Logistics solution provider Geodis operates a new facility in Üllő, outside Budapest, on behalf of French retail giant Auchan, where they rely on a fleet of BT Levio LPE200 powered pallet trucks.
Headquartered in France, Geodis is the fourth largest logistics company in Europe. Its activity integrates several services, including warehousing logistics, and international cargo, and its network reaches over 120 countries – now joined by the Hungarian subsidiary.
Business Unit manager Árpád Darvasi explains,“I’m in charge of two distribution centres here in Üllő, for Auchan. We started here in November 2005 supplying mainly consumable products. In 2009 a new distribution centre dedicated to electrical products was added to the existing facility. In this newer section Toyota and BT forklifts are used for all material handling operations.
“We store electrical products here for Auchan. The size of these varies greatly, from computer accessories to white goods, so we need specialised materials handling equipment.
“You can classify the forklifts we use into two groups, the first being ‘classic’ warehousing equipment such as pallet trucks, reach trucks, and high-level order picking trucks. These are complemented by counterbalance forklift trucks equipped with special side clamps for the white goods. Only one of our counterbalance trucks is equipped with standard truck forks.
“The operating area here is about 18,000 square metres, and about 400 pallets are delivered daily, but the quantity varies so we have to be flexible. The busiest period is Christmas, when the quantity of goods delivered triples. Besides Christmas, Auchan special offers influence our throughput. For example, in summer air conditioners are in high demand.
“Our material handling processes vary during the day. Goods arrive in the morning and by two o’clock in the afternoon a new shift focuses on order picking and preparation for goods going out. We will be unloading and loading lorries between the hours of 6 am and 10 pm.
Geodis won the Auchan distribution contract through a tendering process and did the same thing to find the right material handling partner. Toyota Material Handling Europe (toyota-forklifts.eu) was successful in the end and supplied their forklift fleet on a long-term rental agreement, aligned with their agreement with Auchan.
“This is a Full Toyota Service contract, which ensures that the fleet is always operational and meets all safety requirements, which is a very important issue for us. “We have two BT Reflex RRE160 reach trucks and three Toyota Traigo 48 counterbalance trucks, of which two are equipped with appliance clamps. We also have seven BT LPE200 powered pallet trucks and two BT OME100M medium-level order pickers.
“We chose Toyota because we judged that they offered a good price-to-value ratio. All of their services are integrated into the Full Service contract, which has already given us a positive experience. Our lift truck requirements were aligned with the requirements from Auchan, which were changing week by week, but Toyota followed these changes flexibly and quickly.
“Toyota provided excellent technical support in finding the optimal clamp solution for the Traigo 48s. The LPE200 pallet trucks have two special features that we find very useful: climber wheels, which help when entering a pallet from the side, and the rider platforms for the operators. These can be flipped-up for tight manoeuvres where we need the truck to be smaller, especially when loading. The platform that TMHE supplied was in fact their cold store specification. This is stronger and larger than their standard forklift platform but is perfect for us to help minimise truck damage when loading and unloading. Also, our forklift trucks are equipped with PIN-code access, which helps to avoid unauthorised use.
“In conclusion, the LPE200 pallet trucks are versatile machines – as well as loading and unloading we also use them for order picking.”