Little and Cull is the UK’s leading suppliers of bespoke and core premium prepared meals in the UK and counts hotels, restaurants, catering groups and first and business class air travellers amongst its satisfied customers. The recent delivery of an Aisle-Master articulated truck to its new factory has enabled maximum use of space in the cold store, where the truck works in aisle widths of just 1800mm pallet to pallet.
The company sources the majority of its products from within the locality of Newton Abbot, where it originated, and the second factory in the area will enable Little and Cull to cope with continuing growth, expand its product range whilst also making production processes more efficient. “Handling and storage was an important issue for us when we were in the planning stages of the refurbishing project for the premises,” said Co-Owner Tom Little. “Space was limited from the outset as we wanted to free up as much room as possible for production, whilst also having plenty of freezer capacity.”
Tom’s initial thoughts had centred around a reach truck for use inside and a counterbalance for outside operation, but concerned about pallet density he sought advice from Greg Vooght of materials handling consultant Westexe. “We have successfully recommended the Aisle-Master narrow aisle range to other customers with similar requirements and when Tom saw a demo of the machine in a cold store in the vicinity he knew it would be the solution,” said Greg. Westexe also advised on the best racking configuration to achieve a maximum pallet density.
Compared to a reach truck, a good 30% extra storage space has been created by using the 20SE cold store spec Aisle-Master – and of course hiring just the one forklift rather than two has also cut down on expenditure.
Electric power means quick and easy charging, and the powerful 930 Ah batteries allow for lengthy operation in the harsh cold store environment.
Where other trucks would struggle with the change from freezer temperatures of up to minus 25° to ambient temperatures, the Aisle-Master copes easily with no issues with condensation for example, as it takes pallets in and out of the tight areas in the cold store and loads delivery vehicles in the yard. Tom Little: “This is a reliable and truly multipurpose truck that we can use everywhere and its versatility is a real plus. The drivers also appreciate the easy operation and smooth controls.”
Tom adds: “A further benefit is the design and finish of the Aisle-Master – it not only performs well but it really looks good. As a supplier of high end products – we now have British Retail Consortium accreditation – a professional image is important, and this applies to our equipment too.”