Hamé is the biggest producer of tinned food in the Czech Republic. They rely on BT Lifter ‘Wet Spec’ hand pallet trucks both in their production and storage areas.
Operating as a Czech company since 1992, Hamé produces tinned food ranging from stewed fruit, jams and marmalades to meat products, patés, chilled ready meals, vegetables, including many tomato products, baguettes and baby food.
“Our cooperation with Toyota Material Handling started in 2005 when we began to use BT hand pallet trucks,” explains logistics manager Martin Štrupl. “Toyota suggested supplying hand pallet trucks on a long-term lease for the largest of our plants in Babice in 2006. We optimised the fleet, replacing a mixture of different suppliers. We agreed on a daily rate for each functioning truck and a number of stand-by trucks. As the lease in Babice proved successful, we increased the initial number of 100 trucks to approximately 175, and we equipped two other plants, in Kunovice and here in Mařatice, with them as well.
Most of our hand pallet trucks, which Toyota Material Handling supplies on long-term rental, are used in our production areas, continues Zdeněk Gabrhel, technical manager at Mařatice. “We have about forty of them here in Mařatice and they are divided into two similarly sized groups depending on the severity of their working environment.
“Most of our production areas demand trucks that are designed for humid conditions. They must incorporate corrosion-proof or plastic components that are resistant to rust and do not cause problems with hygiene, for example, in the production of tomato and other fruit products. Here we require absolute cleanliness so the trucks must be washed constantly.
“We use standard trucks in our warehouses and other areas where the hygiene regulations are not so strict and where the environment is not so damp or aggressive. Production in plant takes place in two environments: sweet and savoury. The trucks come into contact with sugar and vinegar and they suffer a lot.
“Before we entered into our long-term rental agreement with Toyota Material Handling our fleet was comprised of many different trucks and we had a lot of problems with servicing, maintenance and spare parts. We borrowed several BT trucks for some time and we found that they did not wear so much in our demanding environments as competitor models, they were not so demanding in terms of servicing and spare parts, and were easier to operate as well. This experience led to us retiring the other trucks and acquiring a fleet of BT pallet trucks on long-term rental.
“This arrangement brings great advantages to us. Our people who had been responsible for maintenance may now devote time to other work, such as maintaining the trucks‘ cleanliness and subsequent lubrication that is necessary. The servicing of the BT trucks is the responsibility of Toyota Material Handling CZ.
“It was common for us to have up to eight trucks out of order at any one time and each was of a different brand, which caused a problem, especially in high season. Since we have had the BT trucks we have not had this problem. Production does not complain that they are short of hand pallet trucks, which used to happen quite often. The system of preventive maintenance implemented by Toyota as part of the rental agreement is working well.
“One of the most demanding of our processes is the production of candied fruit, in which we use a large amount of sugar. This sticks to the trucks and forms corrosive deposits very quickly. Our BT Wet Spec trucks fare better than their predecessors under these conditions.”