Support and service is vital to a distribution business with around 500 products delivering to 300 customers with a 3-5 day delivery standard. Its small fleet of counter-balanced and reach trucks form the core of the operation. Ensuring they support every shift is vital. Downtime must be avoided.
A van for all seasons
With a diverse product range that reaches from pedal go-karts to garden furniture to gym equipment, Kettler UK runs an extremely busy sales and distribution operation that is geared to respond to multiple seasons. From spring and summer demand for their garden furniture sets, to a Christmas season for ever popular go-karts and even a post new year peak for gym equipment as January resolutions mean more keep-fit intentions.
As a logistics operation Kettler claim to be best in class. That is what their customers say, so Operations Manager John Newburn and his team intend to remain a top performing business. It’s partly due to this highly responsive and customer focused approach that Kettler UK has enjoyed two successive years that measure the best in the company’s recent history.
Importing between 400 and 500 products from both the German Kettler parent manufacturer or from other sources worldwide, plus an extensive range of spare parts that are sourced and stocked ready to provide a 3-5 day delivery response, it’s an intensely picking and distribution operation.
To make things even more complicated, Kettler will deliver just about any size of consignment from a single item order to large articulated loads. With over 300 delivery points across the entire UK and Ireland it is clear why customers love them for the level of responsiveness and reliability.
As retailers and stockists carry smaller stocks, requiring all floor space to earn, meaning more sales display space and less inventory, requires distributors like Kettler to really be on their toes when orders arrive.
“We are always set-up to respond to demand. A warm spell in the spring or summer can result in a sudden and urgent demand for garden furniture, explains John Newburn. Orders and deliveries will usually then more frequent with demand for small consignments as retailers try to align stocks to meet fluctuating customer demand”.
At the heart of the warehouse operation is a small fleet of TCM forklifts, supplied and supported by locally based TCM dealer Amvar Handling Solutions.
They have just added a 1.4T reach truck and a 2.0T electric counter-balanced forklift under a lease arrangement, which now form the frontline of their logistics process.
Amvar play a key role in supporting the Kettler operation ensuring trucks provide maximum up-time and any failures or faults corrected in the shortest possible period. The fact that they are local and have a good knowledge of Kettler’s business and seasonal demands means that they are geared to respond accordingly.
John Newburn is keen to work with local suppliers especially where this can be critical to business efficiency. “We can’t afford downtime during our peak periods, but we know that we will get a priority call immediately there is a problem. Amvar has a long-standing relationship with us and will resolve things quickly, he said. Without that level of service and back-up on our doorstep we would need to operate additional fork trucks to provide ourselves with the top-cover against breakdowns that otherwise would cause blockages in our system. We cannot afford to let our customers down”.
In effect the local dealer relationship provides a level of trust and confidence that allows Kettler to run a leaner materials handling fleet, saving cost and reducing complexity. Something else too – TCM forklifts are all built using a common components platform, which effectively means
that breakdowns can be fixed at the first call out in over 90% of cases, bolstering confidence further.
Malcolm Mitchell, MD of Birmingham-based Amvar Handling Solutions is understandably an advocate of his locally-based and customer focused business model. “We combine a best-of-both, bolting a global, trusted brand like TCM fork lifts to our own knowledge and experience of local business needs and demands, to offer a first class local service. It’s very much are personalised to suit each customer and reflects their individual business requirements”, he said.
TCM is part of a ‘top-10 global’ fork lift truck business. Products are designed and built in Europe to EU specification and served by an integrated network of independent dealers across the UK.