Brady’s Liz Gallagher identifies some key issues facing warehouse and materials handling managers within the process industry and discusses solutions to help them respond quickly and easily

For anyone involved in running a warehouse or materials handling operation in today’s tough and dynamic market conditions, ensuring a safe, efficient and adaptable workplace is crucial to success, while seizing a major new opportunity or responding to a crisis often means re-configuring operations quickly and seamlessly.

Highly visible floor markings, signs and labels are all vital for routing to/ from the right goods inwards and dispatch bays; efficient order picking, drop sequencing and re-stocking; safe forklift and conveyor operations, maintenance work, and so on.

So whether you are looking to improve the efficiency of an existing set-up or to embark on a big change, high quality visual identification has to be a vital core component of your strategy. But, for a cost-effective solution, you will also need a system that is simple to apply, adapt and remove; safe and hard-wearing and suitable for your specific operating environments.

At Brady we constantly look for ways to help our customers with these challenges, so here are a few things to consider when deciding on your approach:

  • Excellent durability is a key requirement for floor markings in tough warehouse conditions – meaning less time replacing damaged or worn lines and a better-looking, more efficient facility. In particular, they need to withstand heavy forklift traffic and minimise damage from skids, pallet jacks, etc.
  • High visibility is an obvious ‘must’ for both information and safety reasons. Synthetic materials are cheaper than painted floor markings, but it is important to select a product that offers high-gloss surfaces; a low profile to minimise debris build-up along edges; cleans up like new; and is available in a variety of high-impact and custom colours.
  • Easy application and removal is essential for flexibility and cost-effectiveness. This means looking for a system that needs no special floor preparation beyond common cleansers and makes it simple to lay down smooth, straight lines using one person working alone. Just as important when renewing/changing marking schemes is painless removal without damaging the floor by creating chips and flakes or leaving unsightly adhesive residue.
  • Coping with difficult surfaces and environments is a challenge to good markings and signage in many facilities, for example, adhesion to surfaces such as PVC piping, blow-moulded equipment cases, recycled, ABS and textured plastics, powder-coatings, painted cinder block walls, uneven wood finishes, paper-jacketed and rough pipes. In addition, outdoor applications, low/high temperature environments and harsh chemical exposures all pose problems requiring their own specific solutions.
  • Different shapes, colours and sizes such as dashes, dots, arrows, footprints, and corner marks (L, T and + shapes) are all essential in any floor marking system. Die-cut shapes make for long lasting markings, less damage and easy repair; dashes, dots and arrows pre-spaced on transfer tape enable you to mark straight, evenly-spaced lines with no fuss. This makes for very easy solutions to marking aisles, passageways and storage locations, and for pointing out important safety equipment and exit routes.

You should also look for the ability to create custom floor labels on site to identify designated storage locations and provide tailor-made visual instructions on the warehouse or yard floor.

Brady’s labelling solutions are designed to meet all these requirements and more. For example, our ToughStripe floor marking range includes all standard tapes and shapes, floor signs with anti-skid tread and print-on-demand floor labels for easy use with all Brady printers.

And we believe our new B-595 adhesive vinyl is the strongest material available in the industrial market, offering outstanding adhesion, low shrinkage and durability. Delivering a cleaner, smarter appearance after years of heavy-duty use, it is ideal both for general use and for those ‘problem’ surfaces, indoors and outside.

Solutions like these can help give you the competitive edge that comes with a safe, efficient operation able to respond quickly to changing customer and business requirements.