Trucks facilitate growth
12 December 2012
Wholesaler DCS Europe has operated Bendi articulated trucks in its warehouse facilities exclusively for over ten years, carrying out more than 2.5 million pallet movements.Warehouse manager Jason Maxwell was instrumental in
Back in 1998, having outgrown our original premises at Atherstone in Warwickshire, we built a new high bay warehouse on the site.We had previously operated reach trucks, but we decided to take a look at narrow aisle trucks for the new warehouse. At this time, we became aware of the Bendi articulated truck concept and we called Translift Bendi in to discuss how Bendis could work for us.
They demonstrated that operating Bendis would enable us to make much better use of our space with around 40% higher storage densities than we'd get with reach trucks. The Bendi operates in aisles down to 1.6m compared to 2.5-3.0m for a typical reach truck. The racking layout in the new warehouse was designed around this feature - and four Bendi B40 trucks were ordered, soon to be followed by a fifth.
In use it was immediately apparent that as well as higher storage density, we were achieving higher pick rates and many more pallet movements per day. The Bendis became a real contributor to the company's success and rapid growth - so when we needed to move again to larger premises, it was a foregone conclusion that we'd run Bendis at the new premises.
We moved from Atherstone to our current premises in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2002. By now the company was carrying literally thousands of product lines including non-perishable foods, household goods and pharmaceuticals.
While the new premises are more than six and a half times the size of the previous facility, there is a height restriction due to mezzanine floors and low ceilings in many of the storage areas.
The guys from Translift Bendi came over and did a site survey, which formed the basis for our new racking layout and established the requirement for a non-standard mast to be retrofitted to the existing trucks and fitted to new trucks ordered at the time. This mast design allows lifting to 5.6m, with a closed height of 2.8m and as far as I'm aware, it's unique to the trucks we operate here at DCS Europe.
The special masts, like every other aspect of the Bendis, are brilliantly engineered and built to last. This is borne out by the fact that the original five trucks from the Atherstone facility are still going strong as part of our expanded fleet which now numbers sixteen trucks in total.
Fifteen of the Bendis are B40s with the special mast and the sixteenth is a Bendi B41HL high lift model which is used by our manufacturing division, in its adjacent high-bay warehouse. This truck combines all the benefits of the other Bendis, with an incredible twelve metres-plus lifting capability.
In the ten or so years we've been running Bendis, there's been another important factor which has had a big influence on the way we work: the expertise and support from the Bendi team.We have built an excellent working partnership in which the two-way flow of information has created real benefits for both parties.
Their expertise and in-depth product knowledge has helped us to improve our operations - and our feedback has helped them to develop the trucks. From our initial meetings over ten years ago, through subsequent engineering support and regular service visits, every aspect of our relationship has been more than satisfactory. There has never been any 'hard sell', but I guess there's never been a need as the product and support have always been so excellent.
Today, despite the harsh economic climate, DCS Europe is going from strength to strength, with an increasingly diverse customer base. To serve them, we need to be versatile, dependable and always quick-off-the-mark - just like our Bendi trucks.