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.