Fashion industry logistics sewn up at IMHX

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Handling and storage solutions for hanging and flat-pack garments will feature among the many products and services at the International Materials Handling Exhibition at the NEC from 16-19 November. Here we highlight some key logistics ideas for the fashion sector, as well as showcasing fleet management solutions and the latest products in containers, pallets and packaging.
 
A number of IMHX 2010 exhibitors have specialist expertise in logistics solutions for the fashion industry. Voice-directed picking system supplier VoiteQ (stand 19J94), for example, is providing a solution for the Huddersfield warehouse of Mamas & Papas, the nursery brand. Following a successful eight-week trial over the peak Christmas period, the firm is investing in Vocollect Voice technology to increase accuracy and productivity for both the ground-floor general merchandise picking and the mezzanine clothing fulfilment.
 
Warehouse automation supplier KNAPP (stand 20D30) has recently acquired the leading German overhead conveyor systems specialist, Drkopp Frdertechnik, strengthening the group's position to supply integrated solutions to the fashion industry. KNAPP has already installed numerous systems for well-known customers in the textiles sector including Bonita, QVC and John Lewis Partnership but this strategic move enables the group to supply comprehensive warehouse automation systems that optimise handling efficiency for both hanging garments and flat-pack items.
 
Forklift manufacturer Jungheinrich (stand 19L100/142) has recently supplied a very narrow aisle (VNA) warehousing system to Ralawise, one of Europe's leading promotional clothing and leisurewear distributors. The solution has doubled storage capacity and increased the speed of throughput by more than 6 times. Previously using a combination of manual handling, reach trucks and counterbalance machines to store and pick boxes of clothing, Ralawise now has aisles 1.4m wide rather than 3.4m served by three wire-guided electric order pickers fitted with 7.5m triple stage masts.
 
Independent supply chain management consultancy Total Logistics (stand 19L72) recently advised the leading US fashion and homeware chain, AJ Wright, on the logistics strategy required following migration to floor-ready merchandise to support growth plans of 25 stores per year. After a comprehensive assessment of DC performance and the benefits of the preferred network solution, Total Logistics was able to identify several opportunities for improvement, as well as where and when a third DC would be required.
 
Meanwhile, automated handling systems integrator Dematic (stand 18N110) recently supplied the leading clothing and homeware retailer, Next, with an innovative high performance order picking solution at its distribution centre in South Elmsall, West Yorkshire. The system's 'high rate put stations' have achieved a near-threefold increase in order picking rates, along with far greater peak capacity to meet changing business requirements. At each station, an operator is directed by light displays to fulfil a series of orders, fed by a seamless, sequenced supply of product from an automated storage and retrieval system. Each station holds up to 24 totes, allowing a single operator to work on up to 24 store orders at the same time.

Fleet management solutions
Materials handling vehicles represent major overheads to manufacturing, wholesale, retail and distribution businesses and these costs increase in the event of damage-related incidents and unsafe driving practices. Visitors to IMHX will be able to compare a number of forklift truck fleet management solutions that prevent such issues from a wide range of suppliers.
 
Leicester-based Transmon Engineering (stand 20D45) has supplied its latest fleet management system to UK palletised goods distributor, Palletways. The solution has helped Palletways, the largest pallet network in Europe, to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. Forklift supplier and fellow IMHX exhibitor Briggs Equipment worked with Transmon to implement the Data Savure system across the new fleet at Palletways' UK hub near Lichfield in Staffordshire, offering password-controlled driver access and impact monitoring for driver accountability. The system can identify when a driver is due for refresher training and also records the number of operational hours, so that service and maintenance schedules can be programmed in.
 
Forklift manufacturer Crown (stand 19J90) claims that its InfoLink System is the world's most advanced fleet management solution. Wireless technology allows users to identify the performance and productivity of each truck, operator, facility and shift period in real time. Insightful reports help reduce paperwork and simplify fleet management, substantially saving both time and money. Crown says that customers using InfoLink have reported a significant reduction in truck abuse and the cost of their fleet.
 
Key management specialist Traka (stand 18M185) will be demonstrating a variation of its system that makes it cost-effective for even the smallest fleets of fork trucks at IMHX 2010. Designed to ensure that only authorised drivers have access to vehicles, the small fleet system works without the need for software or Traka key cabinets, keeping it simple and affordable. The Traka solution relies upon intelligent electronic keys iFobs which carry a user's unique profile and which operate in conjunction with a variation of the Traka immobiliser. The company is also supplying supermarket giant Tesco with key control and access management systems for its fork truck fleets at three new and 19 existing UK distribution centres.
    
Davis Derby (stand 18M175) will be showcasing its TruckLOG Fleet Management Information System (FMIS) at IMHX 2010. Incorporating the Driver Access Control, Shock Sensor and Data Transfer modules, FMIS can reduce operating costs, damage-related costs and downtime. By monitoring vehicle use, driver behaviour and other features such as drive and lift time, shocks, engine oil pressure, fork overload and overheight while driving FMIS helps fleet operators to identify the most appropriate use of vehicles and optimum fleet size. Davis Derby recently supplied its TruckLog FMIS to iForce, the specialist provider of e-fulfilment, reverse logistics and direct marketing services to clients such as John Lewis, Boots and Sainsbury's.
 
Containers, pallets & packaging

IMHX is the place to see a huge range of containers, pallets and packaging solutions for materials handling.

