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Factory Relocation Health and Safety Industry Guides Latest News Machinery Relocation

Three Trends Driving Change in the Warehousing Sector

The pandemic has prompted a lot of rhetoric about change in many industries, but in the warehousing sector, Covid-19 has escalated trends that were already prompting rapid growth.

At AIS Vanguard, we offer the specialist lifting, moving and installation services needed to support and facilitate that growth. Here we explore three of the key trends affecting the industry and how we’re working with customers to help them adapt, expand and remain agile.

  1. The e-Commerce Explosion

e-Commerce has been gaining ground on bricks and mortar retail for the past two decades and we have seen growth in the warehousing sector to accommodate stockholding for online retailers. The rise of the mega warehouse used by online marketplaces and e-commerce fulfilment companies has been a particular feature of the sector, with stockholding, pick and pack and dispatch facilities all requiring specific equipment and layout considerations.

It’s a fast-moving segment of the warehousing sector and our role is often to deploy our specialist expertise and lifting equipment to respond quickly to changing needs. This may involve operators anticipating spikes in demand or responding to seasonal variations, for example, and our teams are often called upon to install or reposition racking, reconfigure warehouse facilities to optimise layouts or move packing lines as spatial layouts and operational needs change.

Installation and reconfiguration of automation systems is another key area of the support we offer to the sector. With our lifting and moving expertise, along with our mechanical and electrical engineering teams, we can deliver turnkey robot installation projects, allowing operators to drive efficiency

2. Supply Chain Resilience

Covid-19 highlighted the fragility of global supply chains and subsequent events, including end of the Brexit transition phase and the stranded container in the Suez Canal, have prompted a re-think about supply chain resilience.

For many companies, particularly in the manufacturing sector, this has prompted an investment in increased warehousing capacity to store both incoming goods and materials, and outgoing products. We have been supporting companies as they have transitioned to increased warehousing capacity by assisting with fit-out of their new facilities. We are able to operate as principal contractor with full CDM responsibility, enabling customers to fast track fit out of new warehousing facilities or reconfigure existing assets with machinery and equipment moves, installation and full mechanical and electrical engineering.

3. Capacity Optimisation

With so much demand for warehousing accommodation, there is also a need to optimise the capacity of existing assets. This often involves reconfiguring the warehouse, installing high bay racking, moving to very narrow aisle (VNA) layouts and introducing robots.

With our expertise in project management, we are helping companies to carry out phased transformation programmes at existing warehouse facilities. This enables our customer to maintain stockholding and business as usual operations in priority areas of the accommodation, before decanting equipment and stock across as we move on to the next phase. We can carry out turnkey projects, including temporary modifications to the building for ingress and egress of equipment, heavy lifting and moving and full mechanical and electrical services, including robot installation.

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Factory Relocation Health and Safety Industry Guides Latest News Machinery Relocation

Rewarding Excellence Builds on Your Customer Experience

Here at AIS Vanguard, we know that ‘thank you’ is one of the most powerful words in any language. Not only does it communicate appreciation, it also encourages and motivates people because they feel valued and rewarded for their efforts.

It is a simple principle, but one that underpins our exceptional service levels to customers. Why? Because rewarding our team for a job well done is an integral part of our people strategy, ensuring every member of staff is committed to giving 100% to their role, whether they are on site or office-based.

It was that philosophy that prompted us to launch our Excellence Awards scheme, an initiative that sees our CEO, Matt Ainscough, single out the achievements of a few members of the AIS Vanguard team every month. Each Excellence Award is both a reward and recognition within the business that the recipient has gone above and beyond, demonstrated exceptional skills or supported their colleagues. The awards scheme is aligned to our core values, rewarding teamwork, commitment, attention to detail and hard work and recognising colleagues that have delivered our values of firness and a no nonsense approach.

Usually, our Excellence Awards scheme rewards 3-4 people each month, but, during March, the exceptional performance across the team and consistently outstanding customer feedback prompted Matt to reward every member of staff in an unprecedented whole team Excellence Award bonanza.

Matt Explained: “We have been extremely busy and the teams have worked incredibly hard, overcoming the continuing challenges of Covid-19 to provide outstanding levels of service to customers and demonstrate professionalism and dedication.

“The performance and customer comments we have seen over the past month have made us very proud and I can’t thank the team enough. I wanted everyone to have an Excellence Award so they can treat themselves for their hard work. I am very proud that our team consistently showcases our core values across everything they do.”

As AIS Vanguard continues to grow and work closely with customers to help them navigate complex operational and commercial challenges, the power of a sincere thank you will continue to be a cornerstone of how we operate. Our service commitment depends on the skills, commitment and can-do approach of our people and by creating a community that rewards achievement we have developed a loyal and motivated team.

