With an annual turnover approaching £150 million, Davies Turner is one of the UK’s leading multimodal forwarders and logistics organisations.
The company – which remains independently owned – operates some one million square feet (100,000 square metres) of warehousing space across 23 UK sites.
One of Davies Turner’s biggest facilities is in Dartford, Kent. In the shadow of the QEII bridge, the 10 acre site is ideally placed for the UK’s motorway network and offers easy access to the major south and east coast ports. It comprises two units – one dedicated to freight forwarding and another used for warehousing and logistics services.
A mixed fleet of materials handling equipment had operated across the two storage units but the company recently took the decision to switch to a single supplier and, following a competitive tender process, Jungheinrich was awarded the contract to supply new counterbalanced and powered pallet trucks.
15 gas-powered counterbalanced and 7 ride-on pallet trucks are now in operation at the Dartford facility undertaking a broad range of handling duties.
With the counterbalanced trucks required to work around the clock, seven days a week, gas was the obvious choice of power source for Davies Turner, as the company’s warehouse manager, Paul Scoble, explains: "In many ways we would prefer to run electric powered forklifts, but trucks used as intensively as we use them need a regimented charging regime which, in truth, we would struggle to adhere to. This would lead to problems with the batteries so we went for gas."
The counterbalance trucks chosen were models from the Jungheinrich TFG Hydtrostatic range.
One of the key drivers behind Davies Turner’s choice was the Jungheinrich TFG’s impressive fuel consumption statistics. Jungheinrich were able to demonstrate that over the course of 2000 hours of typical operation, the trucks save some £2000 in fuel costs in comparison with similar capacity counterbalance trucks. For sites – such as Davies Turner’s Dartford facility – where a large fleet is in operation, the savings are extremely significant.
The new trucks at Dartford are proving to be some 40 per cent more fuel efficient than the models they replaced.
Most of the counterbalanced and ride-on pallet trucks are in operation within the freight forwarding store where they are used to de-stuff and stuff incoming and outgoing containers and trailers.
The majority of the freight that passes through the facility is cross docked at ground level but items that are to be held for more than a few days are lifted up to a mezzanine floor storage area by the forklifts.
The facility features 44 loading docks through which all manner of goods pass – including, recently, a 1930 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost destined for the United States!
The trucks are 1.6 to 2 tonne capacity but, for heavier load handling, Jungheinrich supplied a 3 tonne machine.
The 3 tonne forklift was modified to allow it to manoeuvre in and out containers. The roof of the operator compartment was lowered significantly yet – despite the fact that the truck is just 1.8 metres high – the all-weather cab remains spacious to ensure that the operator is comfortable in even the most extreme weather conditions.
Davies Turner’s logistics warehouse at Dartford is a Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) store offering some 11,000 pallet locations. Situated across the yard from the freight forwarding unit, the store’s 16 aisles are served by three wire-guided Jungheinrich VNA order pickers which have been in operation at the site for the past eight years.
Indeed, the high levels of reliability that Davies Turner had come to expect from the Jungheinrich VNA equipment down the years and the quality of the after-care service and maintenance offered was another key influence on the company’s decision to opt for an exclusive Jungheinrich fleet at Dartford.
"Our Dartford site operates on a 24/7 basis, handling many hundreds of vehicles every week so we need the most reliable and robust handling equipment we can get.
"We were offered cheaper deals but the fuel efficiency of the Jungheinrich TFG trucks and our previous experience of dealing with the company were compelling reasons to invest in a Jungheinrich fleet," said Alan Williams, a Director of Davies Turner.