Saturday 22nd Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Laura Ashley plans to cut costs with new fleet

Laura Ashley has introduced a new fleet of forklift trucks at its Coalville site, which it reckons will cost less over the trucks’ lifecycle than the fleet that it replaces.

It chose Atlet to supply the trucks: “Atlet was not the cheapest on initial price it was the most cost effective over the life of the contract,” says Ivan Bere, warehouse manager at Laura Ashley Logistics. “Other companies quoted for what we thought we wanted,” says Bere.

“Atlet took the time to find out about our operations and where we thought we would be in five years and politely suggested we could do it a different way.”

“This is a big investment for us and we realised that simple, robust and reliable trucks would offer the best option over the life of the contract rather than basing our decision on up front price,” says Bere.

The Presto PLP is a powered pallet transporter that is ideal for fast and efficient handling over longer distances and extended working hours. It is designed for stand-on operations but can be pedestrian-controlled for complete flexibility to support a wide range of picking operations from single item to full pallet.

Ivan Bere worked with the shift managers to finalise the specification of the trucks. This led to a request for a small production modification to the operator footplate. On a standard truck this is raised and lowered by hand but Laura Ashley wanted a footplate that folded up whenever an operator stepped off the truck. This was important because operators often alternate between ride-on and pedestrian operation, depending on the task in hand. It saved time and reduced the risk of operators bumping into the footplate when carrying items. Atlet was also able to confirm that the new trucks could be used on a mezzanine.

After the trucks had been delivered, Atlet and Laura Ashley assessed the operating conditions and adjusted the trucks’ performance by reprogramming the on-board computers.

This included reducing the top speed to be more in line with what operators were used to. An unforeseen issue was identified when the trucks started to slip on the unusually shiny floor. Atlet tested alternative tyres and retrofitted the most suitable replacement to eliminate the problem.