Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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DOORS AND CURTAINS – Doors deserve better – Neglectful maintenance plagues the warehouse door market

Warehouse operators who include a haulage service would not dream of neglecting their vehicle maintenance, which must conform to legal requirements, but when it comes to maintaining their warehouse doors the prevailing philosophy seems to be ‘if it’s not broken don’t fix it.’ This is a policy of long-term cost shocks, particularly so with cold store doors, because modern doors usually involve moving parts, especially the high speed kind, which wear out. To prevent that, door operators offer a choice of maintenance schemes. One path is for warehouse operators to use a leading door supplier who will train door users how to change the known wear items. A more, in-depth maintenance training can be provided for customers’ engineers by undergoing training at the suppliers’ factories. Alternatively, door users could opt for lifetime warranty terms, like those from Union Industries, which include regular servicing by the best people for the job. Such a maintenance regime is common among forklift users with contract hire schemes that include maintenance yet, disturbingly, it is not so for doors.

chazAs always, preventative maintenance is better than reactive maintenance but what are the penalties of door maintenance neglect? Much depends on the nature of the storage operation because some stores involve more frequent and serious accidents along with very high energy costs. Cold stores are a case in point. Doors in such stores are critical for two main reasons: containment of energy costs and accidents due to slippage on ice. A typical cold store’s energy costs will be somewhere between 20% and 30% of total running costs and doors are a leading cause of energy leakage. The least energy loss approach would be to use the airlock principle involving one door at each end of the tunnel. It should also be the safest because ice build up on the floor would be minimised. Failing such an investment, then warehouse operators should consider fast-acting single roller doors.

Manually moved sliding doors in a busy cold store should be shunned because they encourage staff to leave them open. That would lead to warm air ingress, creating condensation and droplets to fall onto the floor and so form ice. That, however, is not the end of the potential danger. If ice forms on racking then plastic pallets can slide off the beams more easily than timber pallets. A new door system with dehumidifiers would help along with plastic strip curtains but the latter are less energy efficient than fast-acting roller doors.

If doors break down unexpectedly and there is no same-day callout repair scheme in place then the penalties can be substantial and in some ways have an unexpected long-term cost. Food stores, in particular, have a greater duty of care in terms of hygiene. The fast-acting roller doors are an effective barrier against entry by vermin and avian pests. If these creatures leave their calling cards in food production areas then public illness could result, causing law suites or hygiene audits of premises, which could lead to temporary closure while improved housekeeping practices are installed.

Apart, however, from cost penalties through poor maintenance there are other cost issues surrounding doors, including the wrong choice of door. Some involve door abuse caused by driving too fast at them and so creating collisions. To mitigate that all-too-common problem, door suppliers provide knock out facilities which allow quick and easy re-installation. But perhaps the biggest cost issue is energy costs. All of the leading door suppliers offer heat loss surveys to their potential clients to calculate the potential energy savings that can be made by using the right kind of door. These will produce a payback chart and it would not be unusual to achieve a payback in under two years. Having the most appropriate doors could also help warehouse operators comply with the Energy Act 2011, the provisions of which come into force in 2018.

Doors deserve better respect, especially in an age of soaring energy bills and pending legislation.

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