As the demands for faster delivery times increase so too does the pressure on warehouse operations and distribution centres. Stock is obviously key, as is the performance and reliability of the equipment that handles the products. So with Stelrad, the UK’s largest manufacturer of radiators, achieving an industry leading 99% “Complete On Time Delivery” figure, it’s not surprising that Forkway have once again been chosen to supply the materials handling equipment.
Stelrad, part of the Ideal Stelrad Group, are based in Mexborough, near to the M1, which makes it an ideal location for the company’s National Distribution Centre (NDC). The South Yorkshire site handles the UK radiators business, coordinating an advanced production and distribution operation that spans a major 17-acre site. Stelrad produces over 2.5 million radiators for the UK market, all of which are processed through its NDC on route to customers the length and breadth of the UK.
Built originally in 2003, the NDC has recently undergone major expansion with an additional 10,000 square feet full height extension to the warehouse, making it a total of 160,000 sq ft and housing an impressive 17,000 pallet locations in racking up to a height of 11m.
Handling the products, which make up the 50,000 customer deliveries a year, is a state of the art fleet supplied by Forkway, Stelrad’s MHE partner for the past 15 years. The fleet, a mix of Yale forklifts and warehousing equipment, is used throughout the NDC and manufacturing facility.
The Stelrad NDC is managed by Paul Schofield, Warehouse and Distribution Manager who commented, “Forkway are our sole supplier for materials handling equipment and have played a significant role in the development of our warehousing and distribution operation. At Stelrad, we have specific needs that require the supply of equipment across a wide range of types, so I have always been impressed with Forkway’s consultative approach of looking at our operational requirements and proposing solutions tailored to suit our needs.”
Flagship of the fleet is 6 Yale MR20HD Reach Trucks, with industry-leading performance, unrivalled operator comfort and important safety features including Blue Spot reverse lights and fork cameras. Fitted for precise and safer pallet handling at the 11m top beam, the HD cameras and monitors have resulted in significant improvement in driver productivity. The trucks are also fitted with a three camera recording system for safety, accountability, operational improvements and operator training.
The fleet also includes 18 Yale MP20X Powered Pallet Trucks that have been equipped with longer forks and repositioned load wheels to efficiently handle the various pallet sizes in the NDC and to minimise damage to pallets during picking and transportation.
In the manufacturing facility, Forkway specified a Yale GLP18V to lift radiator fins onto the production line and three MP20XV to take finished products off to the packaging machine and ready for despatch to the distribution hub. The truck’s outstanding manoeuvrability in tight spaces makes it ideal for manufacturing environments.
“For us to achieve our goals, the equipment needs to be running throughout the 24-hour shift period”, added Paul. “The Forkway Service Team have initiated a tailored MHE service programme that demonstrates their total understanding of our operational needs. All service and breakdown tasks are undertaken by service technicians who have been coming to the site for many years and have an in-depth knowledge of the trucks and a great relationship with the operators, meaning that unplanned downtime is kept to a bare minimum. All service correspondence and calls are handled locally rather than through a national call centre that would have little or no real knowledge of our operation.”