Rice producer changes forklift fleet

News Story
- 21 Apr 2005 ( #205 ) - SYDNEY, Australia
1 min read
SunRice, in Australia, which claims to be the world's sixth largest rice food company, has changed its ageing fleet of 100 forklifts to Linde's 2.5 tonne 39X diesel forklifts and counterbalanced electric forklifts.

SunRice fleet manager Les Watt, who was responsible for changing the company's forklift fleet, said maintenance costs and operators' welfare were senior management's major concerns.

"We had some fairly stringent conditions for the initial two phases of the tender process," he said.

"The first phase included basic operational needs, such as flexibility with fleet size; 24/7 service with a maximum three-hour call out to cater for our 24-hour operation; an onsite service technician; a high level of driver comfort to handle various surface conditions; and a flexible forklift speed limiting system."

For phase two of the tender process, Watt looked at several criteria, which included "whole-of-life operating cost efficiencies" and "onsite driver training and re-training as required

Supply chain manager David Hamilton said the comfort level of the new forklifts had made a difference to operators' work days.

"Sitting in a forklift for seven hours every day can be tough, especially driving over the rough surfaces some of our drivers endure ... our drivers are now more comfortable at the end of the day," Hamilton said.

SunRice, Australia's largest exporter of processed, branded food products, and the brand name of the Ricegrowers' Co-operative Ltd, Australia, creates jobs in 63 regional towns, mostly in southern New South Wales.

SunRice farmer-shareholders grow an annual average of 1.2 million tonnes of paddy rice. Harvesting starts in February and ends by May. The farmers are responsible for moving rice into storage sheds. During the year, the rice is then moved by road and rail to various mills for processing.
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