Kingsbury Builders Merchants’ prime location in London’s Kentish Town is convenient for local customers, but the cost of land in the area posed a potentially expensive problem for the company’s plan to expand its range of stock. By replacing a counterbalance truck with a Combilift 4-way forklift Kingsbury has been able to increase the amount of product stored by 60%, avoiding substantial outlay on new premises.
Sales Manager Suresh Patel was keen to add to the company’s offer of timber, but the limited manoeuvrability of its counterbalance truck left no space to install racking to accommodate timber packs which typically come in lengths of up to 6m. “The yard here is tiny” says Suresh, “and I was not sure that there would actually be room for racking even when using an exceptionally manoeuvrable truck such as the Combilift. But I had not reckoned with the ingenuity of the Combilift design team to tailor a model to fit all our requirements.”
Combilift’s Paul Hopkinson oversaw the customisation of the 3t capacity LPG powered Combilift: “Due to the dimensions of the racking, the thickness of the standard mast on a C3000 model would have made the truck too long to fit in the aisle. By designing and fitting a thinner two stage mast, Combilift engineers were able to shorten the platform length so that the truck can work in the available space with literally just inches to spare either side. Adding extra ballast to the chassis ensures that stability is not compromised even when 2.5t packs are lifted to the top racks of 5.5m.”
As well as better stock density, Kingsbury has profited from the 4-way ability of the Combilift to improve health and safety procedures. Due to space constraints, incoming deliveries are offloaded on the road by the entrance, and long loads used to be lifted across the pavement and over a 5ft wall with the counterbalance truck. As well as obstructing the public this high-level lifting was also potentially very hazardous. The Combilift’s ability to manoeuvre round even the tightest corners and negotiate gradients with loads resting on the platform makes offloading safer and less disruptive for all concerned.
Other benefits have come to light since the truck has been in operation. Getting packs of mouldings into a first floor storage area previously involved a lot of manual lifting but the Combilift’s ability to access an area between racking and feed packs to an operator at the edge of the bay has enabled savings to be made on time, effort and labour. All round visibility from the cab has also made drivers’ lives easier in a busy yard. Suresh sums up: “The 4-way ability of the Combilift is perfect, it has been a very reliable truck and has enabled us to have a much wider range of timber in stock for our clients. Our health and safety consultant is much happier and the 2 year hire to buy option offered by Combilift was also a bonus for our financial planning.”