Integrated warehousing solutions from Toyota

The supply of good quality, well located, modern warehouse property continues to lag some way behind the demand. The UK has been ‘under-warehoused’ for at least a decade, but since the pandemic the additional need for storage space created by the e-commerce boom and the rise of the ‘just-in-case’ inventory management strategy have made the situation even more difficult.

In some regions the scenario is said to be so challenging that one leading industrial property consultancy recently forecast that parts of Britain could completely run out of vacant warehouse facilities within the next 12 months.


With no let-up in the scarcity of good quality warehousing space in sight, occupiers must make maximum use of their existing property assets. This means utilising every cubic foot available to them in the most space, throughput, and financially efficient ways possible. 


“Redesigning a facility’s storage scheme and introducing new materials handling technology to complement it, gives an existing warehouse a whole new lease of life,” says Chris Tarrant, Toyota Material Handling UK’s storage solutions specialist.


Toyota is, of course, recognised as the world’s largest manufacturer of premium forklift trucks. The company is also dedicated to the design and delivery of turnkey storage and handling projects based on the broadest possible range of automated and traditional technologies.


“There is so much more to Toyota’s proposition than just forklift trucks. Some customers aren’t aware of the fact that we can provide a complete warehouse package,” Chris Tarrant explains.


“We work closely with our clients to design and build systems for new units as well as existing facilities. We aim to make the best use of every building - from the floor to the eaves - to achieve maximum storage capacity,” he adds.


When seeking to overhaul an existing storage system or design a new project for an empty building, it may sound counter-intuitive but, Chris Tarrant contends that partnering with a company for whom the supply and design of storage solutions is not the main activity brings a host of benefits for the end user.


“The design and installation of pallet racking, high density shuttle systems, shelving and mezzanine flooring is a significant part of Toyota’s business, but we are not motivated by the need to sell the biggest quantity of metal or make money from the future supply of spare parts or repairs,” explains Chris.


“Our single incentive is to deliver the optimum solution for the client. This means getting the ideal number of aisles, the most appropriate aisle widths for the type of materials handling equipment deployed and ensuring transfer aisles are sited in the best place,” Chris adds.


But, if an intralogistics system is to have any chance of delivering the wished-for results, the most appropriate materials handling equipment (MHE) must be specified for each client’s specific requirements.


“There is a wide range of materials handling equipment solutions available, but it is important to consider future growth and expansion when planning new operational processes,” says Daryn Goldsmith, VNA sales specialist at Toyota Material Handling UK


He continues: “For instance, very narrow aisle (VNA) forklift trucks are an option for many businesses. These trucks can work in aisles as narrow as 1.6 metres wide, so VNA solutions offer a higher density of storage than conventional wide-aisle warehouse layouts. And technical developments mean that VNA trucks can now operate at heights that, no so long ago, only stacker cranes could reach.”


“However,” he adds, “a switch to VNA trucks is not right for everyone and each application has to be individually analysed.”


And with companies of all sizes introducing more automation into their intralogistics processes, solutions based on the latest automated picking and sorting technologies, conveyors, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and autonomous robots are also overseen from commission to sign-off by Toyota.


Chris concludes: “It’s an over-used term but to our clients we really are a true ‘one-stop shop’. At Toyota we identify scalable material handling systems and solutions that help our clients become leaders in their industries. We oversee automated, manual and hybrid projects from commission to sign-off while our highly qualified and experienced service engineers provide fast and efficient ongoing after-sales support. The only thing we don’t do is build the actual facility – we’re happy to leave that to construction companies!”


Find out more about Storage Solutions from Toyota here >>>

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