Westcoast Ltd is the distributor arm of the Westcoast Group, one of the largest private companies in the UK. It operates from three sites, Theale, Milton Keynes and Andover, which is the newest – and largest – facility in the group and distributes products from leading IT brands such as HP, Microsoft, Lenovo and Apple. The new building comprises a 31,500 m2 storage and distribution facility, with a further 7,000 m2 used as a configuration centre. Andover, which opened in 2020, includes 22,000 VNA locations and 16,000 pallet locations, utilising 13.2 metre racking.
Westcoast acquired the Andover site in 2019 to futureproof the business, with the aim of securing sufficient capacity to meet the company’s needs for the next decade. The huge increase in order volume created by the pandemic saw demand triple on original fulfilment models, largely due to the increased demand for computer and IT equipment from people working from home. This prompted the need for a large-scale upgrade of its material handling fleet, with the addition of optional semi-automated functionality to enhance performance and improve productivity.
Westcoast is a long-time Crown customer and following a thorough assessment of the company’s requirements – including a recommendation to switch to VNA pallet solutions – Crown identified which options would best enable Westcoast to achieve its goals.
Westcoast specified an initial fleet comprising: TSP Series VNA trucks equipped with semi-automation technologies Auto Positioning System and Auto Fence, together with Regen Lower and wire guidance; ESR Series reach trucks with 13.5 metre lift height and other functions including Xpress Lower and Auto Height Select; SP Series high-level order pickers; GPC Series low-level order pickers; WT Series platform pallet trucks with back entry; and SC Series four-wheel electric counterbalance forklifts.
The fleet upgrade has enabled Westcoast to:
■ Exceed targeted KPIs of between 10-20 percent
■ Achieve a 25 percent growth rate during 2020
■ Grow annual revenue by 31 percent to a record £3.8bn
■ Increase daily pallet movements by 25 percent
■ Achieve a 30 percent increase in daily order processing
“Crown’s TSP Series VNA trucks, with their automation features, plus their ability to connect to our systems, made an immediate impact, helping to increase pick numbers and productivity,” said Simon Ralph, Site Operational Manager, Westcoast Ltd.
“And while we had never used VNA equipment before, which was a challenge, Crown’s open and honest approach helped enormously. There is no doubt that the decision to upgrade our Crown fleet has been instrumental in helping us exceed our KPIs.”
About Crown Equipment Corporation – EMEA
Crown is one of the world’s largest material handling companies with a reputation for award-winning product design, advanced engineering and technology supported by superior after-sales service. Crown’s business philosophy utilises vertically integrated processes to design, manufacture and distribute forward-thinking innovative solutions that improve customers’ productivity and operating efficiency. Crown develops, produces and sells a broad range of forklifts, as well as automation and fleet management technologies.
The company’s global headquarters is located in New Bremen, Ohio, USA, with regional headquarters in Germany, Australia, China and Singapore. Its employees number more than 16,000 worldwide. Crown operates a service and distribution network that exceeds 500 retail locations in over 80 countries. To learn more about Crown’s ideas for helping customers advance the productivity of their operations, visit crown.com.