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Factory Relocation Health and Safety Industry Guides Latest News Machinery Relocation

Spring is here so it’s time to plan summer shut down machinery moves

We may still be in Q1, but we’re racing through the calendar. After the turmoil of COVID-19 and Brexit, it has never been more important to optimise efficiency by ensuring all your machinery maintenance, decommissioning and installation work takes place during your summer shut down window.

At AIS Vanguard, we are experts in planning factory reconfiguration, machinery removals and machine installation programmes around our customers’ operational needs. The earlier the planning process begins, the more effective we can be in phasing heavy lifting and moving requirements around your operational needs and your mission-critical deadlines.

This year, after the disruption of the pandemic, your summer shut down industrial services requirements may be different from previous years. It may be that your machinery has been run for longer operational hours to accommodate additional shifts due to social distancing or increased output requirements. Alternatively, you may have mothballed some machines due to a drop in demand and be faced with decisions about whether to recommission or remove this equipment during your summer shut down.

Whatever the commercial and operational challenges facing you for this year’s summer shut down, our experience of managing complex industrial services schedules during shut down windows means we can help. And the earlier we get involved, the easier it is for our expert teams to advise you on phasing activity, managing risk and prioritising activity.

Here are just some of the ways we can help

  • Will you need diversions or modifications to electrical and mechanical services to accommodate machinery moves, decommissioning or new equipment installation? We can carry these out in advance of the shut down period, without business interruption, to maximise the heavy lifting and installation activities that can be done during the shutdown window.
  • Can all of the maintenance, decommissioning and installation activity you would like to do during your summer shut down be achieved within the time frame? We can help you plan a realistic timetable with a critical path that will help you prioritise and identify any work that can be done in advance.
  • If you’re installing new equipment during the shut down period, are you certain that delivery dates will be aligned to your decommissioning, M&E services modifications and reconfiguration requirements? We can liaise with equipment suppliers to ensure all activity is co-ordinated and completed on time.
  • Are there egress challenges for removing machinery for maintenance or decommissioning? We can provide full CDM for any temporary changes to your building for machinery removal and, thanks to our wide range of lifting equipment, we may be able to design a lift that minimises disruption by utilising one of our Megalift hydraulic gantry systems.
  • Are there are health and safety or commercial risk factors specific to your requirements and your site? Our team can work with you to develop a bespoke risk assessment and method statement for all activity during your summer shut down period, ensuring the programme runs smoothly as soon as the shutdown period begins.

Get in touch now to optimise the benefits of your summer shut down

With an evolving commercial landscape and pressures on operators to maximise operational efficiency, this year’s summer shut down is more critical than ever for many businesses. There are just 4-5 months to go before the critical shut down period, if you need help to plan and implement business critical maintenance, reconfiguration, decommissioning or installation projects, we can help.

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Factory Relocation Health and Safety Industry Guides Latest News Machinery Relocation

Spend it or Lose It – How to Make Sure You Maximise the Value of Your Capex Budget

Spring has been a long time coming this year. Now that we’re nearing the end of Q1, however, the new financial year is fast approaching, which means that capex budgets will refresh. Often the coming year’s budget is allocated based on what you’ve spent this year, so, to secure an increase, or ringfence your capex budget at the same level as the current year, it’s essential to commit any money still available in this year’s pot. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend it all at once.

At AIS Vanguard, part of the industrial services expertise we offer to customers across sectors as diverse as manufacturing, energy, petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals and defence, is our ability to help you plan phased programmes ahead of time. In this way, we can advise you on how to maximise the potential of your capex budgets to achieve your objectives over the course of the year, while enabling you to hold back a contingency for unexpected expenses.

Our heavy machinery lifting and moving services, decommissioning, installation and mechanical and electrical expertise mean that we can provide a full turn-key service for all your requirements, whatever your plans, throughout the year. That includes equipment moves for maintenance, asset realisation or asset rationalisation programmes. We can also help with machinery installation and removal projects, including logistics and CDM.

At this time of year, if there is money remaining in your capex budget it pays to think ahead about projects that could benefit your facilities or your business over the next few months, and consider what can be done or booked in now to maximise your resources and your capex budget allocation. It may be that reconfiguring your equipment, removing a redundant asset or modifying electrical and mechanical services now will help with productivity or cost-efficiency over the coming year. And, of course, as we look forward to moving out of the restrictions prompted by the pandemic, amending social distancing, team bubble and split shift strategies that had to be implemented for infection control may also involve heavy lifting and machinery moving elements.

