Compared with any other forklift solution to its storage problem, logistics services provider, DSV, expects to save many thousands of pounds over the five-year lease contract for its articulating Bendi forklift from Translift Bendi.
DSV is a new name in logistics services provision, created in January following the merger between Frans Maas and DFDS two years ago. It comprises three divisions: air and sea, road and solutions division, the latter better described as a third party logistics (3PL) provider. It delivers nationwide and most of its clients, including factories, retailers and homes, ask for next-day delivery.
Among the group's many national depots, the company needed to release a 30,000ft2 leased warehouse at Great Yarmouth following changes from the merger, and transfer the same volume of business to another DSV warehouse in the town where only 15,000ft2 was available to handle a large toy contract. Previously, this area was used as a cross-docking operation in a 40,000ft2 store. Fortunately, DSV had the opportunity to stack over 10 mt high compared with no more than 6 mt before but the need to keep storage aisle widths to a minimum was paramount. The company had already been using a wire-guided, very narrow aisle (VNA) man-up truck but using another such truck would have been the wrong choice owing to high initial and running costs and lack of versatility. Reach trucks would have been unsuitable because of their relative waste of space compared with a Bendi.
DSV was doubly fortunate in that it had already been using a gas-powered Bendi at the other leased warehouse and so was aware of its remarkable space-saving advantages and versatility. Compared with counterbalanced and reach trucks, for example, the Bendi usually allows 50% and 33% more pallet storage capacity respectively. Despite advice from competing truck suppliers for other solutions, it was obvious that the only feasible solution to meet budget requirements and operational versatility was an electric Bendi, so the gas-powered truck was replaced as its yard functionality was no longer a requirement and the electric model could work in narrower aisles.
Working in 1.6 mt wide aisles, the B318 Bendi is a 3-wheeler that lifts maximum loads of 500 kg to over 10mt. It works entirely inside its 15,000ft2 area but can, if required, move into the adjacent area to help out the wire-guided VNA truck, especially if the latter breaks down, a role that cannot be reversed. It could also work out in the yard dealing with lorries, a task beyond any reach or VNA truck.
Apart from the inherent design safety features that allow better load vision and no rear end swing, the Bendi also has flashing light, reversing bleeper and side shift. Driver training was supplied by Translift Bendi.
DSV's toy contact involves unloading container loads from the Far East and in common with many such operations handballing is the unloading method. Loads are then palletised and wrapped for the Bendi to put away in the racking. The Bendi then retrieves full pallet loads for bulk despatch or order picking with the help of paper pick lists. However, DSV is adopting a warehouse management system from RedPrairie, the first of its kind in the UK, which will be a paperless operation based on laser-read barcodes.
Reviewing all the benefit's the Bendi confers, DSV's divisional manager of special services at Great Yarmouth , David Risborough, says “The Bendi was the most versatile and economic truck to fit our needs. It's a good truck to manoeuvre, is not restricted to one area and it can be used as a substitute for the VNA truck. The savings would be in thousands of pounds over the five years if we had to use a wire-guided vehicle instead.”
Although not relative to DSV's case, there are many other advantages the Bendi confers. Its large, soft, rubber-tyre wheels, for example, mean that warehouse floor upgrades that could be necessary for VNA or reach trucks can be avoided. Truck productivity is also higher because not only does the Bendi work faster than the relatively ponderous reach and VNA trucks, its versatility means more pallet moves per hour, generally speaking, than counterbalanced and VNA/reach truck combinations. Not least of its advantages, perhaps, is the ease with which it can be moved to other sites when contracts change, an advantage not usually available with tailor-made VNA trucks.
Translift Bendi Ltd, Unit 22, Padgets Lane, South Moons Moat, Redditch, Worcs. B98 ORB. Tel:01527 527411.
Fax: 01527 510177. E-