How the Crown TSP 6000 cut a tricky problem in half
When the Wollschläger Group embarked on an expansion of its central precision tools warehouse, its materials handling supplier recommended low level-order pickers for ground level work and turret trucks for picking and work at heights. It was a fairly common and straightforward solution and one that is repeated in warehouses across the world. However a visit to Crown’s demonstration area in Munich radically changed the picture.
Wollschläger is a leading German supplier of precision tools, machinery, welding equipment, occupational safety and plant equipment. As part of its growth strategy and in response to increased orders, the company recently enlarged the capacity of its central warehouse at its headquarters in Bochum.
Customers such as EADS/Airbus, Mannesmann, Thyssen, Volkswagen, RWE and Degussa are now benefiting as Crown’s state-of-the art turret order pickers handle the increased order volume.
Originally, Wollschläger planned to equip the 3,800sqm high-bay warehouse at its new central warehouse with order pickers and turret trucks. The turret trucks offered by the proposed supplier couldn’t be used for order picking at the lowest level, mainly because drivers didn’t have enough room to exit the trucks in the aisle. The trucks only offered a gap between the truck and the racking of around 100mm meaning drivers couldn’t get out of the cab in the aisle to enable goods to be handled at the lowest picking level.
The Warehouse management at Wollschläger had already accepted this compromise and decided on a manufacturer. However the whole picture changed following a visit to Crown when the TSP 6000 Series turret order pickers were introduced to the company. They discovered that together with the ability for drivers to access the aisle with the cab at ground level, there were even more persuasive arguments for the Crown turret order picker. These included the TSP 6000’s innovative seating concept, its versatility and lower total cost of ownership.
One truck to master every task
The design of the cab’s front railing on Crown’s TSP turret order picker sets it apart from other narrow-aisle trucks. It may seem like a small thing but it makes a huge difference. Describing this key design benefit of the TSP 6000, sales consultant Markus Storm of Crown’s Dortmund branch explains:
”In contrast to competitors, rather than extending across the whole width, the rail of the cab front tapers inwards at one corner. This creates free space at the front, allowing the operator to exit the cab in the aisle or indeed pick unhindered from within the cab.”
At Wollschläger it was immediately clear that the TSP 6000 ticked all the required boxes.
”This type of truck not only allows us to perform numerous task in the goods warehouse; it also means tasks such as pallet placement and retrieval as well as order picking can be done with one model of truck from the bottom level to the uppermost one. It works up to a height of 11 meters,” said Jörg Fiedrich, Manager of the Wollschläger Logistics Centre.
Consequently, staff are not forced to switch from one truck to another depending on which pallet goods are being removed from. Moreover, there is no need to divide picking orders by level, slowing down the picking process.
”This solution allows us to work far more efficiently, saving on time and costs,” concludes Jörg Fiedrich.
800 orders per day
As well as storage, order picking is now a key activity within the central warehouse. ”The order process has changed dramatically. Today, our customers are ordering a small number of products several times a week, rather than taking a large quantity once a month and storing it themselves. We are therefore constantly adapting our logistics to customer requirements,” explains Marketing Manager Markus Werner. ”Our existing small parts and pallet warehouse was no longer up to the task. During the expansion process, incoming goods and dispatch were expanded, the small parts facility was extended by 116 metres of shelving and a new high-bay warehouse created.”
Staff in the high-bay warehouse process around 800 orders a day using the Crown trucks fitted with electronic order picking displays and mobile scanners. With this large volume of orders, unhindered access to goods and also fast positioning of the forks is crucial. ”Fork positioning is extremely quick with the TSP 6000 because numerous hydraulic and traction functions can be performed simultaneously,” says Jörg Fiedrich.
Jörg Sowa, head of Crown’s Dortmund branch, adds: ”The dual multi-function controls were designed around the operator’s natural movements to permit intuitive blending of all major truck functions. The more tasks you can do simultaneously, the more efficient and profitable the operation.”
It wasn’t only the management of the logistics warehouse that was impressed by the TSP 6000; the staff were also involved in the decision-making process. The TSP 6000’s innovative seating concept met with unanimous approval. Crown’s exclusive MoveControl™ Seat allows operators to choose between various sitting and standing positions and to rotate the seat through 110° in four positions. Multi-task controls located on cushioned armrests allow the operator plenty of room during picking.
Unrivalled stability at height
”To begin with, our staff were not used to picking at over 11 meters. But with Crown’s trucks they felt safe from the very start,” explains Jörg Friedrich.
This is down to Crown’s specially designed closed-section mast, which minimises twisting and swaying.
The force of the load being carried is therefore distributed evenly from the platform via the mast to the frame and then through the power unit to the floor. Moreover, powerful AC lift and traction motors ensure clean, precise acceleration, heightening the operator’s sense of security.
The wire-guided trucks are eliminating the need for steering in the aisles. Mobile personal protection helps ensure safety in the five aisles that are in use in the warehouse.
Low total cost of ownership
Aside from safety and efficiency considerations, there is another very good reason why the company are so pleased to be in partnership with Crown.
If they had chosen the option of a separate turret truck and order picker, they would have been unable to operate at either the upper or lower shelving levels if one type of truck broke down. ”That’s something we couldn’t afford given our day-to-day warehousing operations with 80-90% picking activity,” explains Jörg Fiedrich. ”But with Crown’s TSPs, even if only one of the trucks was working, we would be fully operational.”
Low total cost of ownership is obviously crucial to any truck purchase. Alongside the renowned sturdiness and durability of Crown trucks, Crown’s Access 1 2 3® Comprehensive System Control for the TSP 6000 Series continuously analyses all operating data ensuring maximum uptime. This technology incorporates specific diagnostics and programming, and coupled with InfoPoint™ troubleshooting and easily accessible modules combines to produce an extremely reliable truck system.
Just 50 of the total number of 600 staff employed at the company’s headquarters and 12 branches work in warehouse logistics. However they ensure the daily dispatch of over 2,000 orders – equating to over 6,000 items – within Germany, out into Europe and across the globe. Over 98% of these are delivered to the customer by the next day. Stock item orders received by 4 pm are transferred to the logistics service provider on the same day for delivery.
Soon, Wollschläger will have 4,800 pallet spaces in its high-bay warehouse instead of the 3,500 currently available. ”The TSP truck solution allows us to be optimistic about the future as we will undoubtedly have even more picking orders. Although the new high-bay warehouse hasn’t been up and running for long and we can’t yet state the precise role played by the turret order pickers in our faster turnaround, we do know we’re working far more productively than before,” concludes Jörg Fiedrich.
Crown Equipment Corporation is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of electric lift trucks. Since the company first started building materials handling equipment in the 1950s, Crown products have won numerous industry accolades. From the smallest pallet trucks through to the largest VNA trucks, Crown uses leading-edge design, innovative engineering and high-quality manufacturing techniques to respond to the full range of customer needs, achieving exceptional standards of reliability and productivity.
Crown has a unique corporate structure, characterised by the highest levels of vertical integration in the industry. This enables the company to keep tight control of development, production and customer support. Up to 85 percent of the components used in Crown products are developed and manufactured by Crown in custom-built facilities. Crown is committed to offering customers superior value that reduces TCO (Total Cost of Ownership).
Crown Equipment Corporation is a family-owned business with head offices in the USA, Australia and Germany. Crown now operates a global distribution and service network with more than 70 fully-owned subsidiaries and over 300 independent dealerships.