Sector: Food production Products: Electric forklift trucks

Crucial Sauce selected Amvar Handling Solutions for their new forklift trucks. Providing advice about the important issues concerning safety and truck ergonomics. Ensuring that operator approval, safety, truck manoeuvrability, racking heights and tight working spaces were all taken into account.

Sauce, that omnipresent ingredient to accompany every barbeque, stadium, festival and fete event throughout the year. Keeping us topped-up with our favourite mayo, savoury ketchup or spicy option is Birmingham-based specialist producer Crucial Sauce.

Most of us have enjoyed their wide offering, which these days extends well beyond the old traditional tomato ketchup and mayonnaise to over 30 sauces and chutneys.

Since their acquisition in 2013 by the SHS Group - foods business, the company has seen extra investment and direction to support the development of their product offering and market growth. They currently serve a large UK customer base including major supermarkets and retailers as well as catering wholesale outlets.

Production, warehouse and distribution is located  at a single site in Birmingham and around 5 tonnes of product per hour are produced. As a specialist producer, Crucial Sauce is geared to fast production and supply. Every food manufacturer supplying UK retailers knows how demanding delivery schedules are and that anything less than 100% efficiency across the business will certainly not cut the mustard.

Production, filling and packaging lines are integrated with warehousing, product storage and despatch. Inevitably space is limited, so the logistics of receiving ingredients, production materials and storing adequate stocks of finished products ready for delivery must be carefully managed. Tahir Amir, Crucial Sauce’s Process Manager is the person who leads this area of the business. He describes how critical his materials handling organisation is geared to high volumes of goods and product movements. “We have around 300 pallet slots in our warehouse which is also a fairly restricted footprint. So, we use 4.5M racking and fairly narrow aisles to meet our capacity and movement requirements.   This in turn means that our forklift selection criteria is also challenged”.

Crucial Sauce recently worked with Amvar Handling Solutions, who are also Midlands-based, on acquiring new forklift trucks. “They were able to advise us about the important issues concerning safety and truck ergonomics. We have constant truck activity in the warehouse so ensuring pedestrian safety was paramount”.

They eventually opted for TCM electric 3-wheel forklifts with extended lift capability to meet the 4.5M racking height necessity. Tahir was confident that this gave him the versatility and capacity he needed.   “As a food producer we have to operate electric trucks, but the much smaller turning circle and extended reach is ideal for our warehouse layout. We were also very impressed with the engineering, design and overall build quality of the TCM trucks. We need and expect reliability”.

The trucks have also been fitted with pin-code entry and audible and visual safety features making their presence and movement highly visible to pedestrians.

According to Tahir their truck selection was a team decision. “Clearly there had to be a good fit with the needs of the business, but the opinion and input from our experienced and skilled operators was equally important. We made certain they had the opportunity to test the equipment and make suggestions about the best features to include”.

We were also heavily supported by the Amvar team. Tahir confirmed that they have a detailed insight into the Crucial Sauce business and provide a bespoke service based on person-to-person communication and business support. “This is a partnership based on understanding and trust. We don’t have to suffer big company bureaucracy and an anonymous call-centre; Amvar give us a rapid same-day service”.  

As the company is set to grow its business further and operational efficiency plays an even bigger role, Tahir is determined to have an effective network of trusted suppliers and service providers who can help to support and drive the company through challenging and testing times.