Antalis has grown to become one of the world’s leading suppliers of paper and packaging solutions and, despite some tough times in recent years, it’s recently invested in a new materials handling fleet at the heart of its operations in Estonia. Thanks to Yale and its Estonian distributor, Laadur, the company is now equipped to make the most of an economic upturn as well as making significant cost savings within its existing warehouse operation.
The relationship between the three companies dates back more than 15 years when the Estonian arm of Antalis was an independent company, known as Balti Paberi AS. Then the company operated as a much smaller paper merchant with a small warehouse operating used handling equipment. In 2003, following a series of buyouts the company expanded into a much larger, purpose built 2,200 sq m facility which needed a much more efficient handling solution.
Following a thorough tendering process Laadur won the business and was heavily involved in the design of the new warehouse before supplying a fleet of Yale reach and counterbalance trucks.
Initially a three year agreement, the world-wide recession saw the contract being extended by a further five years as the company was reluctant to replace the equipment in such an uncertain economic environment. However, while the original equipment was still operating extremely effectively, the original application solution needed to be brought into line with the company’s growth plans and changing business needs.
Fred Märtsoo, Managing Director of Laadur, explained: "The trucks have given excellent service and Antalis has been impressed with their reliability and productivity.
"However, there reaches a point where service and maintenance costs increase and we were able to demonstrate to the company that keeping the ageing fleet running was becoming increasingly uneconomical."
The honest appraisal of the existing fleet prompted Antalis to look at full replacement, and last year a contract for new trucks was put out to tender.
Fred Märtsoo continued: "In recent years’ we’ve seen a tendency for firms to move away from long-term rental agreements to outright purchase for the perceived security this brings. During the recent financial crisis many have seen trucks taken away when they’ve had difficulty with rental payments. In fact the market has switched from 80 per cent rental and 20 per cent purchase to 50 per cent purchase.
"As a result initial purchase price has become the most important consideration for many companies, particularly in the former Eastern Bloc states where the impact of the financial crisis was particularly severe. A lot of companies had been badly caught out after taking too many risks with leasing agreements.
"Our challenge was to convince Antalis of the benefits of a long term agreement, and the importance of taking the whole life costs of a truck into consideration."
Thanks in part to the trust that had developed between Laadur and Antalis, the Yale/Laadur proposal won the tender and has since replaced the existing fleet with two MR14 reach trucks and one ERP15VT electric counterbalance truck. An existing gas counterbalance with a special clamp attachment will also remain in service alongside a new MO10L mast lift order picker.
The order picker and other new trucks have been supplied on an operational lease. This recently launched model from Yale is set to play a crucial role as its higher lifting platform provides easy access to raised pallet locations within the 7.8m high warehouse.
All the new equipment will continue to be maintained by Laadur’s team of 24 service engineers as part of an agreement that’s already paying dividends for Antalis.
Gunnar Vahter, the company’s Transportation and Warehouse Manager, explained: "By replacing the fleet we are already seeing a significant reduction in expenditure of repairs from our original ageing fleet and other operational costs."
"The new equipment is also capable of handling a wider and more diverse range of loads which is important to us as we are continually expanding our product offering. Laadur and Yale have come up with a solutions package that is flexible enough to meet our existing and future needs."
"The market we operate in is constantly changing and we are always adapting our product lines to keep ahead of the competition. For example we have recently moved into packing products and this requires us to be able to move a number of unusual loads around the warehouse.
"We also require exceptional reliability and a rapid service response as our 3000 pallet location warehouse can be extremely busy.
"Through our warehouse a range of more than 3000 different products is delivered to our customers and therefore an efficient operation is essential in maintaining our market leading position. What is so pleasing is that Yale and Laadur have managed to achieve this while bringing real cost savings to our operation."
The Yale trucks now in operation on the site have a proven track record of both reliability and flexibility. Joel Joa, Territory Manager from Yale Europe Materials Handling added: "Our MO series offers one of the most efficient and cost effective solutions for order picking.
"In Estonia, order pickers such as these are still fairly uncommon and so the expertise provided by Laadur has given Yale a distinct advantage when it comes to developing solutions for innovative and forward thinking companies such as Antalis.
"We are now looking forward to working with both companies for many years to come."