Britvic Soft Drinks, one of the UK’s leading soft drinks businesses, uses strong partners to handle over 1.4 billion litres of containerised soft drinks each year. Barloworld Handling is the partner it chooses to manage its materials handling fleet of over 200 units on 6 sites, and with some extra intelligence, it has helped Britvic to reduce cost and optimise efficiency, helping to keep the nation refreshed.
With great brands like Robinsons, Fruit Shoot, Tango, J2O and of course the Britvic brand, Britvic Soft Drinks sells approximately 1.4 billion litres of soft drinks in many different flavours. The company operates 6 UK production facilities plus a National Distribution Centre (NDC) based in Lutterworth, Leicestershire.
"All drinks are palletised and handled by the materials handling fleet, critical to every Britvic operation" explains Chris Jackson, regional drive site manager, responsible for Britvic’s materials handling fleet.
Britvic has developed a strong partnership with Barloworld over the last 10 years who provides a bespoke and intelligent service suited to its materials handling fleet across the UK.
"Barloworld is a national partner that provides dedicated local support. The team has helped us improve our understanding of how we use the equipment and how we can manage it more effectively to improve performance and reduce downtime" says Chris, explaining that the fleet has been reduced as a result.
As UK distribution partner for Hyster, Barloworld manages more than 200 Hyster units for Britvic ranging from counterbalance forklift trucks, to order pickers and pallet trucks.
"Truck utilisation is now properly managed so that we balance the hours used across the fleet and centrally manage life-time costs. This has had a significant, positive impact and our contracts with Barloworld are now tuned accordingly" Chris explains.
Britvic’s 275,000sqft NDC in Lutterworth receives approximately 60% of all Britvic’s finished products, handling 470 vehicles a day in peak periods. Pallets are received by lorry and unloaded by 8 Hyster H4.0FT Advance+ LPG forklifts with a double pallet handling attachment.
Steve Martin, facilities manager at Lutterworth explains how extra fleet intelligence positively affects the operation. "The Fortens trucks should work 70-80 hours a week in an intense, short run, stop-start operation, but we were finding that the hours were incredibly high for some trucks but not others, with associated penalties. We now direct drivers to use specific trucks for each shift saving money and optimising the management of scheduled maintenance".
Barloworld introduced its new fleet management system to Britvic in the summer of 2009 which uses a unique telemetry device (BTD) to transmit data from all Britvic’s trucks directly to Barloworld’s secure back office management system. The system collects, analyses and reports truck performance data such as hourmeter readings, impacts, maintenance completion and cost of ownership information. Data for all sites is then accessible through a secure online portal, also providing an instant audit trail.
Goods received at Lutterworth are transferred from the lorries to an automated pallet handling system by the Hyster H4.0FT trucks and then stored in high bay warehousing with over 50,000 pallet locations. More than 300 pallets are then typically picked per hour for onward distribution and loaded onto curtain sided trailers by the Hyster trucks with double pallet handlers or loaded into containers by Hyster Fortens H2.5FT Advance on a ramp. The Fortens trucks feature the Duramatch transmission helping to reduce tyre wear, and low maintenance wet brakes.
Steve adds "The drivers like the Hyster trucks. It is their office and so they have to be comfortable, with fingertip hydraulics and various other features helping them to continually perform well whilst maintaining a safe working environment".
Pallets are also transferred to the case picking area where 12 Hyster LO2.0M low level order pickers and 2 Hyster J1.80XMTs are used for picking around 30,000 cases in 24 hours. 40% of all orders have a pick element and the machines operate with a spare battery supported by Barloworld’s Total Battery Management service, incorporating Hoppecke’s Trak-air technology, for maximum availability. Barloworld also maintains the floor cleaning equipment onsite and provides other services such as driver trainer training and short-term hire equipment when needed.
Chris concludes "Barloworld operates as Britvic’s partner, providing a dynamic and flexible service across the UK. The team understands our business, drives down cost and continually improves efficiency as our business grows".