Established in 1968, Branston is Britain's leading supplier of fresh potatoes and other high quality prepared vegetable products. The company's biggest customer is Tesco, and well over half of all potatoes sold by the retail giant that's 260,000 tonnes of potatoes a year - come from Branston.
Branston operates three sites - in Lincoln, Scotland and Somerset. The new Prepared foods factory at the Lincoln site recently won the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) East Midlands Award for Sustainability. The award was recognition of the way that the new factory had been designed to be as environmentally efficient as possible.
The company has well established environmental credentials and is the only potato company in the UK to hold ISO 14001 accreditation at all of its sites. ISO 14001 is only awarded to companies that demonstrate conformance with comprehensive environmental management systems and processes to ensure they reduce their impact on the environment wherever possible.
As part of its ongoing commitment to the environment Branston has recently upgraded the materials handling equipment at its Somerset factory and warehouse complex with a new fleet of counterbalanced and powered pallet trucks from Jungheinrich. The counterbalanced trucks selected by Branston are a mix of 4, 3.5 and 3 ton capacity gas powered trucks from Jungheinrich's hydrostatic range.
One of the key drivers behind Branston's decision to specify the Jungheinrich gas trucks was the fact that the trucks' engines which are supplied by Volkswagen are particularly fuel efficient. Thanks to their hydrostatic engine, the trucks are particularly suited to Branston: the company's operation involves a lot of 'shuttling' work - loading and unloading lorries within and around the busy warehouse and factory environment the VW hydrostatic engine Is perfect for such intensive materials-handling operations.
Branston have noticed another cost benefit since the new trucks became operational the drive wheels cannot spin with the Jungheinrich hydrostatic drive resulting in a significant reduction in tyre and transmission wear. The gas trucks are used to unload lorries containing up to 26 one ton wooden boxes of potatoes that arrive at the site on a daily basis. The boxes which come from growers across the UK - are taken by the counterbalanced trucks to either a chill store where they are stored at a constant temperature of 2oC or direct to the packing facility where they are washed and packed before being delivered to their customers.
The powered pallet trucks meanwhile transfer pallets in and around the chill and ambient stores and work around the loading bay loading outgoing lorries. High frequency charging has been used to further reduce costs of energy input, as well as, reduce maintenance on battery topping. The trucks have been supplied on a full contract hire package.
"We had operated a mixed fleet of trucks at our site before but most of the trucks were predominantly supplied by another manufacturer," says Branston's logistics manager, James Beaven. "We made the decision to move over to a single supplier agreement with Jungheinrich to streamline operations. I'm delighted that we made the switch."