How an innovative castor improves logistics in a big way –all by itself
Shopkeepers are always on the lookout for solutions to save them space and work – like the special castor we have developed for our customer CHEP’s wheeled display platforms. The system works with a self-aligning castor that not only makes it easier to stack platforms, but above all, boosts flexibility and efficiency in day-to-day selling.
CHEP is a global provider of supply chain solutions serving the consumer goods, fresh food, beverage, manufacturing and retail sectors in more than 60 countries. CHEP offers a wide range of logistics and operational platforms as well as support services that are designed to increase performance and lower risk, while also improving environmental sustainability.
CHEP’s 12,500 employees and approximately 300 million reusable platforms (pallets and containers) deliver comprehensive coverage and exceptional value, which in return, supports more than 500,000 customer touch-points for global brands such as Procter & Gamble, Sysco, Kellogg’s and Nestlé. CHEP is part of the Brambles Group, the operator of a portfolio that includes IFCO, the leading provider of Reusable Plastic Containers (RPCs) to the fresh food supply chain globally, as well as specialist container logistics businesses serving the automotive sector.
More and more consumers prefer to shop in small convenience stores where they live instead of going to superstores on the outskirts of town. However, the sales and storage areas in these shops offer little space and make it virtually impossible to use large pallet trucks or Euro pallets. For this reason, CHEP has developed a mobile quarter-pallet that is perfectly adapted to the limited space in convenience stores and optimises internal logistics processes: the so-called dolly.
Its intelligent design guarantees very easy movement of goods in narrow aisles and allows flexible presentation and fast refilling at the point of sale. For this replenishing and merchandising solution, CHEP was therefore seeking castors that are quiet, guarantee safe and easy handling and lend themselves to fast, stable stacking of the platform after use. This was of central importance for the global market leader. Storing, delivering and collecting millions of pallets worldwide is a huge logistical challenge which has to function smoothly, and it can now do so thanks to our support.
Our first thought was: The quarter-pallet requires a complete system of two swivel castors and two fixed castors. The second: A conventional swivel castor will twist when lifted, making stacking the wheeled display platforms more difficult. Shop staff would be faced with the task of straightening the castors by hand every time. Added to that, there is a risk that wheeled display platforms could be stacked at an angle, thereby increasing the risk of accidents. Our engineers therefore developed a special design. This incorporated springs which allowed the castors to automatically return to a straight position after every movement.
As the next step, we worked with CHEP to adjust the castor fixings to the platforms to ensure smooth stacking. In addition, a lock on one of the two swivel castors prevents customers from accidentally moving the pallet and increasing the risk of accidents. It was also important for us to look at other crucial questions: How can we guarantee optimum user-friendliness? And how can we improve alignment to make the work easier? The answer lies in the colour scheme. The fixed castors are fitted with grey wheels and the swivel castors with blue wheels – an easy-to-use system that prevents mix-ups and ensures quick alignment.
However, in developing these castors, we not only looked at them in terms of their use inside the shop, but also outside of it. After all, the platforms arrive by lorry and are wheeled to the shop premises from there – right along the pavement in the early hours of the morning. Excellent sound insulation is therefore vital. As an experienced manufacturer of silent castors, we were able to master this challenge with ease.
Daniel Lopez Uran, Product Management and Innovation Director of CHEP Europe
The brake is a key element and improves safety during transportation and delivery to sales areas. In small shops where staff are constantly moving pallets, this special design saves a tremendous amount of time and thus defines a completely new level of efficiency – from precise handling, through reliable presentation, to rapid refilling. In addition to the immediate benefits in day-to-day sales, the solution also has a decisive effect for CHEP: the improvement of worldwide logistical processes. Simply put, the small castors make for tremendous optimisation. Thanks to their self-alignment, the wheeled display platforms can now be stacked faster, stored more securely and delivered more quickly.
Our solution thus improves all areas of the supply chain around the globe.
While we’re at the global level: We were also able to convince CHEP of our ability to do so on an international level. With our staff on the ground on five continents, we offer worldwide service to allow us to react quickly and flexibly to every requirement.