Adapting back of store design can increase retail profits

Author : Leon Butler, Operations Director, Transdek UK Limited

Date : Tuesday, 01 November 2011

Leon Butler believes that a number of retailers may be missing a trick when designing new store outlets, as with some considered planning retail space could be increased, as well as store build time and cost reduced. Here he offers some food for thought.

It’s not often that back of store design is thought of as a way of increasing shop floor sales space but we’ve found that an increasing number of supermarket architects are interested in our ideas for exploiting the potential and want to investigate the opportunities available.

From experience, we’ve found that there can be up to 500m2 of dead space behind stores that are built with vehicle pits to provide raised docks for HGV deliveries. And at a store designed on stilts, which we were asked to assess, the extra ground works for vehicle pits added £240,000 and two weeks to the build project. Without the need to accommodate this area, retailers have more options. They can increase retail floor space, introduce dot.com operations or select limited space sites in more suitable locations.

At Transdek we’re constantly looking at new ways of improving efficiency to handle these different scenarios. One of the solutions we’ve developed is a unique vehicle-to-ground (V2G) lift that has already been adopted by one of the UK’s leading supermarket multiples as part of a 100-store conversion to enable the introduction of double deck trailer deliveries.

The V2G was designed as a flexible loading solution for all types of retail distribution vehicles at flat floor sites. It is supplied as a pre-clad, pre-tested modular loadhouse unit that drops into place to provide a ready-made temperature-controlled and secure environment for the protection of products between vehicles and the store.

Because it can service any mix of delivery vehicles, including the growing double deck fleets of tomorrow, it also offers a high level of future proofing for operators. The integration of these high-cube vehicles on store deliveries is on the increase, with major retailers Asda, Boots and Tesco leading the way.

Double deck vehicles offer the opportunity to make substantial savings on deliveries as they can carry between 67%-100% more product per trailer – effectively transporting the same amount of product with fewer vehicles, and cutting road miles and carbon emissions.

Unlike other, comparable loading systems, the V2G is surface-mounted and can be installed and operational within a day, without the requirement for any pre-dug pits or other costly enabling works.

Not only that. Just as we install these lifts with a high level of speed and minimal disruption, we can also relocate them as easily, allowing our customers to adapt their logistics operations to keep up with changing market demands and new technologies.

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