Located in Rugby, The Fulfilment Store (TFS) is a logistics specialist offering a broad range of storage, picking, packing, distribution and fulfilment solutions to a diverse client base that includes such organisations as BP, Wrigley, Amnesty International and Phones4U.
The company operates three sites comprising over 150,000 sq ft of warehousing space, from where it manages more than 26,000 stock lines ranging from paper-based literature to point of sale material – such as poster, merchandise, exhibition stands and display units.
"We have the capability to store and manage an almost inexhaustible range of diverse stock and we act as our clients’ central hub – handling enquiries from clients’ staff and customers," says TFS’s Operation Director Graham Beales.
"We’re not a traditional fulfilment company – we don’t sell what you might call a ‘boxed service’. Each of our clients has a set of very different requirements," he adds.
Because efficient use of storage space is crucial to TFS, the company has switched to a flexible narrow aisle storage system at all three of its sites.
"Our clients only pay for the space they occupy so better utilization of space means lower fulfilment costs for them," explains Graham Beales.
However, with its business expanding and the demands of its client base growing, TFS needed more space.
The company initially considered acquiring another warehouse building to keep pace with its growth, but, after a comprehensive review of materials handling operations, it was decided that the best option was to reduce the aisle widths within TFS’s existing stores and switch to a fleet of Flexi articulated narrow aisle forklift trucks at all three warehouses.
Before adopting its free-ranging narrow aisle storage system, TFS had operated 3.5 metre wide aisles served by a combination of reach and counterbalanced trucks throughout its operation.
The move to Flexis has not only allowed TFS to reduce the width of its aisles from 3.5 to 2.0 metres, but has also enabled the company to cut the size of its forklift fleet: the work that was previously undertaken by a combination of counterbalanced and reach trucks is now carried out by a much smaller number of Flexis.
"Until the Flexis were introduced we operated a two truck system with a counterbalanced machine working outside and feeding a reach truck inside," says Graham Beales. "With the arrival of the Flexis we have been able to eliminate this costly and generally inefficient arrangement. The Flexi loads and unloads lorries and delivers pallets directly to the racking in a single operation. By doing so, it increases efficiency and productivity while abolishing double handling and the costs associated with running a bigger truck fleet than is necessary," he adds.
TFS’s Flexi fleet is comprised of G4 models from the Narrow Aisle range. The Flexi G4 is the most popular articulated truck in Europe. Built in volume in an ISO 9001 quality registered factory in Tipton, the Flexi range provides a huge choice of products for different customer applications without the need special costly – and often unreliable – one-off customisation.
John Maguire, sales and marketing director of Narrow Aisle Flexi, comments: "Modern businesses need reliable standardised industrial trucks that can work through multi-shift applications with very high levels of up-time. Over many years, the Flexi has earned a reputation for reliable operation and its low maintenance costs result in low rental costs. Its unique twin load wheel drive offers safe traction in all conditions especially when laden and, together with its unique ‘True Radius” and ‘over-rotation’ features, enables the Flexi to work in aisleways down to 1.6 metres wide and lif to heights of 12.5 metres."
"We firmly believe that our ability to intelligently innovate and deliver operational excellence lies at the heart of The Fulfilment Store’s success." says TFS’s Graham Beales. "The efficiency of our materials handling operation – and the Flexi trucks at the heart of it – is fundamental to our ongoing growth strategy."