By renting two refurbished, articulating Bendi forklifts and designing a new warehouse around them, Megaman UK, makers of premium quality energy saving lamps, have dramatically improved their warehouse efficiency in Welwyn Garden City.
Previously, Megaman had two small warehouses in Hertford, using two gas and one electric counterbalanced forklifts, which typically need at least 3.6-mt wide racking aisles. The stores did not make best use of space, and a second floor restricted forklift usage. There were also costs of moving goods between the stores.
To cope with growing business, Megaman dispensed with the two stores and moved to a new, purpose-built warehouse, much larger than the old two but with the remit that valuable storage space had to be used sparingly. This is precisely what the multi, award-winning Bendi from Redditch-based Translift Bendi was designed to achieve.
Compared with a conventional, counterbalanced truck, for example, the Bendi's articulating mast typically allows operators to store 50% more pallets because they can work safely in aisles only 1.6 mt wide, less than any other articulating trucks. The comparison with reach trucks typically shows up to a 33% pallet storage gain. The storage space gain, however, can be much more than that because the Bendi can lift loads to 12.5 mt whereas counterbalanced trucks are generally limited to about 6 mt.
Saving storage space, however, is not the only major Bendi advantage. Truck versatility, for example, is another. The Bendi can work outside on rough yards, loading and unloading lorries, and so dispense with the need for having two different types of often underutilised trucks. This means that a Bendi can be far more productive in terms of pallet movements per hour. Saving time can also be significant because Bendi trucks can dispense with double handling when taking loads directly from lorries for positioning in the racking, if equipped with radio data terminals.
Elaine Chellenbron, Megaman's general manager, also agrees that safety is a major Bendi advantage. Using racking beams 10 mt high would pose significant visual problems for counterbalanced and reach truck drivers but Bendi drivers have a much better view of the load interfacing with racking beams owing to the mast articulation. Moreover, unlike other truck types, there is also no rear end swing that could damage racking.
Helping Megaman through the selection process was ForkTruck Direct, of South Woodham Ferrers, an approved dealer for Translift Bendi. They liaised with the racking suppliers, Redirack, to ensure that Megaman achieved the most cost effective solution , which was paramount in Megaman's thinking.
Equipped with side shift, flashing beacon and keypad to prevent unauthorized use of the two electric B40 Bendis, the trucks work in aisles 1.96 mt wide lifting loads up to 10 mt across the 24,000 ft2 store built specifically with the Bendi in mind. Their lift capacity is 975 kg up to 8.2 mt or 1,350 kg to 6 mt and they are used for picking, replenishment and moving stock around, mostly full pallet loads because Megaman's customers usually order in bulk.
Megaman chose refurbished trucks, painted in their corporate blue, because as a producer of energy-saving products they are more than happy to recycle. This includes using recyclable material to cut the use of scarce raw materials and generation of waste, thus leading to a greener manufacturing method. Some of their lamps have remarkable longevity of 15,000 hours and can endure over 600,000 switching cycles.
Described by Elaine as “more than adequate for the job,” the trucks are on long-term contract rental with full maintenance, which can often mean that where offsite warehousing is closed down the Bendi can yield instant truck payback.