Fleet Management & Forklift Safety Blog

Lift truck logic: Why size really matters

Posted by Phil Van Wormer on Mar 10, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Success-stock-photo-thumbs-upEvaluate your fleet of lift trucks, take action, and realize great gains. 

That is exactly what the Associated Grocers of New England (AGNE) did and the results are indeed impressive.

The company’s decision to deploy a fleet of lift trucks from The Raymond Corp. tailored to working in temperature-controlled environments where temperatures reach as low as 20 below, resulted in significant improvements in warehouse visibility, cost savings, and lift truck productivity.

In pure numbers, the improvements, including continuous upgrades, translated into:

  • 58 percent total improvement in throughput.

  • Up to 18 percent in cost savings.

In an article in SupplyChain 24/7, Robbie Robichaud, vice president of warehousing and transportation for AGNE, describes the operation as a “synchronized dance.” But, as the company recognized, that dance left more to be desired when it came to productivity at the 380,000-square-foot distribution center that holds dry groceries, perishable products, freezer meat, deli, dairy, and produce.

Although the materials handling process from dock to slot worked well, limited slotting availability and ceiling height hampered productivity. As a result of improperly sized lift trucks, the facility and the equipment were being damaged.

AGNE knew it was time for an evaluation. Several brands and models were considered before the company picked a fleet from The Raymond Corp., a channel partner of TotalTrax. The new fleet was tailored to the facility’s aisle width, ceiling height, and multiple working environments, which include areas with refrigerated storage and blast freezers.

Some immediate advantages of using two reach truck models included:

  • Improved operator visibility when working at a clear stacking height of 32 feet.

  • Fewer battery charges and smaller, less expensive batteries since both use efficient motors.

  • Heated operator platforms and control handles that cycles on a off depending on the location of the lift truck.

Other operational changes that contributed to the improved performance included the following:

  • Use of a mixture of new and existing equipment.

  • Orderpickers are used for high-level picking or planned item retrieval functions.

  • End rider pallet trucks are used for loading and unloading tractor trailers as well as low-level order picking.

  • Pallet trucks are used for delivering products to retailers.

The example of AGNE underscores the importance of evaluating your fleet of lift trucks to ensure they are tailored to your operation. Operational challenges may simply be rooted in the size of your lift trucks.

Topics: warehouse productivity, fleet utilization, forklift batteries, best practices, The Raymond Corp.

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