• Shaun Bateman

Diverse product range seals the deal



Major tyre manufacturer Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (Sumitomo Dunlop) has taken delivery of 43 machines on a long-term rental from leading materials handling equipment supplier, Goscor Lift Truck Company.

Sumitomo Dunlop, a leading global tyre manufacturer, has taken delivery of 43 pieces of materials handling equipment on a 60-month rental facility from Goscor Lift Truck Company (GLTC). The machines have been deployed to work at Sumitomo Dunlop’s world-class manufacturing plant in Ladysmith, KwaZulu Natal.

The fleet comprises 15 DEC 5-tonne (t) electric tow tractors recently introduced to the local market by GLTC, 20 Doosan diesel forklifts with capacities from 1,8 to 7 t and eight Crown ESR5620-2.0 reach trucks with 11,5 m lift heights.

Applications

Jogen Moodley, Associate Manager Procurement at Sumitomo Dunlop, says the DEC electric tow tractors are deployed to transport work-in-progress material used for tyre production within the factory. He says the machines are powerful and smaller and fit the bill for the factory’s confined working spaces.

“Space constraints have created a challenge to move material within our factory. The DEC tow tractors can easily access confined spaces which cannot be accessed by conventional forklifts. Another key benefit is that these units use less gas or fuel, which in turn translates into both operational savings and fewer emissions, ensuring the health of our employees,” explains Moodley.

Dale Rosewall, GLTC KZN Sales Manager, says the 20 Doosan forklifts – ranging between 1,8 and 7 t – were all specified according to the different department and application needs within the facility. This was done after an extensive site investigation.

Moodley explains that the forklifts are being used to move heavier loads than those handled by tow tractors. These include raw materials, equipment, and tooling, among others.

The eight Crown ESR 5260-2.0 ESR lift trucks are being used in the raw material and finished goods warehouses. Moodley explains that space between the aisles at the two warehouses is restricted. “Due to the space constraints, we cannot use conventional fork trucks and reach trucks are winning the day for us. Offering 11,5 m of lift height capacity, the ESR reach trucks also assist with the height factor for storage at higher level racks,” he says.

Why rental and GLTC?

Explaining the rationale behind Sumitomo Dunlop’s decision to rent, Moodley says materials handling equipment is generally an expensive commodity to buy and maintain. “Outright purchasing would cost huge amounts of capital. That’s why we opted for the rental option with a maintenance contract for complete peace of mind,” he says.

In fact, renting offers the company the flexibility it needs, allowing it to easily adapt to business fluctuations. Rental offers a far lower upfront cost compared with the outright purchase of a new unit. In addition, a rental can be written off as an operational expense and is generally far easier to deal with than the depreciation costs that come with a purchased asset.


In terms of budgeting, a rental is far easier to forecast expenses than any unexpected repairs that may be needed during the lifecycle of an owned unit. The rental option also offers back-up machines in case of breakdowns to ensure that productivity is not affected while the machine goes for repair. The rental option also offers an easy upgrade or downgrade path without additional capital outlay when compared with outright purchasing.


Commenting on why GLTC remains Sumitomo Dunlop’s MHE supplier of choice, Moodley says the company’s high-quality aftersales support, efficient key accounts sales personnel, flexibility, robust machine options, and pricing are some of the key factors the tyre company finds comfort in dealing with GLTC.

“We have been working with Sumitomo Dunlop since the opening of its new TBR plant in Ladysmith. Staying true to our market-leading reputation, we have technicians and a workshop fully stocked with parts onsite to offer world-class support service,” says Rosewall.

For peace of mind, all machines on site are fitted with Goscor’s s fleet management system.


Rosewall says the fleet management system helps customers improve efficiency and reduce abuse costs. The fleet management system is a complete forklift fleet management product, which operates via the GPRS network. Data is sent via a corporate APN (Access Point Name), a point where a mobile device can enter an IP network.

“There are three fundamental goals of the fleet management system: optimisation of fleet productivity, creating professional driver behaviour and monitoring equipment performance. In optimising productivity, the fleet management measures the utilisation of forklifts over a predetermined period, providing a ‘utilisation snapshot’ which establishes, among others, the optimum number of forklifts required in an operation,” says Rosewall.

In conclusion, Rosewall says Goscor offers the most diverse product range in southern Africa which can tackle any application, adding that this is the company’s competitive edge, which separates it from the rest of the competition.

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