Space is at a premium in convenience stores, and so shopkeepers are always on the lookout for solutions to save them space and work. Recognising this need, supply chain specialist CHEP devised a novel quarter-sized pallet that would be better suited to this retail environment, and turned to Tente for help with mobilising the solution.
CHEP is a global provider of supply chain solutions for the consumer goods, fresh food, beverage, manufacturing and retail sectors in more than 60 countries. The company provides a wide range of logistics, operational platforms and 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, supporting more than 500,000 customer outlets for global megabrands such as Procter & Gamble, Sysco, Kellogg’s and Nestlé.
Optimising processes for retail
Worldwide, small local convenience stores are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. However, the confined sales and storage areas in these shops make it virtually impossible to use large pallet trucks or Euro pallets. So CHEP has developed a mobile quarter-pallet that is perfectly suited to the limited space in convenience stores, making the most of internal logistics processes.
The intelligent design of the so-called “dolly” enables easy manoeuvring of goods in narrow aisles and allows flexible presentation and fast refilling at the point of sale. So when designing the solution, CHEP needed castors that would be quiet, guarantee safe and easy handling and lend themselves to fast, stable stacking of the platform once used.
The latter criterion is particularly important for a company like CHEP: delivering and collecting millions of pallets worldwide is a huge logistical challenge which has to function smoothly.
When tasked with finding a solution, Tente’s engineering team decided that the quarter-pallet would require a complete system of two swivel castors and two fixed castors. However, 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. So Tente’s engineers developed a novel design incorporating springs that allow the castors to automatically return to a straight position after each movement.
Then, Tente 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.
Other critical criteria in the design were to guarantee optimum user-friendliness and to improve alignment to make the work easier. The answer to these came in the choice of colour scheme: the fixed castors are fitted with grey wheels and the swivel castors with blue wheels. This simple system prevents mix-ups and enables easy alignment.
Another important factor in this application was that the castors not only had to perform well inside the shop, but also outside. And as the platforms would arrive by lorry and be wheeled to the shop premises - along the pavement in the early hours of the morning – high-quality sound insulation would be vital. As a highly experienced manufacturer of silent castors, Tente was able to handle this part with ease.
Time savings and supply chain efficiency
The resultant design has been a great success. With the combination of fixed and lockable swivel castors and the automatic alignment function, the wheeled display platforms have proved to be easy to use in every situation. The brake is a key element and improves safety during transportation and final delivery.
In small shops where staff are constantly moving pallets, this special design saves a tremendous amount of time and greatly boosts efficiency – from precise handling, through reliable presentation, to rapid refilling.
And, as well as benefitting the end users, the dolly solution has also improved CHEP’s logistical processes worldwide. Thanks to their self-alignment, the wheeled display platforms can now be stacked faster, stored more securely and delivered more quickly.
“Our close cooperation with Tente has markedly improved the level of innovation of CHEP mobile display platform,” says Daniel Lopez Uran, Product Management and Innovation Director of CHEP Europe. “Our customers benefit from a simple, efficient solution that reduces disposition costs as well as significantly increases security and turnover at the point of sale – especially in convenience stores with limited space.”
Tente Castors & Wheels
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