What Works: Lift truck fleet sized and managed for success

March 20, 2009
Music and movies moved by the millions.

Cinram International Inc. is the world’s largest independent manufacturer of CDs and DVDs for the home entertainment industry. In addition to manufacturing movies, music CDs, video games and more, Cinram offers packaging, fulfillment, distribution and e-commerce solutions — the company is a one-stop shop for Hollywood studios, record labels, video game publishers, national brand retailers and other mass merchandisers.

In October 2003, Cinram opened a plant in La Vergne, Tenn., to handle the needs of a major home entertainment company, including DVD manufacturing through the distribution of the final packaged movies. In La Vergne, employees can package more than 1 million discs per day, so the company needs reliable material handling equipment to ensure maximum uptime and productivity.

Three buildings having more than 1.8 million square feet make up the La Vergne plant. To maximize cube utilization, Cinram installed a narrow aisle racking system and 80 aisles, each 240 feet long. The facility has 27,000 product storage spaces.

Larry Winnett, director of maintenance facilities and ISO for Cinram, was pleased with the performance of equipment from The Raymond Corp. in other facilities, so he again chose Raymond lift trucks for the La Vergne material handling operations.

When the La Vergne facility was built, Winnett consulted representatives from Brauer Material Handling Systems, Inc., an authorized Raymond Service Center with headquarters in Hendersonville, Tenn., to recommend the right mix of equipment for Cinram’s lift truck fleet. Brauer personnel considered how many orders employees would be picking and putting away each day, how many different SKUs would be in the facility and how many lift hours each operator amassed.

Brauer recommended orderpickers and Swing-Reach trucks to meet Cinram’s high level of orderpicking and large number of SKUs. Brauer also was able to gauge how many operators needed orderpickers or Swing-Reach trucks, based on total lift hours. Operators who aren’t lifting as often might be able to use counterbalanced lift trucks or pallet trucks because they don’t need to lift or retrieve products from high levels by using a lift truck.

Downtime can cost thousands of dollars in lost productivity and can result in missed customer deadlines, so the La Vergne facility recently replaced its 49 Swing-Reach and orderpicker lift trucks. The facility runs 24/7 almost year-round and couldn’t stop business, so Brauer’s team installed the new orderpickers during a weekend. Cinram’s weekend employees were able to continue working and didn’t have to stop any activity to wait while the new equipment was installed.

Cinram’s La Vergne, Tenn., lift truck operators move
up to 40,000 cases of product each day.

Cinram has a preventive maintenance agreement with Brauer. Given the size of the Cinram Raymond fleet, service personnel from Brauer are at the La Vergne plant nearly every day to perform preventive maintenance and respond to maintenance requests. The service team uses a Raymond fleet-management system to track maintenance on the lift trucks, which helps the service team track details such as number of tires or other wearable parts a lift truck has used, or if a specific truck is requiring more maintenance than the others. This reporting enables the service personnel to troubleshoot an problem before it grows and causes costly downtime.

“We use our lift trucks to their maximum capabilities,” Winnett says. “In our industry, the profit margin is relatively tight, so we have to be efficient in handling product. We also have to make sure our space is used efficiently, which is why we chose narrow aisles and tall racks. We can better manage expensive floor space with smaller, taller aisles, and our Raymond equipment has been especially effective in the narrow aisles.”
Using a lift truck fleet that meets the needs of Cinram’s operations and establishing a fleet management and service program enables the company to move thousands of multimedia materials every day. A right-sized, well-maintained lift truck fleet is key to ensuring Cinram meets customer demand and continues as a multimedia manufacturing leader.

For more information, contact The Raymond Corporation at (800) 235-7200 and [email protected].