Probably the best forklift in the world!

Leading brewer Carlsberg needed a forklift supplier that shared its commitment to quality service, so, since 2008, the company has been engaged in a programme of updating the materials handling equipment across all of its UK distribution sites with products from the Jungheinrich range

Liquid assets

Carlsberg is a major brewer within the UK on trade and a top five brewer globally. The company trades with literally thousands of on trade customers pubs, clubs and other licensed premises all of whom have very individual needs.

With substantial brewery operations in Northampton and Leeds, Carlsberg is the only major brewer in the UK to operate its own in-house distribution function and, in addition to its own range of products, the company undertakes the storage and delivery of several other well-known beer, wine and spirit brands to a number of leading pub chains as well as retail outlets nationwide.

The Carlsberg supply chain model involves a central National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Northampton which feeds four Regional Distribution Centres (RDCs) at Warrington, Leeds, Croydon and Birmingham. The RDCs in turn deliver to 13 satellite depots strategically located throughout the UK which pick and dispatch orders for onward delivery to clients.

The companys facility at Newport in Gwent is typical of the satellite depots. The site receives between 10 and 12 incoming wagons a day from Carlsbergs RDC on the Gravelly Park Estate in Birmingham,  with loads arriving at the goods-in area comprising both kegs and palletised boxes of bottled and canned beers and other beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic.

Trailers arrive at the Newport site between 8am and 2pm every day where they are unloaded by diesel powered counterbalanced trucks from the Jungheinrich 4-Series range and goods are put away either within a racked storage area (the palletised bottles and cans) or in a separate keg store.

The kegs come in a range of sizes the smallest holds nine gallons, while the biggest contains 36 gallons of beer or lager, although 22 gallon kegs tend to be the biggest and 11 gallon versions are the most common size. They arrive on locator boards which allow up to 18 nine gallon barrels to be unloaded by the forklifts at one time. Four of the six Jungheinrich counterbalance trucks operating at the site are fitted with Kaup keg clamps with a stabiliser to enable barrels to be handled easily, efficiently and safely.

Once incoming goods have been put away, the days order picking and order assembly operation can begin. Pick lists are sent directly from Carlsbergs NDC in Northampton and order picking staff at the satellite facility are given paper-based instructions. Within the racking store low level order pickers are used to pick boxes of bottled and canned products from ground floor pallet positions onto pallets. Replenishment stocks are held within the first and second tier of the racking and are transferred to ground level using the counterbalanced trucks when picking stock falls below a certain level. Once an order has been picked it is shrink-wrapped and transferred by forklift to the assembly area.

In the adjoining keg store, where barrels are block stacked, keg orders are collected by the forklifts using the locator boards or, when the order is smaller, individual barrels are hand-rolled manually to the assembly location.

Orders are collated on the floor in assembly lanes leading to the facilitys six goods-out loading bay doors before they are loaded using a combination of lift trucks and manual handling techniques onto curtainsided trailers for delivery. In a typical day some 18 trucks will leave the Newport facility distributing to customers on set routes as far away as Brecon in the north, Swindon to the east and down as far as Glastonbury in the south.

Because of the efficiency of Carlsbergs logistics operation, the companys clients can place an order as late as 4pm for delivery the following day not only from Newport but any of the 13 depots nationwide. This means that it is essential that the forklifts at all of the companys facilities offer the highest levels of reliability, as Carlsberg UKs  Steve Maunder explains: Our distribution service is designed to get the right products to our clients at the right time, with a friendly, efficient service

Whether our clients are a Committee Club, a traditional Pub, Indian Restaurant or Hotel, we believe they need a supplier who can work in partnership with them to help them grow and develop their business. We try to understand our clients objectives and help them to achieve them and the smooth running of our forklift fleet is clearly hugely influential on our ability to deliver these aims. It is key, therefore, that our forklift suppliers share our commitment to quality service.

Since 2008 Carlsberg has been engaged in a programme of updating the materials handling equipment across all of its UK distribution sites with products from the Jungheinrich range and Jungheinrich order pickers, reach trucks, counterbalanced machines as well as pallet trucks have now been rolled out at all of Carsbergs UK distribution sites including the companys Northampton NDC, the four RDCs and the 13 local satellite depots.

The DFG counterbalance trucks in operation at Newport and at other Carlsberg sites around the UK, are particularly suited to applications where a lot of shuttling work is involved such as lorry loading and unloading within and around a busy warehouse environment.

With an engine supplied by Volkswagen, the truck has been designed to offer the lowest noise levels and emissions, while fuel consumption is also particularly low. Indeed, test cycles have shown that over the course of 2000 hours of typical operation the DFG can save some 2000 in fuel costs in comparison with competitive models in a similar class.

Carlsberg has purchased all of the Jungheinrich trucks in its new fleet outright and an ongoing maintenance contract has been agreed between the companies. Under the terms of the maintenance contract Jungheinrich engineers will support Carlsbergs entire fleet - including forklift models from the companys previous supplier until they are phased out completely.

Steve Maunder concludes: If one of our forklifts goes down it could have a serious impact on our business, so it is important to us that the trucks are healthy. Jungheinrichs forklifts have not only proved themselves to be extremely reliable, the companys service engineer is on site very quickly if a truck does develop a fault and does a great job in keeping the fleet operating at optimum capacity.

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