“Sunbelt Comes Through Just In Time” Featured in MHEDA Connection
4/4/14 – A just-in-time warehouse and assembler, and longtime customer of Sunbelt Material Handling (Dallas, TX) was in dire need of extra storage and assembly space. The assembler had commissioned a new project that would require a 70,000 sq. ft. warehouse addition that needed to be outfitted with storage and forklifts with room to spare for an assembly area.
The assembler contacted Sunbelt Territory Manager Ken Tumey to discuss this addition.
“They definitely had some preconceived notions about what they wanted and how to fill the warehouse,” says Sunbelt President Bill Rowan. “They were looking at using order pickers in 11 ft. aisles. However, they didn’t realize that you couldn’t place pallets with an order picker in that aisle.”
Ken came up with a solution that would not only allow them to both pick and place pallets, it would also save them 36% space on their aisles. He proposed using a Flexi G4 VNA truck. This proposed change would allow the assembler to use 7 ft. aisles, rather than the 11 ft. they had counted on, and would also go in and out of trailers, which provided additional flexibility to the building’s design.
At first, the customer was hesitant.
“They had always used internal combustion trucks,” Rowan says. “They were skeptical that an electric truck would be able to withstand the 11- and 12-hour shifts that they ran without getting a second battery, which would obviously be an added expense.”
Tumey, along with representatives from Texas Industrial Equipment, suggested going to an opportunity charge, rather than a two-battery system. This would allow operators to charge the trucks during breaks and would easily cover the shifts.
Still skeptical, Sunbelt worked with Narrow Aisle, Inc. President Warren Cornil to convince them. Warren and Ken shared references and showed the customer the Flexi demo video, to give a visual as to how the trucks work. This, combined with Ken’s experience and knowledge of electric forklifts, was enough to convince the customer to follow his lead.
While great news for Sunbelt, the customer went on to say that they wanted to be operational in less than 30 days. Sunbelt worked with Cornil to deliver a stock unit as quickly as possible and set the unit up for opportunity charging. The customer also purchased a Nissan IC truck to use on the dock and run between buildings.
In all, the two trucks cost a combined $90,000. The customer was able to get an additional 36% of space that they hadn’t originally counted on, as well as the assembly area that was vital to the success of the project.
“Sometimes you can make something look good on paper but in reality, it just doesn’t work,” says Rowan. “This was one of the times where the end result was actually better than it looked on paper.”
Read the original article here at MHEDA connection.