Making light work of small spaces
World-renowned tool manufacturer finds perfect partner in new fleet from Cold Chain Federation member Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks
Warehouse space is always a premium, and no company understands that more than global manufacturer Makita. At its head office in Milton Keynes, Makita has a large warehouse with expansive racking.
However, due to the narrow width of the aisles measuring only 2.7 metres, the materials handling equipment had a challenging time manoeuvring, resulting in frequent damage to the racking system.
In search of a solution, Makita sought assistance from its Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks distributor, who offered the ideal solution in a fleet of narrow reach trucks, electric EDiA counterbalance forklifts, and order pickers.
Excessive racking damage
With so much racking installed, altering the aisles was not an option, so Makita needed new equipment that would fit the bill.
Patrick Ellis, Warehouse Manager at the Makita site explained: “We have a large area of racking but it’s narrow and our previous trucks used to hit the racking frequently. We were spending £18,000 a year on racking repairs. We contacted our Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks supplier, and they gave us a Mitsubishi RB reach truck to demo. It was fantastic.”
Josh Baxter, Territory Manager for the Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks distributor said: “We spent a lot of time with Makita to understand the operations so we could provide the most suitable equipment. The Mitsubishi RB16N3 reach truck was ideal as it has a shorter chassis and lifts to over 7 metres so could excel in the tight racking Makita uses.”
Room to manoeuvre
Makita now has a fleet comprising three 1.6-tonne Mitsubishi EDiA EM counterbalance forklifts, seven 2-tonne Mitsubishi VELiA ES order pickers, and seven 1.6-tonne Mitsubishi RB16N3 reach trucks.
Having previously used standard lead acid, Makita now uses next-generation lead acid with opportunity charging for greater flexibility and energy efficiency, as there is no need to swap batteries.
Josh said: “The EDiA is great for Makita as it is very compact. It has good manoeuvrability. The order pickers are strong and steady workhorses. But the stars of the show were the RB reach trucks. A lot of stock is moved day in and day out, and having a reach truck that will work efficiently and safely even in a confined space is exactly what Patrick and the team at Makita were looking for.”
Patrick said: “The EDiA trucks are used to load and unload from lorries. But the reach trucks were key for us. They are used over 14 hours a day taking pallets from racking to pickable locations.”
The RB16N3 reach truck has intelligent features including a stability support system that automatically optimises hydraulic functions such as mast tilt for safer and quicker pallet retrieval.
“The trucks have the best ergonomics,” added Patrick. “We have the mini steering wheel and joystick on the EDiA and RB reach trucks which allow for comfortable driving over long shifts.”
All trucks in the new fleet were fitted with blue spotlights to alert pedestrians to their presence. A fleet management system was added to ensure greater operator accountability as it records any incidents and who was driving.
By taking the time to understand the challenges, the Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks distributor was able to ensure that Makita had exactly the right equipment for the job and could reduce racking damage without compromising on productivity.
Patrick commented: “Josh and the team were fantastic. They looked at all our options and spent time assessing our environment to suggest the right solutions. They were very collaborative. The operators are very happy with the trucks and enjoy using them. We hadn’t used Mitsubishi forklifts previously, but the trucks and Josh’s hard work won us over.”
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