At AIS Vanguard, our expert team of industrial services project managers are here to help you identify the practical requirements of implementing your commercial and operational plans. That includes optimising your capex budget and ensuring spend is allocated within the financial year to help you retain your capex budget for next year. It also includes phasing the activity to reduce risk and minimise downtime, while helping you maximise the value of your capex budget. If you’d like to talk to us about how we could help, get in touch with our team today.

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Factory Relocation Health and Safety Latest News Machinery Relocation

Our Operational Controls Deliver Your Peace of Mind

When you’re relying on your industrial services partner to provide a safe and reliable service that minimises risk and maximises operational efficiency, accreditations count. Which is why we ensure our operational control certification is up to date at all times here at AIS Vanguard.

Over the past couple of months, we have been busy responding to customers’ annual compliance check requests to ensure they have all the latest data from us ready to get projects moving as quickly and smoothly as possible as and when they need us. But operational controls and compliance is much more than a box ticking exercise for us; it’s an ongoing responsibility and one that we take very seriously. For us, compliance with the various accreditations we hold provides an opportunity for continuous improvement and performance monitoring, which means our customers can always trust us to offer them the highest standards of health and safety, quality management and environmental controls.

This year, things are a little different. Due to social distancing requirements, we cannot invite auditors to site to carry out the formal review of our QESH (quality, environment, safety & health) performance and renew our ISO accreditations. But we are certainly not going to let that stop us from completing the audit process or from reviewing our own performance and looking for opportunities to improve.

The audit process for our ISO 9001 (quality assurance) ISO14001 (environmental management) and ISO 45001 (occupational health) accreditations will be done online this year, with an auditor reviewing our documentation and interviewing our team virtually, via video calls. It will be a little different than usual but no less robust. Our team has been busy preparing all the documentation needed to demonstrate the ways in which we are continuously improving both our systems and our practice.

It’s an important element of our business and our commitment to customers. We often work in demanding and hazardous environments which require a best practice approach to health and safety from our team, along with an understanding of the individual safety challenges and policies for each site. For heavy complex and technical lifts, heavy machinery lifting, equipment moves and electrical and mechanical engineering in industrial environments, a small mistake could have huge consequences for safety, environmental controls or the integrity of the asset. That’s why we put so much emphasis on policy, procedure and best practice, which are constantly updated as part of our ISO compliance activity.

The audit comes around once a year, but the focus on these areas is constant. Our commitment on every project is to carry out a bespoke method statement and risk assessment and to follow best practice QESH processes for every machinery lifting, equipment moving, decommissioning and installation project. From a one-off lift to a complete factory relocation project, our operational controls mean the same high standards are always met. And our accreditations ensure those standards are measurable, transparent and accountable.

If you’d like to know more about our accreditations or need us to complete a PQQ as a first step in working with you, get in touch.

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Health and Safety News

Health & Safety: An AIS Vanguard Priority

For over 40-years AIS Vanguard have assisted companies in multiple sectors and during each and every one of these jobs, health and safety has been and remains at the heart of the operation. 

Implementing Health and Safety

Here at AIS Vanguard, health and safety is embedded in everything we do. Whether that’s machinery removal, factory relocation or machinery installation, we take a meticulous planning approach to every project to ensure both our team and clients are safe throughout. Every project undertaken is carried out in line wiht a risk assessment, method statement, compiled with site specific considerations of equipment and personnel involved. 

Our teams are fully trained in health and safety and regularly review and refresh that knowledge to ensure they can continue to deliver best practices AIS Vanguard have become known for over the years and they’re always in line with our policies and customer expectations. 

We’re fully committed to health and safety across all levels of the AIS Vanguard business. Our written policies include coverage for areas as diverse as: 

  • Emergency planning 
  • Ceasing work due to on-site hazards 
  • PPE 
  • Smoking 
  • Drugs and alcohol
  • Modern slavery 
  • Corporate and social responsibility (CSR)

Each one of these policies is regularly reviewed and are applied to all activities across all locations we operate in. 

Our Third Gold RoSPA

Over a 4-year course of testing, we’ve been awarded with a silver and three gold RoSpa awards in a row. 

RoSPA helps to provide risk management for people at work and beyond. RoSPA gold is the highest driving standard available and holders operate to the highest level. Achiving this demonstrates our efforts in safety and this simply wouldn’t be possible without the attention to detail in every project and our team’s dedication and effort. 

We’re proud to have an impeccable safety record, alongside trusted safety accreditations meaning our customers can rely on us to apply the highest levels of health and safety in all our projects at all times. 

Get in Touch

Health and safety is an absolute must in all our operations, its paramount to ensuring both our team and clients are safe at all times. 

To learn more about what AIS Vanguard can do for your business, get in touch by calling 01257 411111 or alternatively, fill out our Contact Form and we’ll get back to you.