2ExcelLogistics, the customer-orientated haulage and warehousing operation with a food supply chain focus, has safely achieved completion on a Thorworld Industries modular loading dock installation in challenging times, with all teams involved working compliantly to meet social distancing guidelines.
Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, the national and international logistics firm had been celebrating the success of winning a major 10-year food supply contract, which necessitated the purchase of a larger and higher specification operation close to its existing fulfilment centre in Letchworth Hertfordshire. This new facility was to become 2Excel’s flagship operation, enabling it to be fully BRCGS (British Retail Consortium Global Standards) Food Safety accredited, offer barcode scanning, and become WMS (Warehouse Management Software) integrated. Having found the perfect location and size of building, 2Excel Logistics was faced with the challenge that the warehouse had no loading docks, only level access doors - a problem often faced by logistics companies.
Loading solutions in challenging times
To deliver the best operational performanceand highest loading equipment compliancy standards, Justin Wilkie, Managing Director at 2Excel, began researching appropriate modular dock systems and installation solutions. He found loading specialist Thorworld Industries online and was impressed with the options the manufacturer could supply.
Working together with Thorworld Distributor, James Corfield from Darmax Ltd., Ian Langan, Technical Director at Thorworld presented Justin with plans to design, manufacture and install a loading solution for the new warehouse. The blueprints incorporated a bespoke modular dock system, designed so handball tip containers and traditional curtain sided vehicles could be unloaded in the warehouse, whilst complying with BRC regulations.
The plans fulfilled all 2Excel’s loading requirements and included intelligent detailing such as fully enclosed external cladding around the front of the dock for pest control purposes anda traffic light system to enhance driver safety.
“Thorworld’s modular dock system design was visually stunning,” Justin remarks,“and looked set to deliver in terms of improved efficiencies surrounding unloading loose containers.”
Front line need
However, concerns for the project’s realisation arose as the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown situation began to unfold. With 80 percent of the 2Excel’s business involved in food chain supply, finding a route to complete the warehouse installation became essential to supporting the company’s logistical capabilities.
“Ian and James were close to having the final warehouse installation plans in place, just before the country’s lockdown guidelines were announced,”Justin explains.
“As our business plays a vital part in distributing food products to major retailers and supply chains, we were fearful that the unfolding situation could adversely affect our essential distribution chains.”
Concerned for the situation and his company’s operating prospects, Justin explained the weight of the circumstances to the Thorworld team:
“Ian and James were fully on board with the concept of installing the loading bay on the planned date, and were confident that their engineers could work within safe social distancing guidelines so our operation - which had fast become a frontline service - could continue functioning effectively.
“Thorworld’s efforts were exceptional and meticulously planned. In a situation where some installers would have run fromthe logistical difficulties caused by COVID-19, James, Ian, and the rest of the team made helping us their priority.
“The installation took place in the last week of April and was safe, conscientious and professional. From the delivery of equipment to site, to the final safety checks and sign-off, everyone worked respectfullyand fully respected the recommended social distancing measures.”
“As a result, our operationnow has an impressive installation of loading equipment capable of achieving exactly what I was hoping for,” Justin adds.“It has given us the ability to work effectively in this crisis, load and unload more vehicles per day and heighten pest control measures to achieve vital BRCGS compliancy.
“We’ve been delighted with the equipment, it’s function and Thorworld’s commitment to getting the job done safely. Their care and conscientious approach have enabled our company to continue working against the odds, in a time when our industry is so heavily relied upon.
“I am extremely proud of each member of the 2Excel team across all depots and departments. For the first time during my 28 years in the industry, our operatives have been classed as ‘key workers’. Every single person has stepped up to the plate and worked above and beyond what would ordinarily be expected to ensure that supplies are distributed for the benefit of the nation.”
Ian Langan comments from Thorworld’s perspective, adding,“We’ve been living through an immense period of concern and change, where it has become a national priority to stay safe whilst enabling essential logistical itinerates and care servicesto operate at an increased pace.
“Working safely is and has always been Thorworld’s operational mainstay and incorporating social distancing measures within our approach has been second nature. We’re extremely pleased to hear that 2Excel has been impressed with both our performance procedures and modular dock capabilities. To learn that our designs and loading equipment function are helping people whom the country simply couldn’t be without at this time is extremely rewarding and we’re grateful for the opportunity to play our part.”