For almost a century, Gregory Distribution Limited (GDL) has been proud to work with a wide variety of customers, from local companies to large, multi-national organisations. Today, GDL is the largest privately owned distribution business in the West Country with transport networks covering the whole of the UK leading in to mainland Europe.
Recognised as one of the UK’s most successful regional distribution companies, GDL provides comprehensive storage and warehousing services for a variety of customers bringing goods in and out of the South West. Significant investment has been made in both temperature-controlled and ambient storage, and supported by bespoke warehouse management systems, a full range of flexible storage options are available, including container handling, break bulk cross-docking and order assembly services.
GDL’s North Tawton warehousing facility provides in excess of 180,000 feet² of chilled warehousing, containing around 22,000 pallet spaces and over 30,000 feet² of ambient warehousing containing around 8,000 pallet spaces. The Cullompton Distribution Centre offers 150,000 feet² of ambient storage, 17,000 feet² of chilled storage, and 8,000 feet² of frozen. Overall the Centre has storage for 23,000 pallets in conventional aisle and drive racking. GDL also operates warehousing facilities in Plymouth, Bristol, Shepton Mallet and Thame.
Forklift trucks and warehousing equipment are a vital ingredient for any operation the size of GDL’s, as is ensuring that the equipment is serviced to the highest standards, thus guaranteeing maximum uptime and increased productivity; and its here that the partnership between GDL and Westexe Forklifts flourishes.
Westexe now successfully manage and service over 170 pieces of customer owned materials handling equipment ranging from High Lift Reach Trucks operating in temperatures down -30°, to smaller forklifts, pedestrian equipment, battery charge rooms and sweepers; but it wasn't always the case.
Before Westexe were awarded the first contract over seven years ago, GDL had five MHE suppliers on site, each with different products in varying conditions and significantly, all with differing types of rental agreement. Management and visibility of truck costs was near on impossible, as was controls over damage and excessive rental charges. It was at this stage, according to Andy Walker, GDL Managing Director, that they once again turned to Alex Dix and Westexe.
“We had worked with Alex on a consultancy basis for a number of years and prior to a major expansion we once again turned to him”, commented Andy. “The first thing they did on our behalf was a detailed site survey at each of the depots, detailing the equipment we had, what they were used for and the utilisation. Whilst they were doing that, we tried to uncover the actual ‘real’ cost of the fleet; the outcome of both was alarming.”
The site survey identified that GDL had too much equipment operated at a number of sites, with some not ideal for purpose, and from a cost point of view GDL were incurring massive charges relating to perceived ‘damage’, so armed with all the facts it was over to Westexe to make recommendations.
The most significant change was to move away from expensive rental agreements and to purchase equipment from Westexe that was specified for the GDL operation. Westexe also made extensive recommendations around operating procedures which would ultimately result in a huge reduction in damage and ongoing costs. Armed with the comprehensive report, GDL then when out to tender to find a service partner. That was over seven years ago and according to Andy Walker the partnership with GDL and Westexe is as strong as ever.
“The level of service we receive from Westexe has exceeded what we expected,” concluded Andy “We have regular meetings with them and have access to detailed KPI management reports that ensure that all costs are known and managed, as are any changes in our operational needs. Damage to the equipment had been reduced dramatically, as has the amount of unplanned downtime. All in all, it is a partnership that works for GDL and allows us to give the very best service to our customers.”