Veenbaas Potgrond uses Toyota forklift trucks for one-sided loading
Veenbaas Potgrond Drachten (Netherlands) is one of the most highly modernized potting compost companies in Europe! Veenbaas Potgrond has managed to optimize its various processes by applying a clear future vision and a broad-based market approach. The cornerstones of this approach are the quality of its products, fixed mix ratios and a sophisticated logistics system.
‘Since we relocated from Gorredijk to Drachten in 2003, we’ve acquired an enormous processing capacity – productivity has risen to over 100,000 units per day with a storage area covering over 2.5 hectares,’ explains site manger Freddie van Biessum, ‘We experience seasonal peaks – in the spring, we load approximately 80 trucks a day, but we can handle up to 110 per day. For the delivery of raw materials from abroad, we make use of the inland waterways and have our own loading quay for this purpose.’
‘We wholesale our products to builder’s merchants, garden centres, etc., but they’re also available as white label products,’ Van Biessum continues. ‘Our mixes are specific to each customer and are processed and mixed in house. Mixed potting compost is then transported by conveyor belt to our packing department where it is packaged in plastic sacks. Next, pallets with sacks are transported outside by conveyor belt where they are taken by Toyota forklift trucks and put into storage. All our outdoor Toyota forklift trucks are fitted with KOOI® ReachForks. We currently lease two Model 8FDF30 3-tonners and own a third 2.5T, which ultimately we’ll also lease. The advantage of leasing is that a replacement forklift truck is available within 24 hours in the event of a breakdown. This is vital otherwise we’d come to a total standstill, the consequences of which would be catastrophic. Everything’s arranged with Toyota Material Handling Nederland in Ede. They’ve been our preferred supplier for years.’
‘Since our relocation, we’ve had an enormous site at our disposal and with increasing demand for our products, we need every square metre! Trucks enter the site and are directed to the correct loading bay. There, forklift trucks are waiting to load the trucks in rapid tempo. Telescopic forks lift the pallets and once the forklift truck is positioned next to the truck, it extends its forks to place the pallet neatly on the opposite side of the truck.’ This was real eye-opener for Van Biessum who prior to working at Veenbaas had never seen hydraulic forks. Telescopic forks can be extended and retracted quickly, and trucks only need to be opened on one side. This is a major advantage, as forklift trucks do not then have to keep driving around the truck, thus leaving more space for storage. It is also a lot safer, as forklift trucks remain in full view reducing the chance of collisions, or worse still, accidents casing personal injuries. ‘It can get extremely busy here and safety is a major priority.’ Van Biessum smiles in response to the question whether telescopic forks have fulfilled his expectations, ‘Take a look at the type plate on the ReachForks… they’re dated 1991! That means the ReachForks have more than proven their worth and we couldn’t or wouldn’t want to work without them.’
Forklift truck driver Lenard van Driel agrees, ‘Initially, I had to get used to them because you’re not used to the load moving away from you as the forks are being extended. Stability wasn’t a problem either, as Toyota Ede and selected the right combination for us. They placed pallet stops on the telescopic forks at our request so that sacks couldn’t fall backwards while manoeuvring. It’s proven to be an efficient and safe way of working.’
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