RackEye: next-level warehouse safety and total peace of mind for Europa Worldwide Group

Europa GROUP RGB Lock Up White On Red

Europa Worldwide Group is justifiably proud of its forward-thinking safety culture. When the company was looking to further reduce risk at its busy transit warehouse, it chose an equally forward-thinking solution. Since its installation, RackEye has helped the company save money and identify impact hotspots; it has also brought peace-of-mind for the Europa warehouse management team.

Europa Worldwide Group is a specialist road, air, sea and warehouse operator employing more than 1,000 staff across 16 sites in the UK, plus Belgium and Hong Kong. Europa Worldwide Group is one of the UK’s largest privately-owned transport and logistics companies. Its operations include a transit warehouse hub at the company’s £30m headquarters in Dartford, Kent. Europa opened the facility in 2015 to centralize its European road freight, in the process creating the largest European groupage hub in the UK. The building is split into two areas, providing third party warehousing and European transit operations.

The company is uncompromising about workplace safety and it is always looking for ways to further reduce risk at its facilities. The transit hub processes a constant stream of inbound and outbound international groupage freight consignments between the UK and mainland Europe.

Europa Building Min
  • 10,000 rack spaces
  • 35 counterbalance trucks
  • 5 reach trucks
  • 2 scissor lifts

Rapid turnaround

Robert Yates is the Transit Warehouse Manager for the site. His role encompasses everything from operations and facilities, to training and health and safety, “We have 35 counterbalance trucks, five reach trucks and two scissor lifts in operation here,” he explains. “Goods come in, are loaded onto the racks and eight hours later, the same consignment can be back out of the door on its way somewhere else.” This means the 10,000 rack spaces in the facility are in almost constant use. With the fast turnaround time of goods and so many daily vehicle movements, the risk of impact damage is high; however, actual rack damage incidents are rare. “Our forklift drivers are very skilled and experienced. Most of them have been with us for a long time, so they know the facility well,” Yates adds. “If anything does happen, they report it.”

Addressing risk

Despite the high standards of driving at Europa, rack impacts can happen – especially during busy periods. When they do, such incidents are usually minor; however, the risk of something more serious happening is always there. This was a concern for Yates and the management team at Europa. “If we identify a potential risk, we want to address it quickly,” Yates explains. “The company is happy to invest in safety. If a solution prevents just one accident, then it’s money well spent.”

The high cost of rack impacts

The consequences of rack impact damage, whether cumulative or because of a single severe incident, are well documented within the warehouse industry. Damaged racks must be unloaded and quarantined; in extreme circumstances, a rack might even fail altogether – with catastrophic results for the business and anyone unfortunate enough to be nearby. The human cost, business disruption and reputational damage resulting from a racking collapse are lasting and severe. It is for this reason that responsible warehouse operators such as Europa are so meticulous about rack inspections, maintenance, and creating a culture in which drivers immediately report rack impacts. However, no human system is infallible, and a rack inspection is merely a snapshot in time. A rack impact can happen any time and, unless it is reported, damage can often go unnoticed until the next inspection.

"If a solution prevents just one accident, it is money well spent"

“It was more about having an extra level of visibility over our racking, and extra peace of mind. RackEye gives us that.”

Peace of mind

Yates first learned about RackEye during a conversation with an A-SAFE representative. The concept of an intelligent system that monitored racking 24/7 for impacts and instantly notified warehouse management of incidents was one that appealed to Europa, “It wasn’t that we had a problem with racking impacts.” Yates says, “It was more about having an extra level of visibility over our racking, and extra peace of mind. RackEye gives us that.”

Picking up impact hotspots

Europa installed RackEye across all 10,000 of the rack bays in its transit warehouse, and system quickly proved its worth, as Yates explains: “There was a corner in the warehouse where we were registering more rack impacts. After investigating, we realized that drivers were struggling to get around it and were sometimes catching the racking. We made some changes to the layout and the impacts stopped. We couldn’t have found this problem without RackEye.”

Saving time on rack inspections

RackEye is helping Yates and his team in other ways too. Especially with rack inspections, “When we first installed RackEye, we continued to perform weekly rack inspections as normal. But as we got used to the system and we could see that he data we were getting was good, we began to trust it,” Yates says. “This means that now we can target the areas we need to and save time on rack inspections. We know if there’s an impact, RackEye will pick it up and alert us.”

“RackEye helps me to sleep better at night. It takes the worry away. ”

Reinforcing safety culture

Because standards of driving were already high within the Europa transit warehouse, Yates says it is still too early to tell conclusively if there has been a change in driver behavior because of RackEye. However, he was encouraged to see that the system didn’t report any impacts during the company’s busiest period in November and December, “Normally at that time of year, there are a few knocks, but this year there was nothing,” he says. Drivers and employees on the shop floor cannot fail to spot the distinctive RackEye units fitted to the rack legs, and they have been supportive of the system, “They see it as the company caring about their safety,” Yates adds.

Sleeping easy thanks to 24/7 monitoring

It has been a year since Europa has installed RackEye in its transit warehouse and Yates is delighted with both the system and the support he receives from the A-SAFE RackEye team, “I can call with any questions or issues and I know they will be there to help,” he says. “It’s like having my own personal support team on standby.” Yates and his team are still exploring some of the functions within RackEye; in particular, how data from the system can support performance measurement, “We are looking to do more with the KPI measurement, eventually.” For now, though, the system is doing everything Yates and his team hoped it would, and more, “RackEye helps me to sleep better at night. It takes the worry away. ”

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