A crisis can happen at any time, so it is crucial a company has a crisis management plan in place to protect its customer relationships, minimise damage and turn things round as quickly as possible if it occurs.
DIY specialist Wickes was recently tested in a crisis situation when its Hemel Hempstead distribution centre was significantly damaged by the Buncefield fuel depot fire last December. Located just 500 metres from the depot, the site supplied over 1,800 unique stock lines to 176 Wickes stores across the UK. The sheer power of the blast caused damage to the exterior of the building, including smashed windows, meaning the site had to be evacuated for refurbishment.
Ross Eggleton, National General Manager of Lloyd Fraser (Supply Chain) who operates the Wickes Intermediate Warehouses, said: “The Buncefield oil depot fire was a massive disaster and could have caused severe problems to the Wickes supply chain without a disaster recovery plan being in place. Poor handling of the crisis could have severely damaged the Wickes offer to customers and impacted upon sales.”
“It was essential all the store deliveries were relocated to another depot immediately to avoid potentially leaving some stores under stocked. To carry this out, we needed a range of forklift trucks at very short notice to enable us to load, and unload, stock at our Nether Heyford site which we used to mitigate the impact as an alternative depot, ready for distribution.
“Over the last few years we have developed an excellent partnership with Finning Materials Handling and its Short Term Hire service was ideal for dealing with this problem. We put an emergency call into the company for four lift trucks late Sunday afternoon and by 6am the next morning they were onsite.”
“However, this wasn’t the end the problems. Because of increased demand on the resources at the new site in Northampton, we had to temporarily set up another relief depot in Daventry. As this site was unoccupied, a further six lift trucks and 10 hand pallet trucks were needed. This additional order was placed in the early hours of Monday morning, with the machines arriving by noon the same day.”
Finning Short Term Hire is ideal to help companies meet tight deadlines and overcome problems. With a varied fleet of machines, short term hire gives customers more options and genuine flexibility without long term investment, whether they need a machine for a day or up to a year. Finning has a team of 20 dedicated workshop engineers on hand to tailor its trucks and to ensure its customers get the right specification to meet their needs. A fleet of 20 HGV’s deliver over 2,000 machines per month to locations across the UK.
Ian Bennett, strategic account manager for Finning, said: “This is a great example of the benefits of short term hire and highlights the speed and reliability of our service offering.
It’s the ability to turn things round when something goes wrong that gives us a competitive advantage. Our job was to react to Wickes’ needs and supply our machines as quickly as possible to ensure they could carry out all their deliveries with minimal disruption.”
Added Ross: “Although emergencies of this nature are rare, it is vital you have the plans in place, along with suppliers you can rely on to minimise the impact on your business. With the help of Finning Short Term Hire, we were able to offer 99% availability on all stock the day after the fuel depot fire to our network of branches across the south east, highlighting Finning’s first class service offering.
Finning’s bespoke partnership with Wickes has seen 180 counterbalance trucks supplied to the DIY specialist’s four distribution centres across the UK over the last twelve months. This ongoing partnership will see another 250 trucks delivered over the next two years to the company’s 170 stores nationwide. Backing this up is a team of over 750 Finning engineers who are on-hand to provide service maintenance, so the fleet is productive and operational at all times.
Contact:0800 262681 www.finning.co.uk.