Returnable transport packaging supplier Schoeller Arca Systems (stand 20F86) will be showcasing its new attached-lid container, the Integra Ultimate. The new container features increased height, smoother design, new-style hinges and ergonomic handles and it can also be equipped with RFID tags. Produced in food industry-approved, recyclable polypropylene, the containers are suitable for a wide variety of industries, from food and drink to pharmaceutical, automotive, aerospace and electronics.
 
The products of storage solutions specialists SSI Schaefer (stand 18N100) range from plastic storage and transit containers to high bay warehousing systems. The firm has developed innovative extruded containers using the award-winning INTERCEPT technology, which allows goods to be protected against corrosion during transport, shipment and storage. This avoids the need for items to be treated with protective substances such as oils, waxes or a vacuum before shipping. Guaranteed for up to 15 years, the injection-moulded containers with environmentally friendly INTERCEPT technology feature highly porous copper particles embedded into a polymer matrix which react with corrosive gases in the atmosphere to neutralise them.
 
George Utz Ltd (stand 18N158) supplies injection-moulded and vacuum-formed returnable handling solutions including containers, inserts, pallets, dollies and pallet boxes. The firm recently invested in four new silos for bulk raw material of plastic polymers at its site at Alfreton, Derbyshire, increasing its storage capacity by 130%. The company will use its stand at IMHX to explain to visitors how the longer lifespan, higher quality and lighter weight of plastic packaging makes it ideal for use on high speed automated production lines and supply chain systems. For example, George Utz Ltd recently worked in partnership with fellow exhibitor KNAPP UK Ltd to develop a bespoke container for John Lewis. The resulting stack nest distribution container boasts an internally welded anti-slip base plate to give greater strength and rigidity and reduces the risk of fragile product being damaged through high speed automated transport.
 
Loadhog Ltd will be featuring its returnable packaging solutions on stand 18M142. These include the Smartstak glass bottle transportation and storage system, which has won a Queen's Award for innovation. Smartstak comprises an injection-moulded layer pad and a spring-loaded Smartframe, which work together to prevent the collapse of bottle packs during transportation or storage. The Sheffield-based firm claims that Smartstak is currently transporting more than 850 million bottles annually, significantly reducing breakages, eliminating some packaging and increasing trailer fill by up to 10 per cent.
 
The ShockWatch impact indicator from IMC Group/Lamerholm Electronics is an incredibly clever product. Visitors to stand 20B60 will be able to see how this smart, self-adhesive label features an impact sensor to help prevent damage to fragile goods. The attention-grabbing devices act as a strong visual deterrent to unacceptable handling. Affixed directly to goods or packaging, the ShockWatch labels which contain a tube filled with red liquid held in suspension detect and record impact and mishandling. Available in five sensitivities, as indicated by the five different colours, the devices cannot be reset once activated. Lamerholm supply a whole range of protective products, including TiltWatch, a system designed to ensure sensitive products are kept in an upright position during shipping.
 
Advanced Handling (stand 18M171) takes pride in the design and manufacture of custom-built handling equipment to suit specific requirements. The firm recently worked with Polymer Logistics, a specialist in packaging and supply chain management for the retail sector, to design a lightweight truck that could be used to transport a new half-size pallet which is designed to be placed directly into the retail display to avoid the need for de-stacking. The pallet has recessed wheels mounted at one end, which make the pallet only mobile when it is tilted and supported at the opposite end. The truck successfully designed by Advanced Handling is now in use at most of the UK's major retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Netto.
 
VIP parking returns to IMHX, courtesy of Toyota
The exclusive VIP valet parking service returns to IMHX in 2010, sponsored by Toyota Material Handling UK. VIPs will be able to drive directly to the door of hall 18 at the NEC, from where their vehicle will be parked for them and returned to the door on leaving the exhibition, ensuring a totally hassle-free visitor experience. The VIP guests will also have access to the IMHX Premier Club Lounge, which offers complimentary refreshments and Internet facilities.
 
Plus: the IMHX Design 4 Safety Awards
New for IMHX 2010 is an awards programme for the handling and storage industry, designed to highlight the importance of product design in improving safety standards. Jointly organised by IMHX co-owners Quartz and BITA (the British Industrial Truck Association), the Design 4 Safety Awards are open to all 300+ anticipated exhibitors at IMHX 2010. Exhibitors can nominate any number of products or services in each of the competition's four categories Industrial Trucks, Racking & Storage, Automation and Technology (software & IT products). Shortlisting and final judging will be undertaken by an independent panel of materials handling and health and safety experts. Three entries for each category will be shortlisted by 1 September and the overall winners will be announced at a special VIP Awards Breakfast at IMHX on the first day of the show.

Pre-register now for FREE to attend IMHX 2010
IMHX 2010 is the number one place to meet suppliers and network with new contacts. With over 300 exhibitors displaying their products and services and showcasing the latest technology, visitors to IMHX will learn what's hot in the handling industry and what future trends are likely to be. With hundreds of products on show and many featured in live demonstrations, visitors will gain hands-on experience and valuable insights. IMHX 2010 is the leading show for all your logistics, distribution and warehousing solutions. And, remember, it only happens once every three years so don't miss out!
 
Visitors who pre-register for IMHX 2010 will receive a special Priority Pass pack by post before the event. This passport-style wallet contains everything you need to maximise the benefits of a visit to the show a delegate name badge, the 'Little Black Book' of handling industry contacts, a fold-out exhibition floor plan and key details of the show's environmental zone.

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