Online bathroom retailer Victoria Plum has optimised its intralogistics processes by investing in a new fleet of more than 50 electric-powered Toyota lift trucks.

Including state-of-the-art reach and counterbalance models as well as powered pallet trucks and order pickers, the trucks will be deployed at the company’s 277,000 sq ft distribution centre in Doncaster.

During extensive trials Victoria Plum looked for equipment that would cut running costs, improve fleet utilisation and, most importantly, achieve high levels of safety and lift truck operator comfort.

Victoria Plum’s operations director, Andy Svenson, said: “As a business, Victoria Plum is fully committed to keeping its workers and the workplace safe. We have implemented various programmes aimed at preventing accidents, encouraging safe behaviour and promoting wellbeing amongst our staff. Forklift truck safety is therefore a priority across our Doncaster distribution centre.”

The new forklift fleet will be supplied on a contract rental agreement that includes service and maintenance support.

In addition, regular review meetings will be held to consider any improvements to processes or changes to the make-up of the fleet as well as the way trucks are deployed at the Doncaster site. This will highlight any aspects of Victoria Plum’s materials handling operation that could be further enhanced.

Data for each review will be provided by Toyota’s I_Site technology, which is a feature of Victoria Plum’s new machines.

I_Site is designed to optimise the performance of every size and type of forklift fleet. The technology enables trucks to become communications devices capable of transmitting valuable data regarding a forklift’s performance to a central information hub. If required, I_Site can also provide data on a truck operator’s efficiency.

Receiving this data from connected vehicles will give Victoria Plum’s distribution centre management team a better understanding of their intralogistics operation and the power to take more control over it.

As part of the agreement, Toyota will supply a battery changing station along with spare batteries and a battery management system to ensure that the fleet consistently delivers the most energy efficient and productive performance levels.

Andy Svenson added: “Establishing a robust forklift battery management regime will prolong battery lifetimes and help us avoid the cost of buying additional batteries during the contract period.”

Toyota’s Marc Nicholson commented: “Victoria Plum recorded a record 46 per cent increase in sales to £103m for the year to February 2021 and the business continues to expand at pace.

“In order to manage this rapid growth an efficient materials handling fleet is essential, so we are delighted that Victoria Plum has chosen Toyota as its trusted partner.”

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