A high volume logistics operation managed by Linfox for a major food manufacturer has been streamlined partly by management initiatives and partly by specific technology incorporated by its lift truck provider, Crown Equipment .
With only 13 weeks separating the manufacture date and 'used by' date of the packaged products, throughput is critical.
Linfox recognised this and integrated its warehouse and handling systems with a fleet of new Crown lift trucks with specially extended tynes to maximise storage and reduce the potential for collisions with racking.
Des O'Loughlin, Linfox distribution centre manager for the site, says updating the lift truck fleet with high-work rate Crown ESR models was part of an overall solution to make this 15,000m2 warehouse site in Smithfield, Sydney into a fast-turnaround distribution centre (DC) servicing NSW, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia.
"To maximise efficiency with our racking, pallets are arranged four-high in a double-deep configuration, yet the fleet that was previously serving our needs had unsuitable tynes that were often hitting and damaging the racks, causing potential stoppages," said Mr O'Louhglin.
"We upgraded to Crown ESR double-deep reach trucks over the past few months and have seen a dramatic reduction in stock damage by more than 70%.
"This is primarily due to these new extended forks fitted onto the ESRs. They fit into the pallets slots more efficiently, plus we have supported our lift truck operators with training and given all employees extensive education on the re-configuration of our business.
"Now there is almost no damage - a phenomenal achievement considering we are moving on average thousands of pallets every day inbound from the 'A' manufacturing plant nearby, and about as much per day outbound."
Currently, 65% of warehouse space is used in a nominally 24/5 operation. In the lead up to Christmas, the chosen maximum of 85% is occupied during which time the DC becomes a 24/7 operation.
The remaining 15% of space is allocated for emergency stock. All up, the DC has 14,000 pallet spaces.
Linfox employs a total of 40 people at the DC. There are 34 of its client's personnel on site as well comprising mainly administration and logistics people, with some sales staff.