Raising Standards in Storage Racking with the SEMA Distributor Group

Elizabeth Porter, the first female Chair of the SEMA Distributor Group discusses the importance of building a long-term partnership with your racking supplier.

Navigating the warehouse racking industry can be a challenging task. There are hundreds of designs, manufacturers, suppliers and installers of storage equipment in the UK, ranging from sole traders through to multi-million-pound corporations.

For companies, the responsibility for storing hundreds of tonnes of pallets above working colleagues’ heads is a serious one and the health & safety legislative environment has never been more onerous. An incorrectly supplied or damaged racking system can prove to be, at best, a costly and time-consuming problem that takes your storage out of action. At worst it can result in death or injury to your employees which then leads to an extensive HSE investigation leaving company finances and Director’s personal liabilities exposed.

So how do you know you have the right contractor to deliver a safe and high-quality installation that meets the long-term requirements of your warehouse? 

Setting High Standards

As members of the SEMA Distributor Group (SDG), we believe the relationship between the customer and the racking supplier should ideally last the lifetime of your storage system. Best practice should follow through the lifetime of your racking system; from safe manufacture offering full traceability of product, safe design to meet SEMA’s strict codes of practice and safe installation by qualified labour. Once in-situ, the installation will need to be maintained properly to keep your storage racking in good working order.

The SEMA Distributor Group is formed by 30 like-minded distributor companies from across the UK who are recognised for the high-quality storage equipment they supply. To become a member each company must demonstrate a high level of commitment to safety standards, and adhere to over 40 regulations, industry standards, Codes of Practice, and legislative requirements. Today, it is the only scheme in the UK that independently audits the credentials of resellers and distributors of storage equipment.

SDG members form a multi-functional element of SEMA and as such we are fully supported by being part of the group. We work closely with SEMA manufacturers, and this allows us privileged access to their technical departments if your racking system needs repairs. We are committed to SEMA initiatives and within the SDG we either have in-house teams or subcontract both SEIRS registered installers and SEMA Approved Rack Inspectors. You will also find that some of our SEMA Distributor Companies are members of the SEMA Approved Installation Companies.

SDG members can prove their credentials

In every industry, rogue practices are likely to exist. That is why it is a requirement for all SEMA Distributor Companies to submit and successfully pass an independent audit every three years to become and retain their membership. The initiative was the first scheme of its type for the industry and the audit is a clear and measurable benchmark for our members.

We are continuously looking to progress and raise our own standards. Today, the rigorous process uses a weighted scoring system and includes 35 quality measures covering two key areas: process control of actual projects on the ground and proof of controlled administration.

The SDG audit takes away that element of risk and sets its members apart from the rank and file. Each certificate is proof to the customer that their new storage systems will be correctly designed using new products, are installed by trained and qualified teams to meet HSE standards and that the member is correctly insured.

Beware Imposters

Plain common sense tells you not to buy a new gas boiler without checking if your installer is on the Gas Safety Register and the same should go for your racking system. Unfortunately, there are still companies who claim they are working in accordance with SEMA guidelines, but this does not mean they are an accredited SEMA supplier.

For peace of mind there are three quick-fire ways to easily check the credentials of your supplier. You can ask to see an in-date SDC Audit Certificate as proof of QA, contact the SEMA offices or use our ‘Find a Racking Supplier’ tool. Customers can either navigate the interactive map to find an audited and approved SDG company in their area or use the search box. Click here to find out if your proposed supplier is listed.

If you’d like to find out more about becoming a member please contact us for more information.

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