brandsafe and its customers?
Brandsafe and the wider IWS Group family is continuing to grow. The addition of The Rack Group to our family of specialist businesses further strengthens our resource, infrastructure and capability to provide our customers with the highest standards of service, customer care and innovation. It will also enable us to provide our valued customers with a wider breadth of service and product solutions.
We are all excited about the future, and we’re particularly keen to explore opportunities to introduce complementary services, solutions and products to our customers from our new sister company within IWS Group.
More about IWS Group
IWS Group, the Industrial Workspace Specialists, is a growing family of market-leading product brands, manufacturers and service companies, providing essential services and supplies to the logistics, material handling and other industrial sectors across Europe and beyond. Find out more at www.iws.group
Brandsafe’s sister companies in the IWS Group are Beaverswood and The Rack Group.
Beaverswood designs and manufactures innovative products that improve the safety, efficiency and sustainability of the physical workplace. The range includes site safety products, labelling and signage, 5S visual communication and waste segregation solutions. Visit: www.beaverswood.co.uk
The Rack Group is a well-established market leader of pallet racking safety services, including inspection, repair and maintenance. Its racking protection product Rack Armour is the market’s most popular upright racking leg protector and is used across the logistics, warehousing and material handling industry globally. Visit: www.therackgroup.com
Our UK Strategic Account Manager for Brandsafe, Paul Roehricht, considers the critical role aftersales care and partnership plays in delivering the highest standards of safety and protection in the warehouse and logistics environment.
It should really go without saying that taking care of your customers once you have provided and installed products is best practice and the number one priority for any supplier. But too often in the scramble to deliver and look for new customers, it can be to easy to fail to follow through or appreciate that active aftercare can be beneficial for business.
Indeed, aftersales care and support reflects a genuine insight into customer needs as well as an opportunity for a supplier to secure additional business in future: it’s been estimated that margins generated by post-sales activities can be several times higher than those of initial product sales.
Good customer service does not stop once a purchase has been made, installed and your team has left the building. It’s only right that customers investing significant sums in safety and impact protection systems – indeed, any products – deserve the highest quality service, fast and effective resolution of problems or queries, as well as a touch of added value.
Understanding demand and managing the supply chain efficiently to secure product stock levels, supported by the deployment to customer sites of skilled, well resourced service teams, who understand the nuances and critical issues on the ground when it comes to onsite installation of systems and products, are key ingredients in a recipe for getting things right first time, every time. For example, if you cannot supply customers with the right part or product when they need it, and then install properly, they will go elsewhere.
Customers will be far more satisfied if they see your demonstrable focus on service and aftercare support, too. They’re more likely to purchase from you in the future if they have a positive experience of your company and project management capabilities – they may even recommend the brand to other potential customers as a result. For most companies, better service and aftersales support boosts revenue, delivers greater profitability and inevitably creates a powerful competitive advantage for the brand. Simply put, it’s good business.
Undoubtedly, the current pandemic is re-shaping the way many organisations conduct business. And this can be reflected in the role partnership plays in areas such as project management – and how sector suppliers such as Brandsafe go the extra mile.
Suppliers and customers who adopt a partnership approach can see rewards and reap significant benefits; particularly in the warehouse and logistics industry, which has been prone to accusations of unwillingness to share best practice and engage collaboratively on safety matters to drive wholesale improvements for the benefit of all sector operators.
Supply chain collaboration has a lot to offer. Relying on your supply partner to effectively project manage critical installations, for example, can reduce costs while improving quality and service levels. As we see online sales surge as a result of the pandemic seemingly without end, many retailers and distributors are peddling fast to re-organise and invest to either upgrade or redevelop existing warehouse infrastructures, or build new multi-complexes and international distribution hubs to accommodate strategic growth and expansion.
Operators may be rightly concerned about investing at a time when managing the bottom line is crucial but, with so much current change in consumer behaviour and purchasing decisions, there is no time for businesses to rest on their laurels.
Indeed, online sales in 2020 are expected to grow 19% year-on-year, up from pre-pandemic estimates of 11%, rising from a total of £66bn in 2019 to almost £80bn this year. Some forecasters suggest UK e-commerce will grow in value by as much as £5.3bn by the end of the year. Supermarket supply chains are also seeing big surges in demand, placing additional pressure on their distribution and supply chain infrastructure.
Skilled labour, which should be utilised effectively, is a resource in short supply, whose use must be effectively deployed. Many businesses in the warehouse and logistics sector might not be able attract or retain all the skills they require to support their capital investment and redevelopment plans, or may need these skills on a more flexible basis. Working in partnership with your supplier, who will have the requisite experience and expertise in place and available for use, will add even more supply chain value and allow people to benefit from skilled resources.
Innovative approaches can be shared throughout our sector, opening up advantages and delivering benefits for all. Partnership can make things a lot easier, quicker and cheaper, helping to support your health and safety commitments as you move into new geographical areas, expand operations or enter markets to access new customers and opportunities.
It will unquestionably facilitate new dynamics in the supplier/customer relationship, paving the way to mutually beneficial commercial and operational advantages. So in a sector that constantly evolves to meet the ebb and flow of changing consumer tastes and faces challenges around keeping people safe and secure while maximising productivity, surely there’s no better time to explore partnership with your suppliers and the role it plays in delivering the highest standards of protection?
