Warehousing is very much a numbers game these days, as the massive inventory movements at Sanitarium attest.
In any week, this iconic brand produces and distributes 250 tonnes of Weet-Bix, 75 tonnes of peanut butter and over a million litres of So Good soymilk just from their Berkeley Vale site.
All this requires some 16,000 weekly pallet movements, so reliability becomes the key to maintaining these numbers.
Their choice of lift truck partner to handle these movements is Crown Equipment and, together, we have a partnership going back 15 years.
When Sanitarium moved from their previous site in Sydney's Castle Hill in June 1995, they planned for the future with the purchase of 40 acres on the Central Coast of New South Wales. Already, 10 acres of this holding is under cover with more earmarked for the future.
The company's inventory controller, Stephen Cook, works in this vast facility.
"One of the key factors in the partnership with Crown has been its ability to service our 57 lift trucks promptly and efficiently using Crown Integrity Parts. This has been the key to achieving our movement figures, allowing us to maintain supplies to our customers," said Cook.
According to Cook, Crown is able to deliver the total package when it comes to running a fleet of forklifts.
"Crown has proven that they can meet our service level expectations and have provided competitive pricing to meet these requirements. They have a spare parts lockup just around the corner and provide a serviceman on site every morning. That's the sort of service that keeps us coming back to Crown," said Cook.
Another important aspect of such a relationship is flexibility in ownership of the fleet.
The competitive nature of the food industry, and its constant drive for innovation in new products, ensures an ever-changing product range and warehousing requirements, so today's lift truck contracts have to be flexible.
Sanitarium's fleet of Crown trucks includes Reach Trucks, Electric Counterbalance, IC engined Trucks, Walkie Stackers and Electric Pallet Trucks.
"Business in the food industry changes too quickly nowadays to sign the normal five-year contracts. To give us the flexibility we were looking for, Crown suggested changing over to a rental contract," said Cook.
"We know we have to be as flexible as possible to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers. This is something Crown has embraced over the 40 years we have been in Australia. A sales-driven company may well win a sale, but a customer service-driven company will build a relationship. And in Sanitarium's case, that is a 15-year relationship of which we are very proud," said Craig Kenchington, general manager, marketing at Crown Equipment.