New layout with narrow aisle reach trucks increases warehouse capacity

United Coffee UK has increased storage capacity by 56 per cent by reconfiguring racking and introducing Atlet Forte reach trucks. Storage and handling operations have been optimised at the company’s Milton Keynes distribution centre to meet the requirements of its dramatic business growth.

“We store more and we are more efficient because we found the right trucks and rearranged the warehouse,” says Ray Holland, Supply Chain and Distribution Manager at United Coffee UK. “It’s made a big difference to the business but also to the people who work here. Atlet did a fantastic job.”

More storage in the same space

United Coffee UK specialises in providing coffee & coffee equipment to the foodservice & retail market in the UK & Ireland. When turnover doubled in four years warehouse operations were placed under pressure. The only option was to identify ways of storing more and increasing throughput in the existing building. Turning the racking through 90o offered the prospect of more locations in the same space. The aisles could also be narrowed to 2.5m which would allow additional rows of racking.

Working with United Coffee UK, Atlet used its Logistics Analyser Program to simulate various racking configurations, including narrow aisle and double deep. Double deep offered the potential to maximise storage capacity but did not support the selectivity and throughput required. So Atlet proposed two of its Forte reach trucks which could operate in 2.5m aisles and handle full 1400kg loads to the maximum 6.3m of the highest proposed racking beam.

“Atlet was the only manufacturer that could meet our specification,” says Darren Wilcox, Logistics Manager at United Coffee UK. “They understood what we wanted to achieve and were able to suggest options. Whatever we decided, they were happy to support.”

Incoming pallets are put away using one of the Forte reach trucks. Picking takes place simultaneously, with the trucks retrieving palletised loads as directed by the warehouse management system. Picked items are handled to the front of the warehouse to await loading onto one of United Coffee UK’s fleet of delivery vehicles.

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