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Scottish packaging giant opts for VNA storage solution

Scottish packaging solutions provider, Pitreavie Packaging, has recently reviewed and reconfigured the storage system and materials handling process at its Glenrothes and Cumbernauld distribution centre facilities.

Very Narrow Aisle (VNA) storage has been introduced and a new fleet of the latest ‘digital’ Flexi Truck warehouse trucks has been commissioned to replace traditional reach trucks and gas-powered counterbalanced forklifts. This new strategy has increased product storage capacity by over 25 per cent and allowed Pitreavie to reduce the size of its MHE fleet by some 30 per cent.

In all, five Flexi Trucks have been supplied on a rental package as Pitreavie gears up for what it expects to be a period of significant expansion over the next few years.

With demand for its range of chilled packaging, timber crates, transit cases and corrugated packaging rising, Pitreavie has forecast growth in excess of 30 per cent, so an efficient and reliable materials handling system will be more important to the company than ever.

The Cumbernauld DC is a new facility and is part of a significant investment in Pitreavie’s state-of-the-art manufacturing site in the town, which is located some 20km outside Glasgow. The store offers in excess of 5000 pallet locations within a VNA storage scheme featuring two-metre-wide aisles.

An estimated 80 per cent of the orders that leave the Cumbernauld DC are for full pallet loads, but the remaining 20 per cent involve the need to pick and pack goods in smaller quantities.

Pitreavie’s Group Operations Director Gary Grindlay had no hesitation in specifying Flexi Trucks for both the new Cumbernauld facility and the two existing Glenrothes sites.

Gary is a long-term advocate of Flexi Truck articulated warehouse truck technology. Having first worked with Flexis more than 25 years ago, he has used Flexis at other projects not only in Scotland but also the Middle East.

“The Flexi Truck has so many advantages over traditional guided VNA lateral stackers with elevated cabins, which I have always considered to be unproductive and very expensive pieces of kit to operate,” he says.

Gary Grindlay continues: “The unique Flexi Digital steering system makes turning very easy and reduces battery power consumption by 20 per cent overall.

“Furthermore, not only do Flexi Trucks perform both inside a store and when needed outside in the yard, the Flexi driver has excellent visibility and it is perfectly safe for them to operate within a very narrow aisle at the same time as low level order pickers are working.

“In my experience, it can be extremely dangerous for ground level order picking tasks to be carried out in narrow warehouse aisles while Man-Up Combis and VNA Turret trucks are operating for obvious reasons. Quite simply, if you have someone order picking at ground level in the same aisle as, for instance, a Man-up truck is working with the operator 10 metres in the air, there is a real risk that the order picker will not be seen. HSE recognised these dangers and insist on complete separation of the two processes.”

Pitreavie Packaging’s new Flexi Trucks will be supported throughout their working life from Narrow Aisle Ltd’s recently extended warranty, service and parts operation in Scotland.

Dedicated to meeting the requirements Flexi Truck users in Scotland, the investment in the new set-up will see coverage extended to the whole country and will enable rapid response to call-outs across Scotland to ensure that Flexi Truck customers’ performance is always optimised.

John Maguire, managing director of Narrow Aisle Ltd, commented: “The Scottish market is extremely important to us and we feel it is absolutely essential to have a dedicated long-term presence locally to support our distributors and customers.”

“The new Scottish investment will enable us to strengthen relationships and deliver the highest levels of support to Flexi Truck users – such as Pitreavie Packaging – throughout the country.”

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