Ridgeons is a large, family-owned business founded 100 years ago, and which today is a leading supplier of timber and builders supplies through its 22 sites which serve the East of England. The firm has a well-earned reputation for quality and personal service which has enabled it to grow organically and via acquisition. At the heart of the company’s values are links with the community, charitable donations, environmental sustainability and, last but not least, the provision of a safe environment for its staff, visitors and customers.
The company has tens of thousands of retail product lines, which are held at its depots, yards, warehouses and retail premises.
With the constant movement of goods inwards and outwards, Health and Safety issues and, in particular, the safety of customers, employees, visitors and suppliers when they are on site are among the top priorities for the company. Health and Safety audits and spot inspections are an everyday reality, and something that Ridgeons take very seriously.
One of the many areas falling under the remit of Ridgeons Group Health and Safety Officer Neville Evans is the annual inspection and certification of all racking installations across all of its sites. It is his responsibility to ensure that all racking is maintained in safe condition and inspected regularly to comply with PUWER regulations.
The Business Problem
Ridgeons has thousands of product lines, and holds significant quantities and types of stock from small tools through to construction materials such as brick and stone, timber and plasterboard. Maintaining the structural integrity of the pallet and cantilever racking infrastructure that is used to store these products in interior and exterior locations is vitally important.
At the same time, keeping goods flowing in and out of each site is key to the efficiency of Ridgeons’ business performance, and this efficiency must be maintained alongside a policy of strict compliance with Health and Safety guidelines.
As a result, racking inspections is one of the main responsibilities of the Health and Safety team at Ridgeons, and as such it regularly reviews the company’s entire annual racking inspection and repair process across all its sites.
Previously, Neville Evans had realised that delays were occurring between racking inspections at all the sites and the subsequent rectification of any issues uncovered. He attributed these delays to using two separate companies in the process; one to deliver the inspection and a second to undertake the repair work. In addition, the administrative overhead associated with first scheduling inspections and then the repairs with another company was significant. The problem was not one of warehouse safety, but of business efficiency.
To address the problem, Neville Evans presented a proposal to the Ridgeons Board to use a single company to carry out all racking inspections across all sites, and to use the same company to effect any repairs.
Evans realised he needed to find a specialist warehouse solutions company that could carry out and document inspections and certifications to the SEMA code of practice. At the same time, the new warehouse solutions company would need to specialist knowledge and experience of multiple types of racking systems from many different manufacturers.
Above all, Ridgeons wanted to consolidate all its racking inspections, repairs and certifications – and the provision of the resultant reports – into a single month, to encompass all its sites. This would be a tall order for any warehouse solutions provider.
Ridgeons chose Acorn Warehouse Solutions as its preferred racking inspections supplier. The reasons for this choice were Acorn’s:
- Strong track record in the warehouse solutions business
- Ability to carry out racking inspections AND carry out racking repairs
- Availability to inspect all Ridgeons racking systems within a single month
- Comprehensive sample racking inspection report clearly showing how and when the job would be done
- Overall cost effective solution
Today, Acorn is the preferred racking inspections and repairs provider for Ridgeons, surveying all Ridgeons’ sites across East Anglia and providing detailed Racking Condition Survey Reports which include racking layout maps and repair requirements. Acorn are also able to repair all cantilever and pallet racking infrastructure, to replace uprights, diagonals and beams as necessary and to assess and advise on load tolerances.
The main benefits for Ridgeons in working with Acorn Warehouse Solutions for this single source, consolidated inspection-and-repair process are:
- Huge time savings when compared with two companies delivering separate solutions, due to there being…
- No copyright issues between the inspection report suppliers and the racking repair suppliers
- No room for ‘misinterpretation’ of inspection reports by the repair company
- Significantly less administrative overhead in the scheduling of racking inspections and repairs
- No disruption to every day warehouse operations while the inspection and repair process takes place