ESTABLISHED IN 1968, BRANSTON IS ONE OF THE UK’S LARGEST BUYERS, PACKERS AND DISTRIBUTORS OF POTATOES
Operating from three sites, one near Perth in Scotland, one in Lincoln and one in the South West, Branston handles around 350,000 tonnes of fresh potatoes each year, supplying major retailers and wholesalers across the UK.
Relying on nature for its product, Branston always takes great care to look after the environment, both in the field and at its three sites which are all ISO 14001 accredited. ISO 14001, which provides the framework for environmental management and good practice in organisations, demonstrates Branston’s commitment to the environment as the company works to measure and reduce the impacts of its processes and provides evidence of continual improvement in environmentally-related issues.
It was as a direct result of this ongoing commitment to the environment that Branston first decided to have a look at the STILL RX70 range of IC Counterbalance Trucks from Northern Forklift (Scotland) Ltd, after reading about the unique hybrid driving characteristics and industry-leading fuel efficiency.
Based in Glasgow, and with clients all over Scotland, Northern Forklift was asked to provide demonstration machines to allow Branston to evaluate the RX70 at the company’s site in Abernethy, Perthshire. The high-intensity operation involves the constant loading and unloading of lorries, and the movement of the boxes of potatoes within and around the busy warehouse and factory environment – ideal conditions for the STILL RX70 to outperform the competition.
STILL RX70 Hybrid Technology – Environmentally Friendly and Cost Efficient
The award winning STILL RX70 Counterbalance Truck is powered by the latest hybrid drive technology, which amongst other benefits results in considerably less fuel consumption with automatic braking and speed control as standard. Branston also noticed improvements in the loading process – no wheel spin in any conditions, resulting in a significant reduction in expensive tyre wear.
After the successful trial in 2011, Northern Forklift was initially awarded an order for four machines – an RX70 35 gas forklift with a special attachment for handling potato boxes, two RX70 16 gas forklifts and an EXUS 22 ride on powered pallet; and according to Site Manager George Elder, the potential of further orders based on future performance.
“Environmentally responsible behaviour is an essential part of our philosophy at Branston, and we are constantly looking for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. Right from the outset, we were impressed with the performance of the STILL trucks, and we certainly noticed a big reduction in our fuel costs, but it was Northern Forklift’s after sales back up that has really made a difference. Nothing is too much trouble, and we always get the feeling that their Service team will go out of their way to keep us as the customer happy. We have a great working relationship with the local engineers – they have taken the time to get to know our people and understand our operation, and as a result, we enjoy minimal downtime.”
STILL Fleet Manager – Control Your Fleet: Manage Your Costs
A further seven trucks were ordered between December 2013 and October 2015 which meant that for the first time, Branston had a single supplier on site for their materials handling equipment. Also a first was the inclusion of STILL Fleetmanager – an innovative, built-in full recording system that further reduces costs by monitoring and controlling the activity of each machine and helps improve Health & Safety by setting up the truck parameters to match the requirements of the site. An I.D system controls which drivers can use each truck and the GPRS accident recorder sends an immediate email to management in the event of a collision. It also offers Branston a comprehensive record of forklift utilisation throughout the fleet, all updated automatically every hour using the GPRS link.
Our forklift drivers are trained to the highest standards, and we already had an impressive operational and H&S safety record at the Abernethy site; and STILL Fleetmanager certainly confirmed that,” concluded George. “At first, we thought that Fleetmanager wasn’t working as we didn’t have any email alerts regarding damage, however on further inspection we identified that the trucks were being driven in exactly the way we would have hoped.
As a result of the high levels of truck performance and local service from Northern Forklift, STILL RX70’s, all fitted with STILL Fleetmanager, have now been introduced to the Branston sites in England.