With competitors many times its size, Tru Blu Beverages has a very strong incentive to maximise efficiency in every aspect of its business. The wholly Australian owned company operates plants in New South Wales, Queensland and Perth, producing well-known brands such as Waterfords, Pub Squash, LA Ice Cola and Wicked Energy. Tru Blu promotes its products as “Refreshingly Australian” and has set itself the goal of achieving success by providing quality beverages at affordable prices.
A changeover to a fleet of Linde material handling equipment in the last few months has been a key element in the company’s efforts to contain and reduce operating costs. With production plants running 24/7 and warehouses operating two shifts for five days each week, Tru Blu looked for savings in LPG consumption and forklift tyre costs. “When we began investigating a new material handling equipment fleet we had been dealing with our previous supplier for nearly 20 years,” NSW Warehouse Manager, Dave Stanford said. “We weren’t familiar with what other equipment providers could offer, so we were sceptical initially about Linde’s claims of LPG fuel economy improvements of up to 30 per cent.” The selection process at Tru Blu was a national one for the company and involved trials with equipment from Hyster, Mitsubishi and Toyota as well as Linde. Dave Stanford organised a direct comparison test once he had a Linde H35T forklift on trial at Tru Blu’s Condell Park production and warehouse facility in Sydney.
The Linde continued working for another four or five hours after the other truck needed refuelling.
“While we still had the previous equipment on site we trialled a 3.5 tonne, twin pallet handler of that make against the Linde H35T,” he said. “They both had the same size gas bottle, so the comparison was pretty straightforward. We just filled them with gas and operated them as we normally would. The Linde continued working for another four or five hours after the other truck needed refuelling.” Those results, together with the quality of the Linde equipment, its service support and productivity helped convince Tru Blu Beverages. “We rate Linde equipment very highly compared to other forklifts we have used,” Dave Stanford said. After two weeks becoming accustomed to Linde’s hydrostatic transmission the Tru Blu operators were convinced. “They’ve turned out to be really good forks and everyone loves them,” Dave reported.
Despite the encouraging LPG gas consumption results achieved during the on-site tests before the decision to go with Linde, Dave Stanford made a second “real-world” comparison test one of his top priorities once the new Linde fleet had settled into routine operations. Those test results revealed the Linde equipment is indeed providing the major cost saving on LPG fuel which was promised. In June and July 2012 using its previous fleet of forklifts the Condell Park site’s monthly LPG costs were $15,511 and $17,277 respectively. In June and July 2013 using Linde forklifts the monthly LPG costs dropped to $8,840 and $10,961 respectively. “I know that we shipped around the same quantity of product over the same two-month period last year, so the results are completely legitimate,” Dave Stanford said. “The gas cost this year has been much less than last.”
To me the fuel efficiency seems to be the result of a number of things. The Linde engines are very good and their hydrostatic drive prevents any over-revving. The best thing is that despite the big fuel cost savings we are actually getting more performance out of the Linde equipment. Loading and unloading just seems to be a lot easier and a lot quicker.
And that points to another bonus for Tru Blu in its changeover to Linde. Productivity gains made possible by the new fleet mean that the Condell Park’s material handling equipment needs are now met by 12 Linde forklifts which are accomplishing the work of the 15 forklifts previously used. The smoothness of Linde’s hydrostatic drive has also produced another benefit for Tru Blu Beverages’ production and warehouse sites. “With our previous forklifts there was always a lot of black rubber dust left around in the areas where the forklifts operated,” Dave Stanford recalls. “With Linde’s hydrostatic drive you can’t spin the tyres and so you don’t get that residue. So far the indications are that we will get at least a year’s wear out of the tyres, which is much better than looking at new tyres for our forklifts after seven or eight months as we did previously.”
Linde has previously claimed with considerable pride that it doesn’t sell the most forklifts in Australia – just the most productive forklifts. Real-world test results like those independently produced by Tru Blu are the indisputable proof of that claim.
For more information on how Linde can help your business, contact Linde Material Handling today.