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Logistics Link North’s success continued in September as more than 1,430 logisticians converged on Doncaster Racecourse to see the latest technologies and service provision aimed at driving down costs and boosting operational efficiency within the supply chain. The exhibition, held on September 21 and 22 and the second Logistics Link North to be held, attracted logistics and supply chain professionals from all over the country. Many key decision makers, in sectors as diverse as manufacturing, food and drink, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, agriculture, healthcare, automotive, aviation and retail, had plenty to digest.

Materials handling

Supply chains could not function efficiently without forklift trucks, pickers and other materials handling equipment and there was a wide variety for visitors to Logistics Link North to look at with this sector well represented by Aisle-Master, BT Rolatruc, Crown Lift Trucks, Jungheinrich, Linde, Mitsubishi, Narrow Aisle and Translift Bendi.

Aisle-Master, making its Logistics Link North debut, was “pleased with the level of interest” shown in its range of LPG and electric-powered forklift while Linde used the exhibition to debut its revolutionary X range of reach trucks. A wide variety of ancillary products and solutions for materials handling equipment were demonstrated by suppliers Avery Weigh-Tronix, Bolzoni-Auramo, Flogas, Log-IT Systems and Traka.

Soft touch

Without the use of the latest IT technology, no supply chain could function efficiently and effectively. So it came as no surprise that visitors to the exhibition were met with an extensive array of systems designed to optimise and streamline operations from suppliers such as Clandestine Software, VSc Solutions, Zafire, ATMS, Enterprise Software Systems, Manhattan Associates and Computerway Business.

Proteus chief executive David Gray says the company was “again kept busy with a lot of interest shown in our warehouse management solutions” and the Smart Manager toolset in particular.

Traderman made its Logistics Link North debut by highlighting the latest release of its integrated transport and warehouse management system – tmWare. Global transport and supply chain management specialist Management Dynamics used the show to announce that the Overseas Shippers Association (OSA), a network of international removal and relocation companies, is implementing its Rate Explorer to allow the 150 OSA members to access 7,000-plus rates and associated tariffs to prepare accurate and timely customer quotes.

RedPrairie was on hand to explain its integrated solutions covering warehouse management, workforce performance management and duty management.

Automating logistics

Companies requiring the latest in flexible, user-friendly and cost-effective warehouse automation technology were not disappointed.

Diamond Phoenix highlighted a wide range of its products including carousel picking systems, its SMARTdepot Vertical Lift Module, the MaxTractor High Speed Automatic Extractor and conveyor and sorting systems.

Visitors to Knapp’s stand had the opportunity to see examples of the manufacturer’s order picking fulfilment products ranging from single manual operations to fully automated and integrated installations.

Hard choices

If visitors to Logistics Link North wanted to see the latest thinking in hardware and specialist technology for the supply chain, then they were not disappointed.

Suppliers including ATMS, Belgravium, i2 Mobile Solutions, Inotec, Kelgray, Progress Data Solutions were on hand to show off their wares.

Belgravium showed off a variety of products such as hand-held terminals, vehicle mount terminals. i2 Solutions featured its mobile computers, barcode readers and low-cost data collection solutions while Inotec had samples of its barcode, RFID and label installation services.

Storing success

Storage and handling within warehousing and distribution environments were well covered at Logistics Link North, with a host of solutions for materials handling, racking and packaging on display from suppliers such as Allibert Buckhorn, e-Racking, Filplastic, Industore, Link 51, Linpac Materials Handling, Linpac Storage Systems, Pro Dek, Schoeller Arca Systems and Travhydro.

SSI Schaefer exhibited products ranging from plastic storage and transit containers to high bay warehousing systems. The company’s business development manager, Bob Jane, says the show was “an effective way of renewing our contacts” and making new ones in the North. “We’ve had some really good enquiries and the challenge now is to turn those into real business.”

Printing and packaging

Having the appropriate packaging to protect goods is vital within the supply chain as are printing and labelling solutions. The latest technological thoughts in this area were provided by ASG Services, Lighthouse, Weber Marking Systems, Sato, Robstock, Weyfringe, Application Developments, Easypack, Shrinkfast and Soabar.

Tailored flexibility

The diversity of service provision by the distribution sector was demonstrated by a variety of operators, reflecting the evolving needs of the market for tailored, individual transport, warehousing and palletised services. Leading players demonstrating their views on the shift towards flexible services and added-value partnerships comprised the Eldred Group, Roadferry, Sameday UK and the Stiller Group. PalletFORCE took the opportunity to explain the benefits of using its dedicated network of transport operators and how it provides a vital and cost-effective link in the supply chain.

Fleet solutions

Given the growing environment and congestion-related pressures on fleet operators, telematics, routeing and management software and systems continue to play an increasingly important role in meeting customer demand.

121 Systems took the opportunity to explain its “last mile” logistics solutions using the Roadnet Transportation Suite while MapMechanics features its TruckStops, GeoConcept and Optisite software solutions.

Accommodating business

A significant area in which logistics operations have benefited in recent years has been in the provision of industrial property, with development agencies wanting a slice of this major growth sector.

Alliance SSP and Doncaster Investment Team each took the opportunity to offer guidance as well as outline the attractions of relocating to their respective areas.

And if temporary storage solutions were the order of the day, then Collinsom and TempAstor were on hand to show off their products.

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