Medisave is one of the UK’s leading distributors of medical supplies to the NHS and healthcare professionals. Based in Weymouth, Dorset, the company’s range comprises over 30,000 product lines, including top branded stethoscopes, diagnostic sets and medical furniture as well as a comprehensive choice of medical disposables.
The heart of the company’s operation has always been its warehouse, where stock worth an estimated three million pounds is stored ready for next day despatch to hospitals, GP surgeries, medical students, nursing homes and, in fact, anyone with a need for medical equipment.
Clients have the option of placing their orders online, by telephone or, if they prefer, by fax and goods are picked, packed and on their way within 24 hours.
Even before the onset of the pandemic – which, of course, led to a massive spike in demand for all forms of personal protection equipment (PPE) and other medical instruments and kit – Medisave had been experiencing a sustained period of significant growth. To keep pace with the demands of its client base, the company opted to extend its existing warehouse unit by an extra 60 per cent.
The new building has been fitted out with modern very narrow aisle (VNA) racking to maximise storage capacity, while a mezzanine provides valuable extra office space as well as an area dedicated to small parts storage.
Additional pallet and order picking locations have been provided by the development – which, in effect, has increased the site’s storage capacity by close to 100 per cent.
Altegra Integrated Solutions Ltd – Medisave’s long-term intralogistics solutions partner – specified a fleet of Flexi Digital articulated forklift trucks to serve the facility.
Because Medisave’s warehouse extension is significantly taller than the original unit – the highest racking beam is nearly eight metres in the new part of the store, whereas the top beam in the existing building stands at 5.5 metres – the new Flexi trucks are fitted with four-stage ultra low-lift masts that extend to a height of eight metres but have a closed height of just 2.9 metres.
The use of four-stage ‘Quad’ masts allows the Flexis to safely travel and operate below the three metre high mezzanine floor which is a feature of the existing warehouse.
The safety of warehouse personnel is further enhanced by the fact that the ‘Quad’ mast’s HiVis design ensures that the Flexi operators enjoy best-in-class forward vision as they shuttle throughout the extended store.
“The extra height that the new building provides helps to increase Medisave’s capacity considerably. But, of course, because the existing unit is some 2.5 metres lower than the extension, Medisave’s original trucks – which were also Flexis – did not have the lift height to reach the highest racking beam level within the extension,” explains Altegra’s area sales manager, Darren Palfreeman.
He continues: “Medisave has operated Flexis for several years and for the new project they needed Flexi articulated truck technology with the lift height to reach the upper racking levels in the new part of the store. But the trucks also had to be able to pass safely and operate underneath the existing mezzanine floor structure that is prominently located within the original building.
“The closed height of a conventional three-stage mast would have been too tall, but the Flexi trucks’ four-stage ‘Quad’ mast overcame the mezzanine under-clearance issue and enabled the trucks to travel between the old and the new parts of Medisave’s warehouse unhindered, reach the uppermost racking beams of the new building comfortably and, most importantly, operate safely beneath the mezzanine.”
The Flexi trucks deployed at Medisave feature digital electric motor technology that allows all independent drive, hydraulic and unique power-steering motor functions to be controlled digitally – ensuring the most productive, energy-efficient and safe driving performance throughout the working day.
“The control systems at the heart of the Flexis deliver higher productivity combined with significantly reduced operating and maintenance costs. Its VNA functionality and ability to work both inside and outside the building, makes it the ideal choice for Medisave,” adds Darren Palfreeman.
Matt Denton, Medisave’s product and technical director, comments: “The project was implemented smoothly from start to finish with minimal disruption. The integrated system designed and installed by Altegra will provide the valuable extra capacity that we needed.”