A new single-supplier fleet has helped optimize operating costs, productivity, storage and safety.
By Josh Bond
August 03, 2017
Hercules Industries in Denver, Colo., is a manufacturer and wholesale distributor of HVAC sheet metal products and equipment. Since its establishment in 1962, the company has expanded to 18 retail centers and three manufacturing facilities servicing the Western United States.
As the company grew, it relied on multiple branch locations to handle warehousing and distribution, each with a varied fleet of sit-down counterbalanced trucks. After centralizing warehouse and distribution, the company standardized its fleet and used a comprehensive training program to onboard the new trucks and operators as quickly as possible without compromising productivity or safety.
The new 100,000-square-foot distribution center’s forklift fleet (Crown Equipment) includes pallet trucks, stockpickers and reach trucks. The combination enabled Hercules to configure the distribution center with narrow aisles to optimize space. The company also employs a range of electric pallet trucks and sit-down counterbalanced forklifts as well as LPG forklifts to transport manufactured goods from the factory to the warehouse.
The addition of many new and unfamiliar lift trucks and newly hired operators created an immediate need for operator training. The forklift supplier’s training program met the challenge by providing the company’s safety personnel with the necessary tools to train its new employees as they are hired, eliminating the time and expense required for individual offsite training. The hands-on experience acquired for each lift truck allows management to crosstrain operators on multiple trucks, further enhancing efficiency and productivity while maintaining a focus on safety.
“Being able to train our own people inside the company after the training program has helped speed up our process, getting more operators who can be hands-on in a more efficient and faster manner,” says Alan Duncan, safety director and manufacturing superintendent.
Hercules also opted to have its fleet covered by a complete maintenance plan, enabling the company to have a fixed cost and reduced downtime.
“We get good service, and maintain a regular maintenance schedule,” says Rod Valdez, manager of operations. “The service people are here training us to make sure we are doing the right things to maintain the longevity of the equipment. We’re considerably more efficient today than we were, and I think that’s very, very important.”
About the author
Josh Bond is Senior Editor for Modern, and was formerly Modern’s lift truck columnist and associate editor. He has a degree in Journalism from Keene State College and has studied business management at Franklin Pierce University.