Independent builders merchants, Homeleigh Timber Supplies Ltd, is an £8.5 million turnover business serving the exacting needs of its local customers in Kent and East Sussex through a busy network of four depots.
Maximising productivity in its yards is a core consideration for the company. Space is expensive and loading delivery vehicles quickly, effectively and without incurring breakages of easily damaged paving slabs and other materials is of the utmost importance. Just-in-Time performance and a fast turnover of stock are critical to maintaining profits and retaining a competitive edge – factors that only a well-engineered fleet of robust and versatile forklift trucks can deliver.
Since the 1970’s Homeleigh has always operated a mixed lift truck fleet across its depots from a variety of different manufacturers. However, in 2014 Trevor Jenkins, director at Homeleigh, launched a strategic plan that would rationalise fork truck procurement by sourcing from a single lift truck manufacturer that could equip the building merchant with the wide range of model types needed for the future.
After extensive research and many demonstrations, Jenkins chose Jungheinrich as the trusted brand for such a long-term partnership. “When we looked at the product being demonstrated by Jungheinrich, the quality of the build vs trucks made out in the Far East, it gave us the confidence that they could easily cope with the rough-ground and punishing duties of the yard. These were tough trucks, built to German engineering standards,” says Jenkins.
So far Homeleigh has taken delivery of two new hydrostatic counter balance forklift trucks from Jungheinrich, a 3.5 ton capacity DFG 435 diesel and a 2.5 ton DFG 425. Being hydrostatic drives, both vehicles offer smooth acceleration and variable speed control, vital for the careful handling of easily fractured paving slabs and the precise stacking of brick loads. Fine manoeuvring and tight turning capabilities also offer the potential for greater density of stacked materials in the yard, boosting on-site performance.
“The plan is to replace our fleet of 16 lift trucks, ranging from 1.5 to 5 tons, over the next four years, introducing a Jungheinrich model every few months,” says Jenkins. “Having a carefully planned replacement policy will reduce our repair costs and increase reliability and uptime of our fleet. What’s more, as the hydrostatic trucks are more fuel efficient, our experience already demonstrates that we’ll be saving 20% on fuel. Breakages too have been significantly reduced through the precision control and fine inching capabilities.”
“But beyond these attributes, the core drivers for standardising on Jungheinrich products has been the robust nature of the product, its ability to perform in a harsh environment and the productivity gains that it can bring to the company through its tight manoeuvrability and fast loading of vehicles,” says Trevor Jenkins. “Our chosen partner for the future is Jungheinrich.”