BJ Mullen, based in Moy, Co. Tyrone, is now in its third generation and has grown to provide virtually everything needed to build, renovate and decorate homes and gardens. It is extending its premises and has built a new storage shed to accommodate even more stock. A recent new arrival on site is a Combi-CB multidirectional forklift which is a key piece of equipment to enable further expansion to go ahead.
“We realised that efficient storage would be an important factor for successful growth and our previous methods of block stacking products and using a conventional forklift was not ideal,” said Director Shane Mullen. “When we discussed our plans with Chris Macartney of Dawson Materials Handling Equipment he suggested we look at the Combi-CB rather than the reach truck that we had originally considered.”
Cantilever racking, which enables higher and safer storage than block stacking, was installed to a height of 5m in the yard to coincide with the delivery of the truck and more bays are planned for the new undercover storage area. Thanks to the multidirectional capability of the Combilift, aisle widths between racking were configured to be much narrower than the 5m+ that would have been required with less manoeuvrable forklifts and Shane reckons that around 40% more capacity has been created with this new combination.
The Combi-CB forklifts, available with lift capacities of up to 4t and with electric, diesel or LPG power options, were the first on the market to combine compact counterbalance design with multidirectional capability and were aimed at those operations needing to handle mixed loads. This was therefore ideal for BJ Mullen, whose diverse stock ranges from roof tiles to underfloor heating elements. The truck is not only multidirectional but multi-use according to Shane and its versatility enables it to load, offload and move 6m long packs of timber, lengths of plasterboard as well as pallets of bricks and blocks and cement. The company chose a diesel powered model with a 3,000kg lift capacity and a duplex 5.5m mast, which enables it to pass under a low doorway as well as to safely and easily lift the heaviest loads — packs of timber weighing around 2.5 tonnes — to the top beam of racking outside.
The Combi-CB has also enhanced overall safety as its ability to transport long loads sideways has eliminated lifting at height around obstacles, parked vehicles or other products, which is inherently risky. Other features are beneficial to the drivers, who report that it is very easy and comfortable to operate: the hydraulic fork positioner operated from inside the cab allows the forks to be adjusted for the varying sizes of loads without drivers needing to repeatedly get in and out, saving considerable time and effort as the truck is in constant use throughout the working day. The semi enclosed cab also offers protection from the weather, which is not always the best in this part of the world.
Better service is a further by-product of the new system as Shane explains:
“The extra storage space we have created means we can buy in stock in bulk at a better price and pass this saving onto our customers. The Combi-CB was more expensive than some alternative options, but the benefits we pinpointed even just a few weeks after it was put into operation mean that it will more than pay for itself as part of our long term plans. I can’t imagine operating without it now, and the drivers love it so much that they wash and valet it on a regular basis, which is not something I have experienced before with a forklift!”