Over the past 30 years, Showcard Print has grown to become one of Europe’s largest manufacturers of point-of-sale printed material, supplying the UK’s biggest retailers and readily recognised brands.
From their state-of-the-art production facilities in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, the business offers a comprehensive range of large print formats across litho, digital and screen solutions, together with sophisticated 2D and 3D finishes. A speciality of the company is cardboard engineering and the fabrication of three-dimensional product displays.
Serving the needs of the big high street brands demands exacting standards on production quality, fulfilment accuracy and the ability to meet short deadlines. Within the production and fulfilment environment, that means having materials handling equipment that is highly reliable, manoeuvrable and efficient. Downtime or failure to perform can impact both production and fulfilment, with implications for customer service and the ability to hit deadlines for special promotions or product launches across customer stores.
Having the right partners to support the forklift truck fleet was considered of critical importance to the business. Showcard Print has enjoyed a successful, long-standing 17-year relationship with Rushlift, a wholly owned subsidiary of Doosan Industrial Vehicles with a nationwide service network. So when it came to reviewing the contract on its forklift truck fleet the business had every confidence in Rushlift’s ability to support the operation and in the Doosan products’ power to perform.
“The main thing for us is reliability,” says Gary Woods, Operations Director at Showcard Print. “Downtime is time we just can’t afford to lose, so we need a good, strong, reliable product. Our forklifts get a lot of use, but over the years we’ve had very few problems with the Doosan trucks – we can ask no more than that.”
Rushlift worked with Showcard Print to upgrade the fleet with Doosan’s latest counterbalance models from across its electric and diesel powered ranges. In all, four counterbalance trucks were specified, three electric and one diesel, along with a Doosan LEDH22 powered pallet truck.
The new Doosan D25S-7 2.5 tonne diesel counterbalance truck was selected to replace a gas-powered model, owing to its high performance and low-emissions. And three electric models – a B18X-7 1.8 tonne four-wheeler, a B20T-7 2 tonne three-wheeler, and a B20X-7 2 tonne four-wheeler – were provided along with extra batteries, auto-fill and a Fronius charging system, for efficient operation and power availability over a long three-shift operation.
“We run a three shift pattern so we’re pretty much operational 24hrs a day, six days a week – sometimes even Sundays. But the great thing is, it takes just five minutes to change batteries, it’s a very simple operation,” says Gary Woods. The trucks are used constantly for unloading deliveries of card and materials, loading machines and carrying finished product between locations, ready for despatch. He adds, “Their reliable performance is vital to keeping us running.”
Of critical importance is the ability of the vehicles to handle product and materials carefully, so as to avoid scuffs and damage to the finished display cards. The soft, smooth controls on the Doosan trucks facilitate gentle handling. Precision with manoeuvring within the print facilities is also imperative as the sophisticated print machines are worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. Here, the tight turning-circle and clear all round visibility of the Doosan product gives drivers the confidence to perform their duties efficiently.
Health & Safety was another important consideration for Showcard Print. All vehicles were supplied with blue light projected pedestrian warning lamps, flashing lights and speed limiters. Other extra features added to the trucks were auto tilt levelling, side-shifting fork positioners and rear LED spotlights.
Summing up Gary Wood says, “Basically, we were just looking for good, reliable trucks that were robust, easy to use, compact and that offered excellent driver control – and that’s exactly what we got with Doosan.”