The recent launch of two new Combilift models demonstrates the Irish manufacturer’s commitment to ongoing product development, but the company has always looked beyond the core product it supplies by offering an additional service from its team of engineers in the warehouse design department.

“Combilifts can replace a combination of other trucks such as reach, counterbalance or sideloaders, enabling customers to radically rethink traditional methods of stacking and storing product,” said managing director Martin McVicar. “However, we see Combilift as a supplier of complete warehouse solutions rather than just a manufacturer of fork lift trucks, and our free, no obligation warehouse design service reflects this.” He added that around 75% of Combilift’s sales are directly related to this service.

A team of engineers is employed by Combilift to work solely on this service from its Monaghan base. Having ascertained the basic brief and dimensions of premises, the best Combilift model for the job, the type and size of loads handled and other factors such as possible obstacles around the site, the engineers supply detailed diagrams showing the ideal racking configuration and feasible aisle widths.

Customer range

The benefits aren’t confined to larger companies, as Combilift engineer Colin McBride explained: “As well as advising global corporations with extensive fleets of trucks, we also deal with fairly small family-run operations with just a small amount of storage space. We can help customers at pretty much any stage of their operation: some come to us with a ‘clean sheet’ at the planning stages of a new warehouse, others will supply a layout they already have and we can improve on this. Depending on how much detail we are given, we can also supply a product count to demonstrate the extra storage achieved compared to using other types of fork lifts.”

High Wycombe-based timber and fencing supplier Country Supplies took advantage of this service to address its need to stock increasing quantities in a limited space. Fencing materials and 6m-long packs of timber weighing up to 3 tonnes had previously been block stacked, limiting the amount that could be stored in any given space due to safety regulations regarding height. Storage capacity at the site has now trebled since the company adopted Combilift’s suggestions to use cantilever racking combined with a guided aisle system.

Guided aisle system

“Combilift’s guided aisle system has allowed us to squeeze as much racking as possible into the allotted area, and it also makes operations very straightforward for drivers,” said Country Supplies managing director Michael Bryant. “Once they are in the aisles they only have to think about what the forks are doing. We are already noticing other benefits such as much improved, quicker stock location for customer orders and more efficient monitoring of stock levels.”

Martin McVicar calculates that around 75% of Combilift sales are directly related to the provision of free layouts, proving it to be an astute offer from the manufacturer’s point of view and an invaluable service for the customer.