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Home>Industry Sector>Manufacturing>Furniture manufacturer turns to Briggs Equipment

Furniture manufacturer turns to Briggs Equipment

07 March 2014

Senator International operates 60 trucks supplied by Briggs Equipment, including 37 Yale gas and electric counterbalance trucks, ten MTC 15 and four MTC 13 turret trucks, and various pedestrian stackers. The vehicles are used across five sites.

Senator decided to remain with Briggs Equipment when its materials handling contract was put out to tender last year.

Senator quality and purchasing manager Gwynne Harries explains: "Our tender process gave us the opportunity to assess what we already had, what we needed and how our processes could be improved.

"Although we had several very high quality submissions, Briggs Equipment had a really strong understanding of our business and was very flexible in the solutions they suggested. This was particularly important in the current economic climate. It is also vital to our plans for the future.

"Although recent growth has put more demands on our fleet, the number of trucks we need has actually been reduced slightly thanks to the reliability and flexibility of the Yale equipment.

Senator’s largest production and warehouse facility in Altham is central to further growth plans. Up to 50 lorries arrive on site daily for the unloading of raw materials and distributing finished products.

Once raw materials are unloaded they are moved safely and directly to the manufacturing area to be transformed into desks, cupboards, drawers and other office furniture before distribution to dealers, major office developments and public sector organisations.

Counterbalance trucks and pedestrian pallet trucks have an obvious role to play and Yale VNA equipment helps the company make maximum use of valuable warehouse space.

Briggs Equipment has a team of 600 multi-skilled mobile engineers to provide around-the-clock cover for customers.

In the warehouse

Briggs Equipment recently supplied Senator’s largest facility and headquarters at Altham near Accrington with a fleet of Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) and counterbalance trucks and other handling equipment.

The MTC man-up turret trucks operate to a height of 11.4 metres and benefit from simultaneous, independent and proportional hydraulic control, making them fast and smooth to operate. 

The existing rail guidance was replaced with a new wire guidance system and with over 1200m of wire has two wire generators to control the trucks movement when in the aisle. The inclusion of this system also improves the housekeeping giving access to all floor locations for cleaning. 

The installation of RFID tags in the floor, coupled with an advanced control system within the trucks further improves operator confidence and picking speed. The system is also used to control lift height in areas where the roof-line of the building slopes, the programing in the tags also prevents the trucks from straying too far beyond the racking, slowing them down when they approach the aisle end.  

Controls also kick in at the blind end of the aisle, helping the operator avoid contact with a firewall, while increasing stop clearance when the operator and truck are facing the opposite way along the aisle.  

Meanwhile, custom forks fitted to the MTC’s can be adjusted to handle loads of different sizes, adding to the flexibility required by Senator.

Senator also installed Speedshield, a telemetry system, across the fleet.

Speedshield has a proven track record in influencing attitudes of operators by enforcing pre-shift health and safety checks. It is more sophisticated than similar systems in using randomly alternated questions to prevent checks becoming a ‘tick box’ exercise and, at the same time, generating a paperless compliance trail.

It is a component that Gwynne has found to be of great value. He added: "Initially Speedshield was installed on a trial basis but it soon proved its worth. The system is now being installed across the fleet.

"It’s part of a comprehensive solution for our business that’s developed from a genuine partnership between ourselves, Briggs Equipment and Yale. 

"Load sensing further improves productivity and real time data produces vital management information for pro-active decision making and account management.

"As a result we are running a very efficient operation, something that’s vital in a high turnover, low margin industry such as ours.”