News story

Tow tractors boost efficiency

Wednesday, 17 July 2019 ( #932 ) - Tuggerah, NSW, Australia
Wideline Windows & Doors has chosen Toyota CTB6s
Wideline Windows & Doors has chosen Toyota CTB6s
Australian door and window manufacturer Wideline Windows & Doors has vastly improved its labour efficiency and safety since introducing two Toyota towing tractors to its fleet.

The electric-powered Toyota CTB6 sit-down type towing tractors were debuted at Wideline's main production site at Tuggerah on the New South Wales Central Coast as a means to streamline the carriage of stock from its assembly warehouse to its transport dock.

Wideline supply chain manager Eli Kent says the company internalises as much manufacturing as possible. "Aside from our material suppliers, we control the entire manufacturing process from start to finish," he explains.

"All components feed into our main production site in Tuggerah where the assembly occurs. Our doors and windows are then collected by our fleet of company-owned and Wideline-branded trucks, which deliver right across the state."

Wideline has experienced significantly increased demand for its products in the last few years, resulting in a need to increase its manufacturing capacity and efficiencies.

The company had previously relied on manual trolleys, or pure manual handling, to shift stock - a system of work identified for improvement. "Prior to the Toyota towing tractors, the 'tow tugs', our dispatch team had to manually load a trolley up with product and push by hand, or they would physically lift and carry product from point A to point B.

"We had a steady stream of guys moving a single door or window at a time - all the way from our assembly site over to the loading bay, where they'd be loaded onto trucks before delivering to our customers.

"That mightn't sound like a big deal in itself but when you're moving one unit at a time over a fair distance, that really starts to add up. We'd have guys out there walking 15 to 20 km through the yard in a day."

Wideline specially designed and engineered trailer-style trolleys for hitching to a Toyota tractor, allowing multiple frames to be transported simultaneously. "Whereas before there would be multiple trips from point to point with a little trolley bearing just a single item, now multiple frames can all be loaded onto the trailers and delivered in a single trip," Kent says.

"Now, 90% of our products are moved on the trailers using the tow- ugs. Only the smallest and most fragile products are moved by manual trolley or by hand because they're unsuitable for the trolley and might get damaged. Otherwise, we now have the trailer trolley sitting at the end of the production line and as the frames come off the line, our guys slide them in. The tow tug comes up, hitches on and it's gone."

With only 10% of product now being moved individually, Wideline has markedly increased productivity and reduced potential for injury. "It means our guys are freed up to focus on other duties. It has also brought about other benefits such as increased safety because they're not manually handling products as much, and reduced our downtime and associated costs of injury."
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