A major consideration during the design and operation of today’s warehouses and distribution centres is the need to ensure maximum use of available storage space. Unsurprisingly, this has led to the introduction of increasingly ingenious storage methods and sophisticated warehouse management systems. However, within the logistics sector, the principle of space optimisation is not confined purely to the storage and distribution of goods.
The vast majority of companies in the sector rely on road transport to deliver a wide range of unit loads and palletised goods either to intermediate distribution centres or direct to customers. Whilst this operation needs to be inherently effective and efficient, great responsibility is placed on the millions of trucks to deliver on time, every time. Consequently, the reliability of individual vehicles and fleets is an essential component in the distribution process.
To ensure the highest levels of reliability from their road vehicles, many companies have incorporated vehicle maintenance units (VMUs) within their warehousing facilities, staffed by knowledgeable and experienced technicians. Furthermore, workshop managers and fleet managers have equipped these workshops with the latest tools and machinery to carry out regular servicing, repair and maintenance activities. As these workshops have become increasingly busy, it’s important that the most effective use is made of available floor space.
Established in 1960, Warrens Warehousing & Distribution (Midlands) Limited is a long-standing user of mobile column lifts. As the preferred primary haulier for the distribution of bread and cake products for Tesco and Sainsbury, Warrens also delivers to Morrisons, Waitrose and ASDA plus a significant number of ad hoc destinations.
From its original modest fleet of 15 lorries, the company’s Rugby hub now operates over 140 Scania tractors and more than 230 tri-axle trailers. To ensure top performance and availability from this growing number of vehicles, the company relies upon several sets of wireless mobile column lifts.
Each set comprises four columns providing an individual lifting capacity of 7.5 tonnes which means that the combined capacity of the set is an impressive 30 tonnes. Also, each column incorporates the revolutionary eBright Smart Control System which allows workshop staff to operate the columns individually, in pairs or in any other configuration from any column in the set. Positioning of the wireless columns is flexible, enabling them to be used in any configuration around a vehicle.
An adaptive approach
The company relies on the pair of wireless mobile column lifts, complete with fork lift adapters, for use in its workshop at East Drayton, North Nottinghamshire. As an independent supplier of Yale and JCB materials handling equipment, SCC specified the special fork lift adapters to extend the versatility of its 7.5 tonnes capacity mobile column lifts and ensure total safety for the company’s engineers when working on a wide range of three and four-wheeled fork lift trucks.
Many users of mobile column lifts are also able to extend their workshop area beyond the building itself. Because mobile column lifts can be positioned alongside a vehicle rather than have the problem of moving a vehicle - maybe one that’s broken down - to the lift, adjacent outdoor hard standing areas can be fully utilised, weather permitting, during busy periods.
With workshop space often representing a necessary but additional overhead, an increasing number of companies within the logistics sector are discovering that the use of mobile column lifts is a cost-effective way of achieving genuine space optimisation.
Simon Laffoley reports.