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The Loading & Unloading Specialists

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Thorworld delivers with solutions to support online spending curve

Looking ahead to what is anticipated to be a more resistant 2021, John Meale, Managing Director of materials handling solution specialist Thorworld Industries, considers the influence Covid-19 has had on delivering smaller consignments across the UK logistics’ industry, and predicts which emerging loading practice trends will endure as a result of the Pandemic.

Considering cost-effective options capable of making customers’ pre-existing loading environments ‘right for the times’, he talks about equipment that can be installed to meet demands of the ‘2020 and beyond’ distribution flow, and get smaller, more economical vehicles, safely out on the road:

The challenges, demands and restrictions faced by supply chains throughout 2020 have been unparalleled. Often calling for dispatch teams to operate as frontline workers, the events of the year have made us more aware than ever of our dependence on a safe and reliable delivery network.

Periods of shop closure, the need to isolate, and heightened demand for express deliveries have together called for delivery teams to work more efficiently and achieve tighter turnaround times to support the nation. Furthermore, whilst the wider economy decelerates, individual spending has kept pace, particularly online, with retail sales rising by 1.2 percent last month according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) - marking the sixth month in a row that sales have increased.

Widespread online offers and the suggestion that many brought forward their Christmas shopping activity during 2020 for fear of missing out on product availability have blended with people transferring their expenditure from nights out and getaways, to retail. Statistics show that the online shopping route with its convenience and time saving factors will fast become an everyday norm moving forward and remain a preference for many once the current Coronavirus situation resolves. For now, however, the combined adjustments in spending patterns have called for an increased dependence on more agile delivery networks that revolve around smaller van loading practice.

As the nature of online ordering enhances expectations - and often the need - for next or even same day deliveries, there has been a surge in UK companies choosing to dispatch orders using nippier, light commercial vehicles (LCVs). However typically, the majority of distribution centres and warehouses have loading docks with heights of between 1,200mm and 1,300mm, which is ideal for most articulated vehicles, but too high to accommodate smaller delivery vans.

For this reason, warehouses are now looking to address the change, and are adapting existing loading operations using materials handling solutions such as Van Docking Ramps to enable smaller delivery vehicles to load and unload at the same facility.

Ready to install without the need for expensive building works, these reliable ramps have successfully progressed uninterrupted delivery services nationwide throughout the Pandemic period. Van Docking Ramp solutions can be manufactured in usable widths of up to three metres, to span the width of a dock, and with full-length handrails to both sides they are purpose-built to offer safe access to existing loading docks for smaller vehicles. Equipment can be made to order for specific sites and used in conjunction with docking systems already in situ. So, with the necessity for home delivery looking set to continue indefinitely – even once we welcome 2021’s arrival of the ‘new normal’ – it’s expected that Van Docking Ramp demand will grow yet further, improving loading function and progressing speedy, smaller vehicle dispatch.

Of course, it’s important to highlight that increases in consignments and target turnarounds also heighten the need to prioritise safety practices. With this is mind we recommend a number of simple loading environment additions that can serve to protect employees and contractors, together with surrounding buildings and vehicles. 

A site is at its safest when operations can be clearly seen, so by installing high quality Dock Lights, operatives can illuminate the inside area of a vehicle during loading and unloading. Furthermore, a reliable traffic light and speed restriction system can serve to pace processes and prevent accidents when delivery schedules need to be met.

As we follow the online shopping and home delivery curve, we’ll continue to provide materials handling equipment to better facilitate evolving supply methods, and enable our customers to move both their company and consignments with the most appropriate solutions for the times.

For an individual discussion about Thorworld Industries’ bespoke loading bay solutions call 01246 206981.

Published: 17/12/2020