Gefco has taken delivery of forty lift trucks manufactured by Yale Europe, as part of a contract to supply materials handling equipment to Gefco’s nine UK warehousing and cross docking centres in support of its European operations.
Gefco has 400 sites worldwide. Coinciding with the opening of a 20,000 square metre warehouse at Prologis Park, eight miles from its European network operation in Coventry, Gefco has been supplied with a range of the latest 2-3.0 tonne Veracitor engine lift trucks, 3-wheel electric counterbalance trucks and pedestrian powered pallet trucks, supplied as part of a new contract with Yale Europe.
“We believe that across the three divisions within our group there is no logistics based service that we cannot provide,” says UK logistics manager Andrew Hill.
Hill is based at the UK headquarters of Gefco’s supply division – a new distribution centre built on a 20 acre site in Coventry, where Gefco undertakes a range of storage operations, as well as pick and pack, decanting and in-line sequencing services for manufacturing-based clients who, in many instances, require stock to be delivered directly to their production line on a just-in-time basis.
Some 36 different manufacturing companies around the world are supplied from the site and, Hill estimates, for 90 per cent of them, the timing of deliveries is critical.
“Our in-line sequencing service, or supply in-line as it is sometimes known, involves supplying parts directly to the manufacturer’s production line and, quite simply, if for whatever reason a part is not there on time, the entire production process could stop,” says Hill.
At the Gefco Supply division’s Coventry warehouse, a fleet of two tonne capacity LPG-powered Yale Veracitor counterbalance trucks is used to unload incoming trailers and deliver palletised loads to a marshalling from where they are picked up and put away in the racking by reach trucks. For outgoing orders the process is reversed.
In addition to the racked storage area which can hold up to 30,000 pallets, the site features a bulk store where, at any one time, between 4000 and 8000 stillages containing awkwardly shaped items – such as windscreens, engine parts and even complete motorbikes – which are block stacked.
Before incoming goods arrive at the site an advanced shipping note is received giving details of the anticipated delivery time. On arrival, lorry drivers report to the gatehouse where, for security purposes and to eliminate any possible chance of congestion around the yard area, they are validated and issued with a time slot before reversing their vehicle into one of 20 loading dock bays.
The Veracitor trucks drive into the vehicles from the loading dock and remove the pallet loads. Before the switch to Yale products, Gefco was operating 2.5 tonne capacity counterbalanced trucks across all of its sites.
Hill says: “The 2.5 tonne counterbalanced trucks that we had been operating, were designed in such a way that our forklift operators had difficulty seeing the entry point of the pallets when working in a lorry. As a result, we often had to dedicate a worker to stand inside the delivery vehicle and issue instructions to help guide the truck’s forks into the pallet. Because of its smaller capacity and shorter wheelbase, the Veracitor GLP20SVX has removed both of these problems.”
A variety of different products were suggested to meet the varying needs and capacities of the different facilities and, as a result of implementing the changes, Gefco has been able to make significant savings across its fleet.
Hill says: “At certain sites we have been able to reduce the number of trucks in operation, which obviously brings a cost saving, while at others the introduction of, for example, 3.5 tonne counterbalanced trucks with extended forks to handle unusually shaped stillages, has made a big difference to our efficiency.”
The fleet has been supplied on a five year contract with a full service and maintenance agreement and will be used by Gefco to move high volumes of high value goods around the clock. “Yale’s Veracitor was, by some distance, the preferred choice of our operators,” says Hill.