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How can companies get around supply bottlenecks for warehouse remodeling?

Wholesale companies with an online focus and those with freight forwarding items are naturally subject to change. New products, additions to the portfolio and greater volume turns due to growth or expansion often call for adjustments to warehouse size, layout and structure. "Managing directors are always concerned about timing and possible downtime of actual operations during such a conversion," knows Jürgen Effner, managing director of TOPREGAL GmbH, and explains, "This usually occurs when warehouse planning is faulty or delivery bottlenecks literally slow down smooth transitions between dismantling, conversion and new construction."

(Re)routing problem

A new high-bay warehouse is delivered and cannot be installed because its height causes it to collide with ventilation pipes located at the planned location. This may seem hard to believe, but Effner has the relevant experience: "When planning storage and logistics areas, there are always pitfalls that are overlooked. For example, when planning only takes place on paper and the real conditions on site are not known for this reason." In such cases, the conversion stalls. Either rework has to take place or entire systems have to be sent back. "Especially when delivery tours are made by external carriers, problems and delays can occur, because these fleets are tightly scheduled and there is a shortage of drivers in the industry," Effner knows. For this reason, unforeseen incidents, returns or additional deliveries often cannot be handled at short notice in the customer's interest. "If a component is missing, but the customer has to wait days or even weeks for his goods due to delivery bottlenecks or a lack of delivery vehicles, in the worst case, this delay will carry through to the customer's own projects. Image problems, order cancellations or economic losses can possibly be the result."

Everything from a single source - reacting flexibly and at short notice

When it comes to warehouse planning and conversion, those who rely on suppliers who have their own fleet provide themselves with greater security in terms of timing and process. TOPREGAL has taken this credo to heart and built up its own fleet. Started three years ago with its first own truck, the warehousing expert with locations in Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania now has nine 40-ton trucks from brands such as MAN, Scania and Volvo. "Our expansion of our own logistics fleet has meant that we can keep our delivery promise of one to three days throughout Germany. Even when there are shortages, bottlenecks or waiting times elsewhere due to driver shortages." The company's own fleet team delivers the warehouse components to the customers themselves and can therefore provide advice and assistance directly on site in the event of questions - a bonus that cannot be covered by external freight forwarders or drivers. Coordination and communication take place more directly and much more flexibly, which represents added value for customers, but also for employees. "Thanks to our team size, the drivers can coordinate with each other very individually. In this way, they even make deliveries possible at times when a warehouse conversion would be particularly practical for customers, such as company vacations or the turn of the year, without their own private lives suffering," notes Effner. And since a truck is like a home on six wheels for the respective driver due to the long journeys, the fleet drivers in the company can configure their work truck themselves as desired.

Optimally adapted

But even if deliveries are made on time, loading and unloading processes on site can sometimes be problematic. If the necessary logistics or technology are lacking on site or procedures for unloading are not routine, this can eat up time, complicate processes and increase risks of danger. In addition to heavy-duty racks, TOPREGAL also carries a wide range of forklifts, lift trucks as well as lifting platforms. A special low-loader trailer is used for the delivery of this equipment. This expertise is also used for warehouse delivery if needed or requested by the customer. Necessary lifting equipment or forklifts are then simply taken directly by TOPREGAL drivers, thus facilitating the unloading process - not to mention the time optimization and increase in safety because experienced logistics experts are working here. "Basically, a warehouse conversion can exploit a lot of potential and make operating processes more effective and more pleasant. So it's worth modernizing from time to time," says Effner. And anyone who consults the advice of an expert here right from the start avoids potential pitfalls or delivery problems in advance.