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Investment in the right mezzanine and flooring can future-proof any warehousing operation, allowing sites to cope with increased levels of e-commerce, automation, use of robotics and the impact of a global pandemic writes Christopher Walton. Before Covid-19 hit, demand for warehouse automation had been driven by a combination of labour shortages and e-commerce growth. Now, and remarkably quickly, that dynamic has changed. E-commerce has served society over the past few weeks in the same way as a public utility, meaning that the warehouses that support online sales are not just optional, but essential. The immediate impact of Covid-19 on how we live and work has been striking and the long-term effects are likely to be significant says Scott Chambers, MD of MiTek Mezzanine Systems: “The lockdown environment and closure of non-food shops brought about a spike in e-commerce volumes that warehouse operators struggled to meet. “What does this mean for mezzanine floors? Evidence in recent years from our subsidiary in Germany – one of the largest e-commerce markets in Europe – as well as here in the UK shows huge demand for mezzanines. “This demand is principally fuelled by the need for greater fulfilment footprint to handle the profile of e-commerce orders, as well as the higher levels of returns that accompany them. And, with low vacancy rates in UK warehousing, many e-commerce retailers have relied on mezzanine suppliers to maximise space utilisation in their existing buildings. So, expect demand for mezzanines to grow significantly with the rise in e-commerce sales.” Design for automation Chambers says that if you are investing in a mezzanine, you want to be sure it is fit for the future. A major consideration, he says, must be to ensure that the mezzanine is designed to accommodate automated handling equipment. E-commerce requirements for single-item picking […]
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