Independent logistics firm, Downton, operates 600 tractor units and 1,800 trailers out of 16 major distribution hubs across the UK. Its client list includes some of the world's most recognisable brands across a range of industry sectors, including print and publishing, food and drink, retail, manufacturing, ink and paper, energy, waste and consumer goods.
For one such client, a leading manufacturer of household appliances, Downton is responsible for all UK distribution of its products – a business that is growing rapidly. As part of its development, Downton required additional capacity and a new warehouse facility to provide a spares outlet, now based in Sharpness. On acquiring the new warehouse space, Downton set out to implement a bespoke racking and warehouse management solution, which would maximise storage capacity and streamline preparation of outbound loads.
Having already worked with Jungheinrich UK, deploying its forklift trucks and very narrow aisle (VNA) racking within the Quedgeley distribution centre, Downton valued the consultative approach of its Logistics Systems operation and enlisted its help to design and implement the pallet racking of the new Sharpness site.
"We have been working with Jungheinrich for more than ten years," explains Richard Downton, Director, Downton. "We first started using some of the forklift truck models before it soon became obvious that Jungheinrich was a partner for all aspects of our materials handling equipment requirements.
"On introducing Jungheinrich to the Sharpness project, the team was quick to assess the site in line with our individual business model and its challenges, changes and customer base in order to suggest a solution that would best utilise the available space, while also achieving more efficient transportation of faster moving products."
On surveying the site and working with the floor design engineers, for example, it became apparent there were a lot of joints in the floor, and so, as part of the design and implementation process, Jungheinrich mapped this out and worked with Downton to establish a lay out in line with the necessary distances from each joint that still delivered the most effective use of space. The resulting solution comprised very narrow aisle pallet racking – with capacity for 16,000 pallets – and VNA specialist trucks, alongside wider aisle racking with enough space for two trucks passing, capable of storing up to 10,000 pallets for faster moving product.
"Since the site opened in May 2017, we have been incredibly impressed with how efficiently the operations are running," says Richard. "Jungheinrich worked closely with us to deliver the right solution that was completely bespoke and steered by what we needed as opposed to simply what was available.
"A lot of companies promise integrated materials handling equipment, racking and warehouse management systems," he concludes. "But we knew from experience that the only company we trusted to truly deliver this was Jungheinrich."
"Our partnership with Downton has flourished now over many years," comments Steve Richmond, Director – Logistics Systems. "A close working relationship has enabled us to develop solutions that perfectly match the requirements of our clients, not only from a materials handling perspective, but by also ensuring that such solutions are aligned to the strategic needs of their organisation."