KOOI-Reachforks, Case study

Toyota BT Fleet For First Ikea Store In The Republic Of Ireland

With the opening of its first store in the Republic of Ireland, IKEA has put a fleet of Toyota BT materials handling equipment to work at Ballymun

Leading home furnishings giant IKEA opens its first store in the Republic of Ireland on Monday 27th July. At 30,500 sq meters, IKEA Dublin will be one of the Swedish retailer’s flagship stores and will create a total of 500 direct new jobs at Ballymun, with 50 additional indirect jobs in outsourced services.

The Dublin store will stock the full range of IKEA products, totalling 9,500 articles, which can be viewed in over 55 fully furnished roomsets and homes. The store will also include a number of ancillary facilities for customers, including a 550-seater restaurant, a bistro and a Swedish Food Hall, as well as a crèche to cater for young children while their parents are shopping.

Founded by Ingvar Kamprad, who opened the first store in 1958 in Sweden, today IKEA has a network of 292 stores in 36 countries worldwide and employs 127,800 co-workers (the preferred term used by the organisation for its employees).

The store management has worked closely with FÁS, Ballymun Job Centre, Ballymun Partnership, Department of Social & Family Affairs and Ballymun Regeneration to maximise the number of local people given the opportunity to secure employment with the organisation.


4,500 Pallet Spaces

Materials handling operations will play a crucial role in ensuring the success of the Ballymun project.

Fintan Walsh, Goods-flow Logistics Manager, IKEA Dublin, told Handling Network: “An average of 500 pallets are delivered every day by 40ft trailers, seven days a week – feeding into 4,500 pallet spaces in the store’s extensive storage area.” Approximately half of these deliveries arrive from the organisation’s two main UK Distribution Centres, with the remainder coming from individual suppliers. “Unloading operations start at 4am and all product must be safely stored away before the store opens and the first customers arrive, 11am Monday to Friday, 9am at weekends.” added Fintan.

Three Toyota 3-wheel counterbalance electric trucks transfer pallets from trailers onto the indoor marshalling area. From there the products are moved to their respective storage location by Toyota BT Reflex Reach Trucks, Powered Stackers and/or specialised Pedestrian Reach Trucks. An extensive fleet of Hand Pallet Trucks is also employed to move products. The hand trucks come with varying specifications, depending on the required task – some with either extra long or short forks; some with low-level or slim-line forks.

Heavy furnishings and some specialised units are moved to a mezzanine floor above the main ‘customer area’ racking – by way of a heavy-duty SSI Schaefer conveyor system and large goods lift. With a view to minimising noise during shopping hours, a special Toyota BT ‘Silent-Lifter’ hand pallet truck is employed on the mezzanine floor.


IKEA employs three main types of pallets: a 60 x 80cm ‘half-pallet’; an 80 x 120cmEuro pallet and a special 80 x 200cm IKEA pallet. While loads generally come in weighing well under 750kg, some, such as those containing wardrobe flatpacks, have extended load centre’s – hence the requirement for the long IKEA pallet.

The Toyota BT SPE 125 powered stacker comes equipped with two separate sets of forks. This configuration has been specially developed to handle IKEA’s unique slim-line cardboard pallets, two at a time. The Reflex Reach trucks are equipped with hydraulically operated extending ‘KOOI® ReachForks’. These facilitate the handling of the extra long pallets, as well as allowing operators to efficiently place standard pallets into deep racking.

Having spent five years working with IKEA in Norway, Fintan Walsh is very familiar with the Toyota BT range of warehouse materials handling equipment. “These machines get the job done,” he told us. “They’re well-designed, with dependable technology, and have good technical back-up support – which is essential for the type of demanding operation we have here at IKEA.”

Terry O’Reilly, Managing Director of Toyota Material Handling Ireland, commented: “We’re very pleased to be awarded first-choice partnership status with IKEA in Ireland and wish the organisation and its team every success with the new Ballymun project.” Toyota Material Handling Ireland, a fully Irish-owner company, markets the complete range of Toyota BT warehouse equipment in Ireland.


Photo captions:

1. Noel Foley, Product Manager (left) and Eamon McAuley, Service Manager, Toyota Material Handling Ireland
2. IKEA Goods-flow Logistics Manager Fintan Walsh demonstrates the Toyota BT Reflex’s hydraulically KOOI forks


Source: Handling Network July/Aug 2009

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