Founded in 1976 by company principal Peter Rochford, the company was originally a garden machinery retailer.
Following continued growth the business began distributing products to other dealers in the area, and eventually to its current national dealer network of over 1000 specialist dealers.
Rochford Garden Machinery prides itself on a wealth of resources, customer service, spare parts and technical support and with a strong belief that service is second to none. By taking pride in everything they do and ensuring that that their customers receive high levels of service and support, the RGM business has seen rapid growth over the last 3 years which as a result led to challenges in the Warehouse facility.
"As the product range increased it became all to obvious that we needed to change the profile of our storage to allow for the new products and to free up additional floor space. New products were arriving in containers but as most of the pallets spaces were taken, or we couldn’t access them, we had no option but to store them on the floor in the aisles which gave us problems with stock access, rotation, picking and a potential health and safety hazard."
Martin Haselup, Trade Sales Office Manager.
RGM turned to their materials handling partners and after conducting a detailed site and operational survey made a number of recommendations including replacing the existing reach truck with a Bendi Articulated Forklift Truck and reorganising the racking layout to reduce the aisles from over 3m to 2m, but as Martin explains there were a few initial concerns.
"The thought of reducing the aisles by a third and operating with a type of truck that was unknown to us was a little daunting at first but any concerns we had were soon forgotten when we saw the Bendi in action and realised just how versatile it could be for our warehousing operation. We needed a truck that was easy to operate and would allow us to optimise storage density whilst at the same time permit fast and efficient individual pallet accessibility – and the Bendi was the answer."
The new warehouse layout, which was achieved by utilising some of the existing racking together with brand new components has resulted in a storage capacity increase of over 30% as the number of pallets stored has grown from 1000 to over 1300; and the aisles which are now completely free of pallets and obstructions allow for a safer and more efficient picking environment.
The Bendi model chosen for the operation is the B318 - a 3 wheel truck that has excellent visibility and unrivalled stability as it easily accommodates loads of 1800kg up to a height of 9m without any special floor requirements. The unique 220 degree steering means that the Bendi will operate in the tightest of aisles and is equally at home unloading vehicles outside on yards as it is working in warehouses and production areas.
Although capable of working in a 1.8m aisle with a 1.2m deep pallet, the aisle was set at 2m once the optimum storage capacity was achieved thus increasing operating speeds even further.
The transition to Bendi from Reach and Counterbalance was made simple with all of the operators attending a driver training conversion course, and one of them in particular achieved a 100% pass rate.
"The Bendi has revolutionised the way in which we operate. The new layout and additional capacity means that pallets can be taken direct from the delivery vehicle and straight into the racks into predetermined locations and the whole operation of handling 30+ pallets only takes between 30 to 45 minutes. Clear aisles also mean that we can pick and operate more efficiently in a much safer environment and ensure that the products are delivered to our customers, accurately and on time. All in all we believe the change has created a more efficient system both allowing for future growth and enhancing customer service."