Tuesday 25th Oct 2016 - Logistics Manager

Four-way plan for Doré

Doré Metal Services has been able to improve storage capacity and efficiency as a result of moving to Atlet Forte UFS four-way reach trucks which support a new way of working with higher storage density.

The company’s managing director Mike Lane, says: “Our decision was based on budgets, specification and capabilities and we chose to work with Atlet because they were committed to working with us and getting involved.”

Doré supplies non-ferrous and special metal extrusions including aluminium, brass and stainless steel to distributors and engineering businesses throughout the UK and offers a next-day national delivery service. The business decided to consolidate its operations into a 32,000 sq ft distribution warehouse at Sittingbourne.

The company had been using a variety of racking types in its existing buildings and wanted to configure the new warehouse with a combination of cantilever and “A” frame racking that offered a flexible and efficient way of storing extrusions, tubes, bars and billets up to six metres in length. Handling had been undertaken by conventional counterbalance trucks in the previous operation. However, this would not be practical in the new warehouse because of the racking density and aisle widths required to achieve the maximum storage capacity.

“We had a good idea of what we wanted to do and the choice came down to side-loader or four-way reach trucks,” says Lane. “We soon realised that a side loader didn’t have the flexibility we needed but the four-way reach truck was able to do everything we wanted.”

Atlet proposed its Forte UFS four-way reach truck that can be driven forwards, backwards and sideways because all three wheels can swivel. This makes it manoeuvrable in a confined warehouse and capable of handling long loads in different types of racking.

“Aisle widths are critical because we wanted to get more in the warehouse but with flexibility and potential for future growth,” says Lane. “This was a sizeable investment and we needed to maximise what we do safely.”

The warehouse operates on a single day shift to support next-day delivery to customers throughout the UK using carrier services and Doré’s own vehicles.

The business relies on the ability to pick orders quickly and the company decided to purchase a second truck after assessing factors such as overall performance, battery recharge periods and the potential disruption to operations caused by unexpected truck downtime.

“We need to pick quickly, often within an hour, to support the business requirement for rapid customer fulfilment,” says Lane. “This is why we went for the second truck.”

The company has grown by more than 28 per cent since the move to the new warehouse, based on top and bottom line figures. Around two thirds of the business involves supplying other stockists with highly diverse products. The remaining third comes from direct sales to customers such as engineers and OEMs who require speciality non-ferrous extrusions.

This growth has been achieved by increasing overall efficiency without adding to the number of different lines stocked. Throughput has been improved and the overall stock weight is around 15 per cent higher than before thanks to the increased storage capacity on the new site.

“These are new methods of operation but the feedback has been very positive,” says Lane.