Ergonomics, Packaging Go Hand-n-Truck

Ergonomics, Packaging Go Hand-n-Truck

A product-delivery challenge can be an opportunity to excel for employees.

Tom Lund is a quiet kind of guy. He looks for solutions to problems at work, even while on vacation. He’s the area leader of dock operations at PGT Industries, Sarasota, Fla., a manufacturer of impact-resistant windows and doors. It was while on vacation in Minnesota and talking with friends that Lund came up with an idea for a trailer system, using a lift truck attached, to assist in the delivery of the company’s products.

The PED mover, as it’s now known, has improved the product-delivery process by reducing staff required for each delivery (from two to one). It has also created a safer way to handle the product, potentially reducing the chance of injury to company distributors and PGT’s employees.

The Challenge
On any given day, PGT delivers 20 to 30 trailers to its distributors, with an average of eight to 10 stops per trailer. Each trailer holds an inventory of windows and doors worth $40,000 to $120,000.

Unloading windows and doors weighing between 75 pounds and 250 pounds and ranging in size from 3 x 8 feet to 6 x 8 feet was a day-to-day challenge for PGT. And, it had to be done manually for customers. The procedure was to lower windows carefully from the back of a trailer, a height of four feet to five feet, frequently on uneven surfaces. This was the general rule for about 80% of PGT’s customers because they did not have loading docks. And, if the customer did have a loading dock, windows and doors still had to be moved the length of the trailer and into a building.

Two drivers were required for each delivery because of the size and weight of the product. Additionally, customers requested that PGT deliver the product in returnable, stackable containers.

The Solution
Lund’s idea was to use a flatbed trailer to haul product and provide the assist of a lift truck, mounted on the back of the flatbed, to move the product.

A 48-foot trailer with a sliding, Conestoga-style cover, which moves from the front and from the rear, was created. Cramaro Tarpaulin Systems, Melbourne, Fla., manufactured the tarpaulin for th

Impact-resistant doors and windows are loaded for shipment into the homegrown container.

e flatbed. A carrying device for the lift truck was fashioned by Witzco, Sarasota, Fla. Some modifications were required to get all the pieces and parts working together.

Next came the development of special racks to carry and protect the product. The company developed PEDS (PGT’s Ergonomic Delivery System). These are stackable and returnable containers that can be used in the new flatbed/ lift trucks as well as in PGT’s existing box trailers.

It took a series of prototypes and some trial and error to get the PEDS design right so it could be used on the new trailer as well as in regular box trailers. And, the tarp on the new flatbed proved to be cumbersome and required two people to move.

These and other iss

PEDS can be moved with a lift truck or pallet jack.

ues were resolved, and now, a single driver is able to deliver product. Time for loading or unloading a trailer has been reduced from two hours to about 30 minutes. The potential for injuries has been reduced, and customer feedback has been very positive.

To date, PGT has four custom trucks and close to 1,000 PEDS in use. Anticipated annual savings are estimated at $1 million. In the future, the company

plans to develop larger PEDS to accommodate its entire product line and possibly modify product packaging for better use with PEDS. PGT is also searching for additional customers to include in this delivery program.

For more information, contact any of the following companies:

Cramaro Tarpaulin Systems,
Melbourne, Fla.,
www.cramarotarps.com

PGT Industries,
Sarasota, Fla.,
www.pgtindustries.com

Witzco,
Sarasota, Fla.,
www.witzco.com

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