The lead-up to Christmas is the busiest time of year for Malmar, Australia’s favourite wholesale supplier of novelty gifts and homewares, based in Coomera on the Gold Coast. From life-size porcelain unicorns to miniature keyrings, Malmar can now accommodate bulk quantities of its huge range of stock thanks to collaboration with Combilift’s warehouse and racking layout expertise and the introduction of four Aisle Master articulated forklifts on site.

Following an increase in online sales in the past few years, Malmar was keen to try and maximise storage density in its 12,000m² warehouse. “We started as a single retail shop in 1971, and since then we’ve evolved to become what we call Santa’s biggest competitor – our expert buying team travels the world to find affordable, wholesale gifts that are of high quality that will sell fast”, said Dave Turner, Director of Malmar Group. “But whereas Santa has his elves to help out, Combilift and its trucks were the magic ingredients to solve our space issues.”

Malmar was struggling with its previous racking layout as well as not being fully satisfied with its old forklift trucks. This led to consideration of moving to larger, new premises that would not only have been costly but would have required constant upgrading. A trial of the Aisle Masters plus subsequent work with Combilift on a new racking layout meant that these expensive and potentially disruptive measure could be avoided. “We did the design for a new shed and Combilift optimised a custom-made racking solution and picking design before the building was finalised. This allowed us to design the shed around the racking – which is the opposite of what most people do”, said Dave.

Narrow aisle racking and trucks that work within these aisles was a game changer for the quantity of products that Malmar can order in, store and distribute according to Dave, as was the ability to go higher: “our Aisle Masters are fitted with a 12.1m triplex mast so we have essentially doubled our storage capacity by utilising every inch of vertical space, which has halved our warehousing costs.”

The Aisle Master 20WHE models handle diverse sized loads around the clock. Homewares and novelties come in at all different sizes and weights so having the combination of racking and versatile forklifts ensures safe handling of fragile objects. More Aisle Master units are in the pipeline as they have proved to be a cost-saving investment that is key to Malmar’s operation.

Dave says the business has never been busier and the Aisle Masters’ battery capability, which allows maximum power through double shifts, is a great benefit. The drivers also appreciate the added features such as cameras and the height indicator kit when picking or placing pallets in the top bays.

He sums up: “Without our partnership with Combilift we would have needed a warehouse that was twice as big. As consumer demand increases for our products, we are confident that due to the optimisation of our facility we can continue to get the job done and maintain our position as Australia’s favourite gift supplier.”

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