Brandsafe specialises in bespoke designed impact protection systems and solutions fordistribution centres, warehouses, and manufacturing and production facilities. The company’s innovative product range combines the versatility of polymer with the inherent strength and cost-effectiveness of steel. Brandsafe prides itself on its unmatched project and consulting expertise, which provides an unrivalled solution for companies who put safety first. Contact our expert team to see how we can help you on your project.
As warehouse and logistics operators continue to ramp up to handle the surge in online shopping, mitigating risk becomes ever more critical for a safer workplace. UK online retail sales have increased exponentially in the wake of COVID-19, with the surge in online sales showing no signs of abating. Sales are expected to grow 19% year-on-year, up from pre-pandemic estimates of 11% - rising from a total of £66bn in 2019 to almost £80bn this year. Some retail experts expect that 2020 will see domestic e-commerce trade increase in value by as much as £5.3bn. Supermarket supply chains also continue to see surges in demand, placing additional pressure on their distribution and supply chain links. Indeed, this summer online grocery sales grew 92% year-on-year in the four weeks up to 12 July 2020, increasing at a slightly faster pace than the previous four weeks despite the easing of lockdown restrictions, according to research by Kantar.
Realigning Industrial Operations
As the UK’s warehouse and logistics industry responds on multiple fronts, realigning operations and investing in additional resources to meet the impact of extra demand, sector operators must work out how to balance the need to protect workers - and limit risk in what can be a hazardous working environment - while maximising productivity. The volume of people working under one roof to shift and store goods and load / unload vehicles means that warehouses and storage facilities can be particularly risky workplaces. Annually, dozens of injuries are reported to the Health & Safety Executive; so they’re clearly dangerous environments, with hazards and risks ranging from slips and trips to people colliding with equipment, racking, corner sections and walkways. It also highlights the critical need for workplace safety if incidents and accidents are to be avoided. In addition, protecting people entering / exiting premises during shift changes must be considered if serious harm or injury is to be prevented.
In reality, safety may sometimes slip under the pressures and strains to realign operations and meet KPIs to accommodate expansion and growth, but under UK law, warehouse operators have to observe a duty of care to their workforce. In short, they must identify the health and safety risks each person faces at work - even more so during these current times where additional risk comes as businesses recruit and bring in more resources to meet demand. A duty of care comes into force when a person or group of people do something that might reasonably harm somebody, which includes the possibility of physical injury. In the context of work, duty of care is legally binding on an employer. Simply put, owners and operators must abide by what the law refers to as a standard of reasonable care, and this applies to any work-related matter where injury can occur. It’s important that a site risk assessment should be undertaken to identify critical safety issues. If not, and an employer fails to abide by their obligations, an employee may be able to proceed with a claim of negligence if a problem occurs, with all the associated financial penalties, legal costs and reputational damage.
What Is Best Practice?
What should be considered best practice when managing workplace risk? Success in managing risks is based on effective assessment: the process of evaluating the risks to workers from hazards to determine appropriate measures to eliminate, or at least reduce the level of incidents/accidents. An assessment should identify the key health and safety priorities within and around the warehouse so that efforts can be concentrated on these important areas. A thorough risk assessment will involve considering a raft of workplace factors, the dangers they may pose and who might be harmed by them. This work should involve gathering information such as current shift patterns, work arrangements and then evaluating it before an assessment to decide on the most appropriate measures and strategies to cut risk.
Improving Vehicle and Pedestrian Safety
For example, wheeled pallet trucks, racks, or trolleys can strike warehouse workers; so designated routes should be established wherever possible and marked by safety barriers and railings that are clearly visible. Here, a risk assessment will also identify what other hazards could be present. Vehicle movement in and around warehouses requires careful auditing and constant management to prevent accidents. This requires workplace traffic routes that allow pedestrians and vehicles to circulate safely. Where vehicles and pedestrians use the same traffic route, there should be adequate clearance between them and, if possible, complete separation of vehicles and pedestrians.
The racking in aisles must be organised and protected to allow for safe access to goods and movement of forklifts. The aisles should be sufficiently wide, with adequate clearance room overhead. Pedestrians and vehicles must be able to circulate in a safe manner. The areas in which forklifts operate should, if possible, should be clearly separated and marked from the areas where pedestrians are likely to be. One area where workers can be at particular risk is during shift changes. People rushing to get home at the end of the working day, not looking where they are going or accidently knocking colleagues into rails or pylons in their haste to exit the premises, can all lead to injuries and should be considered as part of any risk audit.
Good practice around managing the health and safety issues to do with shift-work should see employers carry out a suitable assessment of the associated risks as part of an organisation’s overall health and safety management procedure. You should record and review this periodically and whenever changes to working arrangements are considered or made. As well as a responsibility to the workforce, employers have a responsibility towards visitors, contractors and members of the general public. Everyone needs to be shielded as far as practically possible from accident and injury while on-site, inside and outside of buildings.
Continuous improvement should be a given when it comes to safeguarding and protecting people. An effective safety audit coupled with investment in robust and appropriate safety measures goes along way to mitigating risk. Investment in effective safety must be seen as good business.