DIY Retailers: Overcome Warehouse Capacity Challenges Without Moving Premises

An increase in demand for DIY products during mid-2020 – with one retailer reporting a 300% increase in online sales, sparking a recruitment spree for 7,500 colleagues –  has shown how every process and premises must be able to scale to meet a sudden spike.

This causes one major challenge: a bricks and mortar warehouse can’t extend beyond its own walls, no matter what the market is doing.

A solution already in use throughout the world solves this issue by simply optimising racking layout, reducing aisle widths down to 1.6m and switching to Very Narrow Aisle forklift trucks designed increase warehouse storage by 50% while lowering costs.

Here’s how it works…

Improving Warehouse Capacity for DIY Retailers: 1, Optimised Layout

Finding the right layout, including storage density, for an individual warehouse can be complex but every calculation can have a lasting impact on storage capacity, turnaround of goods and much more.

That’s why Aisle Master can offer a free warehouse planning service covering essential factors such as racking layout and storage density. CAD visuals showing the capacity potential of a facility, a site inspection and layout diagrams can even be included at no charge.

Find out more and book here.

Improving Warehouse Capacity for DIY Retailers: 2, High-Performance VNA Forklifts

In the DIY retail sector every minute and every penny counts, making an Aisle Master Very Narrow Aisle forklift an essential consideration due to its ability to reduce costs through more efficient offloading, handling and storage.

Put simply: with the ability to operate in aisles as narrow as 1.6m the Aisle Master articulated forklift increases and maximises storage capacity. What’s more, by using the one truck, users can increase productivity and eliminate time-consuming double handling and speed up “truck to rack” operations.

For example, Poland’s largest home improvement Castorama knew that a network of 26 outlets meant every minute and every m² of storage had to count.

Group Purchasing Director Tomasz Chudowolski explained: ““When we took a closer look at the Aisle-Masters we realised that their narrow aisle capability would allow us to be very flexible when it came to determining aisle widths,  enabling us to increase the amount of stock we can hold.

“Depending on the size of an outlet, which is typically from 7,000 to 10,000 m² we can add two or three extra aisles compared with the old reach/counterbalance system. As customers always want more choice this gives us the ability to offer it.”

The layout of racking at each individual outlet is determined by merchandising managers who take into account the size of products, with Aisle-Masters mostly operating in aisles as narrow as 1.8m. To make use of all vertical space the top beam height is 5.5m, and Castorama’s trucks are fitted with a triplex 6000mm mast to easily lift pallets, packs and boxes to this height.

The ability of the trucks to work indoors and out and to offload incoming deliveries from HGV’s and take them directly to the racking is a much quicker procedure than using two types of forklift as it eliminates double handling.

The first Aisle-Masters to be deployed at Castorama were LPG trucks but the company has since moved over to electric power for its fleet which is considered preferable when the trucks are working in close proximity to the public. The standard specification at any new site is now for two Aisle-Masters, both with a two tonne capacity.

The latest trucks to be delivered to Castorama are a standard 20SE model and a 20WE model which comes with a wider chassis and with a semi-enclosed cab to offer more comfort for operators in the cold weather which affects Poland in the winter.

Both benefit from over articulation which enables a better degree of accuracy when placing loads into very narrow aisles. According to Castorama’s requirements they have been fitted with  powerful 930Ahr battery compartments and grey non-marking tyres.

Discover how the Aisle Master can form the backbone of a high-performing warehouse here.


Summary: Up To 50% Increase Warehouse Storage Increase to Meet DIY Sector Demand

A tried and tested method to drive savings, and improve results, from warehouse facilities is in use across the world:

1, A Free Facility Planning Service: Provided by a renowned warehousing equipment specialist Combilift, a free review includes racking layout proposals and storage density calculations to create the best possible performance from any warehouse.

2, The Aisle Master Very Narrow Aisles Articulated Forklift: An ability to work in aisles as narrow as 1.6m and 15m tall means a single multi-purpose truck and faster ‘truck to rack’ operations.


Castorama, who now use more than 45 Aisle Master trucks, are enjoying substantial long-term benefits from making the switch: ““The Aisle-Masters have been a substantial investment but well worth it as they allow our merchandisers to make maximum use of space to get as many products in our stores, which means more sales, so payback is quickly achieved.

“Our first truck is still going strong which proves just how robust and reliable they are, and the manufacturers have been very willing to customise the trucks to our requirements. Aisle-Masters give us flexibility and guarantee safe procedures when we open a new outlet, and our technicians and drivers are also very happy with the trucks’ performance,” Tomasz said.


To find out more simply request ask about our free planning service or follow the links to find out more about the renowned Aisle Master articulated very narrow aisle forklift.