Oxford University Press (OUP) is the oldest company in Britain and was formed in 1478 – just two years after William Caxton established the first printing press in England. Today, it is a major academic publishing house and the world’s largest university press.
OUP greatly enhanced its distribution base by completing an important warehouse move at the beginning of 2011. The new distribution centre at ProLogis Park, Kettering, brings with it a huge increase in floor space – a total of 410,000 sq ft.
Crown Lift Trucks won the tender to supply a fleet of TSP 6000 VNA man-up order pickers supported by WT 3000 powered pallet trucks with operator platform. The new trucks also incorporate InfoLink® – Crown’s unique productivity management system.
OUP is not quite as straightforward as similar-sized commercial organisations. For starters, it is a department of Oxford University and a registered charity. It posts an annual turnover of £500 million and is self financing.
OUP exists to further the art of education. It publishes in more than 50 countries in a variety of languages, for all levels, and across virtually every academic discipline. These facts are interesting from a distribution perspective because it means that OUP has to hold a lot of very slow-moving stock.
The new distribution centre is an important part of OUP’s operations, which handles domestic and international orders for UK-published works and imported titles published from overseas branches and distribution partners. The current inventory stands at 28 million books and counting. Some 6.5 million books are dispatched each and every month with 500 tonnes of large orders packed and shipped weekly. The warehouse is close to its former base at Corby, but its increased size and modern facilities give OUP greater flexibility and the opportunity to improve efficiency.
The new fleet
The staff at OUP were heavily involved in the selection process. OUP put together the required specification and asked manufacturers to tender. A shortlist was drawn up and OUP visited each manufacturer with a team of people which included truck operators, engineering staff and managers. Following a number of site visits and extensive testing, the Crown TSP 6000 and WT 3000 were chosen.
The Crown TSP 6000
The TSP 6000 is one of the most advanced VNA trucks available today. Having won no fewer than five awards for its innovative industrial design – including the highly coveted iF Product Design Award – the TSP 6000 earned an early reputation as being at the cutting edge of contemporary design.
The compact three point suspension guarantees a short turning radius making it possible to combine picking, transporting and staging operations in one truck.
The closed-section mast – a unique design exclusive to Crown -minimises deflection for the entire length of the mast. Its construction features a boxed-in design with heavy gauge steel I-beams tied together with massive cross members. This proven Crown design does away with the tie bars and stabilisers common to competitor trucks.
Crown’s MoveControl™ seat provides outstanding visibility and unhindered access to goods, ensuring efficient order-picking with comfortable entry and exit. Driver comfort was important to OUP, as one of the warehouse operators involved in selecting the truck, Graham Reed, explains:
“I’ve been working at OUP for over eight years and coming away from the fixed cranes at our previous site was quite a change. When selecting the new fleet of VNA trucks, comfort was obviously a high priority. But the MoveControl™ seat gives easy access and maximum support over longer shifts.
“Of the manufacturers we looked at, the Crown TSP 6000 felt the most compact and easy to operate. The cabin is a very pleasant place to sit with great all-round visibility. In fact, I’d say it’s the best VNA truck available today.”
Crown WT 3000 powered pallet trucks with operator platform
Two significant features of the WT 3000 are its FlexRide™ platform which reduces shock transfer to the operator by more than 80 percent and the e-GEN™ braking system which uses the power of the high-torque AC traction motor to stop the truck and keep it static until a travel input is requested, even when operating on an incline. This system eliminates adjustments and wear points for a lifetime of maintenance free use.
Productivity management – Crown InfoLink
OUP’s fleet of TSP 6000 VNA order pickers and supporting WT 3000 powered pallet trucks have been equipped with Crown’s InfoLink® System featuring wireless technology that provides data on performance, facility and shift period, all in real-time.
“At our old site, our engineering team logged data manually using spreadsheets,” said OUP’s Infrastructure Manager, Elwyn Roberts. “InfoLink allows us to collect far more data, much more efficiently, and the accompanying FleetStats software presents reports in a clear and easy to understand format.”
You can find out more about Crown at www.crown.com