Europe’s leading pallet network, Palletways, has described its groundbreaking switch to Mitsubishi forklift trucks as "perfect".
Last year, the firm took the major decision to break with the longstanding forklift supplier at its massive Lichfield depot, and instead sourced 60 GRENDIA LPG trucks and associated equipment from Jofson Mitsubishi.
A year on, the new Mitsubishi trucks have proven so successful the switch could be copied at other sites across the continent.
"After 14 years, it was a major decision to break away from our previous supplier," explains Palletways general manager Dave Daniels. "Understandably, we were worried. But it was perfect. We couldn’t be happier."
Performance and economy compared
The Mitsubishi GRENDIA model was selected following extensive testing and comparison of fuel economy and short-shuttle performance against major competitors. An experienced Palletways forklift operator visited Jofson to finalise the trucks’ specification, with fingertip hydraulic controls and individual driver ID.
Meanwhile, John Wright of Jofson created a bespoke service agreement to ensure the trucks would always deliver for Palletways’ intensive, round-the-clock operation.
Even with such in-depth preparation and support, however, Palletways prepared for teething troubles that are common with major contracts. None arrived.
Dave Daniels recalls: "The transition to Mitsubishi was actually far smoother than we had expected.
"I liked John Wright immediately. He’s a straight-talking, professional guy and gave us no false promises: everything Jofson said, they’ve delivered. I can’t praise them highly enough."
27,000 pallet movements per night
The GRENDIA forklifts’ natural toughness came into its own over Christmas, standing up to a season Daniels describes as "Hell-for-leather", when Palletways set new records for pallet movements in a single night.
Unlike many trucks, which are built around a flimsy, belt-driven automotive engine, the Mitsubishi LPG forklift engine is truly industrial; its drive chain reducing servicing costs and dramatically cutting downtime: ideal for Palletways’ punishing schedule.
Dave Daniels explains: "We really put the trucks through their paces. Last night was fairly typical: we made 27,000 pallet movements. It’s incredibly hard work, 24 hours a day, six and a half days a week. I always say one year here is like five anywhere else, so a tough truck and great support are essential."
Meanwhile, Palletways’ seasonal capacity fluctuations and unexpected peaks in demand are speedily accommodated by a designated account manager at Jofson, Andy Homer.
He says: "Palletways work against the clock, so forklift availability and uptime are critical: the trailers arrive, and the pallets absolutely have to be moved. No ifs, no buts, and no second chances.
"That’s why we manage the performance very carefully, and structured the contract to include the flexibility Palletways need to get the job done, every single night."
No compromise on productivity
The new trucks’ customisable performance enables Palletways to fine-tune maximum travel speeds & acceleration parameters. Combined with clean burning, fuel-injected engine technology and three-way catalytic converter, the result is a startling reduction in fuel costs, with no loss of productivity, and vastly reduced emissions for warehouse use.
It is a combination that is already drawing admiring glances from Palletways depots further afield.
Dave Daniels concludes: "We’re awaiting the exact figures from the full year’s operating cycle, but it’s already clear the new trucks are significantly more cost effective.
"As our other European sites reach the end of their forklift contracts, we’ll look favourably on Mitsubishi, I’m sure."