The multi-million pound investment at C BUTT’s National Distribution Centre (NDC) for electrical goods in Leicestershire includes leading Hyster Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) and warehouse technology.
“We looked at three other suppliers and not only did Barloworld offer the best value solution, we have also developed an excellent working relationship over the past five years,” says Mark Beaumont, Operations Manager at the site.
Previous experience of Hyster equipment and the excellent responsive service from Barloworld were also important factors in the decision making process. The new fleet includes the latest Hyster equipment which Beaumont believes is now even better:
“The most important materials handling element is making sure that delivered pallets are put away quickly and logged onto our system ready for sale within 4 hours of the delivery slot” says Beaumont. “Hyster VNA machines are essential for this role and experience over the last five years confirms their reliability, speed and ability to keep up with our fast paced logistics operation.”
The Magna Park site is a 200,000sqft centre for electrical goods and around 159,000 pallets of goods pass through the site each year, with significant seasonal variation.
Four new wire-guided Hyster C1.5 Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) machines computer linked to the warehouse management system are now in operation at the NDC putting away and picking pallets from racking over 9m high.
“From September to December, all four VNA machines are required to operate for around 18-20 hours a day, 5 days a week as we have to keep up with the seasonal demand,” Beaumont says. “We cannot stop the VNAs from working during those periods and with two batteries for each machine, they are worked extremely hard over three shifts.”
As containers loaded with electrical items arrive at the NDC from UK terminals, new Hyster P2.0S ride-on pallet trucks typically de-stuff the containers according to strict delivery windows. New Hyster H1.6FT LPG 1,600kg forklifts then transport loaded pallets to the end of the warehouse aisles where the VNA machines then take over.
The Hyster VNA offers a comfortable driving experience with seat-side controls, specifically designed for an intensive pallet handling environment with excellent fork tip visibility to help maximise handling efficiency.
“The VNA operators have hourly targets that they have to meet so we have provided the best tools for their job,” says Beaumont.
The Hyster C1.5 VNA is regarded as one of the best of its type in the industry featuring integral pantograph, slim turret head and the patented QUAD-form mast design giving increased rigidity and torsional strength at height. Load weight sensing calculates speed to height to weight for maximum performance and the truck’s efficient energy management system keeps the truck working through extended shifts.
Two Hyster R2.0H reach trucks are also in operation at Magna Park and each truck in the electric fleet is supplied with two high performance Hoppecke batteries to allow continuous operation at peak times.
The latest high frequency Hoppecke chargers have been installed and Barloworld has also provided a battery changing system for fast battery extraction and replacement. Full battery management is also part of the contract.
At peak times the operation flexes with up to 100 agency staff and Barloworld provides short term hire forklifts to meet the demand. C BUTT ensures that all its forklift drivers are trained and qualified to safely operate the equipment, which is also fitted with pin code access and Barloworld’s fleet management system providing utilisation data for all of the fleet.
“Our goal is to help take cost out of our customers’ business and these investments in new materials handling technologies and intelligent support from Barloworld help us achieve this,” says Beaumont, explaining that the equipment is serviced to strict maintenance schedules by Barloworld.
“Past experience tells us that we have a new fleet of extremely durable trucks and the proactive support from Barloworld gives us the capability to flex this operation throughout the year in response to customer demands,” he adds.