A new double deck scissor lift modular dock pod designed, manufactured and installed by Easilift Loading Systems Ltd – the UK’s leading suppler of total loading bay solutions – has significantly increased loading/unloading efficiency for the TIC Retail Accessories Group.
The TIC Group is a major international business providing retailers and vendors with a range of innovative and world class services to manage the movement of merchandise backwards through the supply chain.
Often referred to as ‘reverse logistics’, the types of goods that are brought back include high-volume, re-usable retail accessories such as coat hangers and security tags.
TIC Retail Accessories pioneered the concept of hanger re-use, which is now becoming increasingly accepted internationally, particularly by more enlightened retailers, because of the financial and environmental considerations.
In addition to the supply of new ‘virgin’ hangers to the UK market, in early 2009 TIC Group Europe Ltd began to handle returns of used hangers that are then sorted, reprocessed and fed back into the supply chain – thus reducing the need for new hanger manufacturing.
In order to solve the loading/unloading problem with a new used hanger processing contract, on behalf of a major retail customer whose vehicle fleet was moving over to double deck trailers, the TIC Group approached two loading bay equipment suppliers, including Easilift, to advise on the most suitable double deck solution.
Now increasingly being used for goods transportation, double deck trailers provide significant cost saving and environmental benefits – optimising operational flexibility, increasing load volumes, cutting unnecessary journeys and mileage and reducing fleet sizes.
It is claimed that, typically, a fixed double deck trailer operating in a retail environment can carry around 70 per cent more goods than a conventional single deck version, achieving up to 40 per cent transport cost savings.
The subsequent decision by TIC to choose Easilift Loading System’s purpose-designed double deck scissor lift modular dock solution was clear cut.
TIC Group Operations Manager, Mark O’Sullivan, said: "Selecting Easilift for this project was made even easier for us by the very positive approach of their people – they were highly professional, demonstrating integrity, enthusiasm and a real interest in what we were trying to achieve; as well as portraying an in-depth industry knowledge, together with an extremely strong belief in their product.
"During meetings with Easilift Sales Director, David Whyatt, and his team we felt that they made a real effort to determine exactly the right solution that would benefit us most. Cost for us was not the only factor to be taken into account," Mark O’Sullivan continued.
"Like Easilift, we wanted to develop a long-term relationship built on trust and mutual respect. We quickly discovered that they have a similar up-front ethos to ourselves and knew that we could work together," added Mark O’Sullivan.
The third party processor selected by TIC to undertake the refurbished coat hanger contract had to be in a position to make the earliest possible start at their premises in Sheffield and therefore needed a very quick project completion from Easilift.
Due to its modular construction, the double deck scissor lift dock pod solution developed by Easilift took less than two days to install – far exceeding customer expectations and ensuring that the hanger contract was able to start on time.
Quick and easy to erect, without disruption to the company’s on-going business operations, it did not require any major civil engineering work or building modifications.
Easilift was one of the pioneers in the design and installation of dock pod systems and is therefore highly experienced with an established track record in this specialist area, having supplied dock pods in all shapes, sizes and finishes to many discerning “blue chip” customers over a number of years.
A dock pod is a complete stand-alone loading bay enclosure which can be installed directly onto the external face of a building. Typically fitted with a dock seal, dock leveller or scissor lift and a sectional insulated overhead door, they are suitable for new buildings, extensions and refurbishments.
They can also be quickly and easily repositioned, if required, and are a highly cost-effective retrofit option for an existing building.
In today’s challenging economic climate dock pods are experiencing ever increasing popularity. They do not take up valuable internal warehousing space and maintain the loading/unloading function within a separate and distinctly confined area. With no cross traffic to worry about, this is a significant health and safety benefit.
Their lightweight but exceptionally strong structure provides an insulated, weatherproof enclosure – with resulting energy-saving potential and enhanced working conditions for the internal environment, making them ideal for ambient and temperature controlled buildings such as cold stores.
