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Golden Valley, pallet wrapping film company, selects Flexi Narrow Aisle, VNA, storage solution

Based in Gloucestershire, Golden Valley is a specialist provider of hand- and machine-applied pallet wrapping film. Although only a relatively young company – the business was started just three years ago – Golden Valley has already established itself as one of the leading suppliers of film to merchants and end users throughout the UK.

The company has more than doubled its turnover every year since launching and Chairman Colin Griffiths is optimistic that this impressive growth rate can be maintained.

According to Griffiths, Golden Valley’s success can be attributed in part to the company’s policy of promising next day delivery to customers in an industry where long lead times had become the accepted norm.

"I have worked in the packaging industry for many years and, in my view, some suppliers take an arrogant approach to their clients," he says. "When we started Golden Valley we set out to offer the highest levels of customer service by getting film to users when they need it."

To ensure that the company is always in a position to meet its order fulfilment pledge, Golden Valley relies on a robust supply chain model. Some £1.5m of stock is stored at the company’s Stonehouse warehouse unit with film deliveries arriving from suppliers around the world on a daily basis.

Such has been Golden Valley’s success that the company’s warehouse was soon approaching capacity. A number of options were considered – from outsourcing the storage function to a 3PL to moving to a bigger site.

After an extensive consultation process, Golden Valley eventually elected to make optimum use of their existing facility by developing with Flexi Narrow Aisle a very narrow aisle aisle (VNA) storage scheme served by a Flexi VNA articulated forklift truck.

Before the switch to Flexi articulated truck technology, Golden Valley’s aisles had been set at 3.1 metres wide and pallet loads of film had been put away and retrieved using a reach truck. 3.1 metres was the narrowest aisle width that the reach truck could safely operate within.

Flexi Narrow Aisle’s warehouse planning team were able to demonstrate that, by replacing the reach truck with a Flexi, VNA Golden Valley would be able to reduce the aisles to 1.8 metres wide.

The move has enabled Golden Valley to add extra runs of racking, which has increased pallet capacity by some 25 per cent. The racking design allows pallets to be stored on seven levels – the highest of which is 9 metres. In addition, an area of the warehouse has been dedicated to block stacking.

All of the pallet put-away and picking within the racking and the block storage area is undertaken by the Flexi VNA truck while the job of unloading and loading incoming and departing trailers in the yard is shared between the Flexi and Golden Valley’s counterbalanced truck.

"The introduction of Flexi truck technology allowed us to reduce aisle widths to maximise storage capacity while maintaining a safe and productive operation that allows fast and efficient pallet put away and retrieval cycles," says Colin Griffiths.

The most recent addition to the Flexi Narrow Aisle range of articulated forklift trucks, the Flexi VNA is a true four-wheel articulated truck designed to require minimal manoeuvring in the aisleways without investment in high cost guided truck systems. The truck’s excellent manoeuvrability and outstanding visibility results in faster pallet put-away and picking.

"The Flexi VNA allows accurate positioning of pallets within the aisle and when block stacking up to five pallets high," says Colin Griffiths.

John Maguire, sales and marketing director of Flexi Narrow Aisle, commented: "Some articulated trucks require the operator to perform a three-point turn in the aisleway before a pallet can be put-away or picked. Thanks to its ‘true radius’ rear chassis design, the Flexi VNA requires only one turn to enter or de-stack a pallet.

"This is hugely important and results in very significant time savings and eliminates product and racking damage in the aisles when turning. In any application involving articulated trucks the amount of time spent in the aisleway picking and putting away pallets has to be minimised if optimum operational efficiencies are to be achieved."

Flexi Narrow Aisle developed and launched the Flexi articulated truck concept more than 20 years ago and since then the Flexi has become the most popular articulated forklift truck in Europe. Over 5000 units – not only in Europe but throughout the world – have been sold, and over the past five years the Flexi range has been developed to cover the requirements of customers operating in hugely diverse industries.

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