Solutions for a changing food industry

The development of large, highly efficient retail outlets is demanding ever efficient and reliable logistics. “Yes, huge change is sweeping through the market,” says Detlev Doernbrack, VPG Executive.

“A steady flow of products from warehouse to customer is important for most companies. For the food industry, however, it is essential. Even the shortest disruption is harmful, especially with fresh and chilled food.”

“We see it from our own experience of working closely with the food industry for many years. It’s not just about efficiency and reliability, though. Consumers are also expressing new food preferences, so outlets are constantly changing their offer. This means handling pallets and boxes with all kinds of contents, plus the requirement for ideal flow to ensure all food is kept fresh. Lift tables play a vital role here.”

Supermarket adopts smarter positioning

One of Europe’s biggest hypermarket chains, with more than 1200 outlets, knows exactly what it takes to make sure food stays fresh and safe – and employees healthy.

“We started working together in freezing facilities and cooling solutions for milk and cheese,” says Detlev. “This gave us insights to the business and highlighted the need for smart vertical positioning solutions. Manual palletizing in a cold environment puts a lot of stress on workers, so we introduced a range of work positioners that make it easy to adjust the height of the pallet.” However tall the worker, the positioner kept the working position vertical and efficient. “It quickly became apparent that we could save a lot of time and money while improving workers’ health,” notes Detlev.

The working platform

The working platform

From work positioners to total lifting solutions

The co-operation continued with a program to improve efficiency in five warehouses in Germany. ”That was an interesting project,” continues Detlev, “because we were now working on a full-scale solution for the customer. The work positioners were joined by a completely new working platform that enables workers to walk up to the platform easily via telescopic stairs. We added railings and safety accessories to create a working platform that enabled workers to work together in an ideal work zone. All the equipment they needed was easily accessible in fully controlled, safe conditions.”

“Initially we built a test platform, and invited the customer to visit to try it out. They really liked what they saw, and we moved quickly into full-scale production.”

Service and maintenance across Europe

It’s not just about a one-time delivery, however. The service and maintenance contract play an important role in the customer’s decision. “Our agreement guarantees the functionality and reliability of all our solutions. Every year we carefully inspect and service all components. We also carry out a risk assessment and ensure workers have the most ergonomic solution.”

Word has spread. In the UK, Marks & Spencer spotted the opportunities and decided to implement a similar solution. It was delivered from Germany, then installed, serviced, and maintained by UK staff. “This is one of the greatest advantages of working with us,” says Detlev. ”Wherever you are in Europe, we are there to install, service, and improve.”