The TIC dock pod is equipped with an Easilift Double Deck PowerLift 12 cage 6,000kg capacity scissor lift loading platform – suitable for use with double deck trailers, smaller vehicles with low body height or conventional single deck trailers. The solid steel scissor lift is manufactured to the highest quality and safety standards to achieve maximum rigidity and provide superior platform support and guidance.
Also fitted with an Easilift PowerShelter 403016 collapsible curtain type dock shelter forming a seal between the loading bay and the docked trailer, the pod features LED low energy dock lights incorporating movement sensors.
The new concept double deck scissor lift dock pod developed specifically for TIC was based on well-proven, tried and tested Easilift technology, with design, installation and subsequent on-site training carried out by the company’s highly experienced in-house team.
Mark O’Sullivan said: "We would not have been able to meet the specialised loading/unloading requirements of this particular new contract without the double deck lift and it should now provide us with a very strong competitive advantage for any similar future business opportunities.
"The Easilift team just got on with the job, whilst always keeping us fully in the picture at all stages - but, importantly, without demanding too much of our valuable time," added Mark O’Sullivan. "Our processing partner was also extremely pleased with the speed and efficiency of the short two day installation process, which did not impact in any way on their business operations and they were able to continue completely as normal whilst the work was being carried out.
"The new double deck scissor lift dock pod is the perfect solution to our needs and the staff are now confident and very happy using it following an extensive day's on-site training from Easilift. It means we can now service any vehicles and trailers in our customer’s fleet. I would therefore have no hesitation in recommending Easilift and using them for any future projects," concluded Mark O’Sullivan.
As one of the UK’s foremost loading bay equipment specialists, Easilift was one of the first in its sector to achieve the prestigious SAFEcontractor accreditation.
SAFEcontractor is a scheme which independently assesses the health and safety record and competency of contractors and, as such, confirms to prospective customers that effective policies and systems are in place.
Easilift Loading Systems is a member of the Loading Systems International Group, one of Europe’s leading specialist manufacturers of loading bay equipment. The Group has over 450 employees across Europe and a total turnover in excess of 60 million Euros.
With more than 30 years’ experience in the provision of total loading bay solutions, Easilift offers a complete design, installation and maintenance service through its highly experienced in-house team and now has an extensive customer list that is a roll call of some of the biggest names in UK retailing, manufacturing, logistics, distribution, warehousing and the service sector.
The company is a leading member of the Association of Loading & Elevating Equipment Manufacturers (ALEM) and the Confederation of Construction Specialists. Operating to the international ISO 9001:2008 quality management standard, it has Investors in People accreditation and is also an active participant in the Construction Skills Certification Scheme, with all its engineers fully qualified under the CITB Site Supervisor Safety Training Scheme (SSSTS).
As well as dock pod systems, such as the one for the TIC Group, Easilift provides everything necessary for the safe, efficient and profitable operation of loading bays. This includes dock levellers, dock shelters, dock seals, industrial doors, high speed doors, vehicle restraints, lifting platforms and a range of safety aids and accessories such as dock plates, dock bumpers, wheel guides, traffic lights and integrated control systems.
Easilift Sales Director, David Whyatt, said: "Our continued successful development is due in no small part to our extensive experience and industry knowledge, together with the positive commitment of our staff and extensive resources available, including an in-house design team, working alongside experienced engineers, able to advise on the most productive and cost-efficient installation – whether for a new build or refurbishment project.
"These facilities are complemented by a full installation and after-sales support service, which incorporates the provision of preventive maintenance programmes designed to ensure compliance with statutory obligations under UK and European legislation, as well as avoiding costly loading bay down-time," he added.
"We work in close collaboration with all our customers, enabling us to develop an in-depth appreciation of their business, its processes and procedures, so that we are then in an ideal position to develop individually tailored total loading bay solutions," David Whyatt concluded. "This approach is reflected in the extremely high levels of customer satisfaction achieved, resulting in a significant extent of repeat business, with more than 60 per cent of new orders coming from existing customers."