Fleet of stockpickers capitalizes on narrow aisles
Distributor’s new warehouse storage system calls for safer, more versatile forklifts.
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Live to Play Sports, Canada’s largest distributor of premium bicycles, parts and accessories, employs 50 people in its 90,000-square-foot Ontario warehouse. As the company grew, it configured its newest warehouse space with narrow aisles and 32-foot tall racks. After deploying a fleet of lift trucks tailored to capitalize on the narrow aisles, the company improved operator safety, stability and productivity for lifting and picking large and heavy loads.
The company distributes up to 20,000 SKUs from complete bicycles to small parts. While the new racking and aisle configuration makes the most of every square foot, it puts a premium on lift truck maneuverability and reach. With the extended reach and narrow aisles, the setup also increased concerns for operator safety and overall comfort. According to Martin McDonald, operations manager for the Live to Play Sports Group, the company’s eight stockpickers (Crown Equipment,) needed to maneuver anywhere in the warehouse and help load and unload trailers.
“When we went to the new taller racks and narrower aisles, we knew our previous equipment just wouldn’t work out,” McDonald says. “The new stockpickers handled our increased activity while providing ergonomic and safety features that help ensure our operators remain both safe and productive. It’s like operating a luxury car. It’s a solid, stable lift truck on the floor and also at whatever height we choose.”
Although the new facility’s aisles are in some cases barely wider than the machine, the new forklifts’ wire guidance system makes finding, picking and relocating selected SKUs a faster and more efficient operation. McDonald says operators are more confident, and the transition from the company’s previous fleet was swift and smooth, taking only a fraction of the time the company expected.
About the AuthorJosh Bond, Senior Editor Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.
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