The GPC 3000 Series of low level order pickers produced by Crown Equipment Corporation has taken the IDEA Gold Award 2009 in the ‘Commercial & Industrial Products’ category. Established in 1980, the International Design Excellence Awards programme is one of the world’s most prestigious competitions. Winners are chosen by a panel of top designers and the results announced by media sponsor Business Week magazine. The main criteria used in judging include innovation, benefit to the user, benefit to society and natural ecology, visual appeal and appropriate aesthetics.
This is the third time in just over a year that the GPC 3000 Series has been awarded a top design accolade.
Manufactured in Germany, the GPC 3000 low level order picker has enjoyed enormous success – due primarily to the customer-driven development approach followed by Crown.
The company’s engineers closely observe workflows on customers’ premises over extended periods of time, assessing technical and procedural weak points and searching for solutions that will genuinely add value to their customers’ day-to-day operations.
Focused on customers’ needs
A lengthy series of in-depth studies preceded development work on the GPC 3000 Series.
Crown engineers discovered that up to 90% of the tasks typically involved in order picking – such as walking, selecting, loading, labelling, counting, wrapping – are performed off the truck. Following this discovery, they incorporated a host of design details and functional tweaks into the GPC 3000, aiming to minimise and streamline driver interaction with the truck.
One example is the Pick Position Control™ System, which allows drivers to guide the truck to the next picking location without having to climb aboard. Christian Fuchs of Spedition DSV is happy to confirm the truck’s user benefits: “Since we included the new Crown low level order picker in our fleet, order picking has become much quicker and more efficient. Our operators enjoy working with GPC 3000 machines because they can work faster and without getting so tired, thanks to the vehicle’s rapid acceleration, easy steering and ergonomic Work Assist™ accessories. They especially appreciate the Pick Position Control™ System – it makes everyday tasks much easier because they don’t have to climb onto the truck to move to the next order picking point.” Spedition DSV is currently using around 50 Crown low level order pickers.
Thoughtful ergonomics enhance efficiency
Crown has also developed a range of Work Assist™ accessories especially for the GPC 3000 Series. This flexible system of optional equipment further enhances the truck’s safety and ergonomics, bringing operators immediate benefits. Helpful little details such as clip pads and scanner holders, storage systems and pockets, make everyday tasks easier and more productive. Drivers can find everything they need safely stored within easy reach.
The fold-down step is a safe, convenient option for reaching goods stored up to two metres off the ground. By providing drivers with a stable footing, the step helps optimise the use of warehouse space while substantially reducing the risk of injury. The truck’s wide walk-through compartment with its smoothly rounded surfaces and extra-low step height means that drivers can get into and out of the truck without twisting or bending.
These thoughtful ergonomic touches minimise fatigue during the working day, helping pickers work efficiently and safely.
User-friendly equipment is only part of the answer: tried-and-tested Crown technology also helps fleet managers increase productivity and reduce costs. Take the zeromaintenance e-Gen™ Braking System, for example – a Crown innovation that makes sure each truck’s braking performance is powerful, balanced and sustained. This feature alone significantly cuts one of the key costs affecting lift-truck fleet operators.
The Crown Access 1 2 3® Comprehensive Control System continually analyses the various factors that influence each truck’s performance, safety and consumption, such as load, speed and steering angle. In critical situations involving, for example, driver error, the Control System is capable of intervening and taking corrective action.
Winner of three Golds for outstanding industrial design
As well as the IDEA Award, the GPC 3000 Series has picked up two other coveted awards over the past 12 months: one of them, the iF Product Design Gold Award – also known as the Design Oscar – was hotly contested by nearly 3,000 competitors from 39 different countries. The GPC 3000 also took the Good Design Award 2008, an international distinction that acknowledges visionary innovation in industrial design, awarded by the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design.
“We are delighted by this recognition. These are highly prestigious industry awards that set the very highest standards in applying criteria such as user friendliness, functionality and environmental compatibility – that is, precisely those aspects of industrial design that directly benefit customers. These awards validate our hard work and acknowledge the time and effort we put into our development process”, stated Ken Dufford, Managing Director European Operations, at Crown.