ukUnited Kingdom – efficient fleet managers

Market overview

Since the Cool Britannia period in the 1990s at the latest, the United Kingdom has been able to rid itself of many clichés. Nevertheless, the country continues to be associated with a cuisine that takes some getting used to, which is rather sur-prising really, since the food industry is one of its most important economic sectors alongside trade, logistics, chemicals and engineering. The industrial truck sector here is influenced not only by this mix of industries, but also by the UK’s strong service orientation. This has consequences for the industrial truck industry, because fundamentally customers have little interest in owning vehicles and only see them as tools they temporarily need to transport goods. That is demonstrated, for example, by the above-average rental share at Linde UK, which amounts to 90%.

Economic indicators

  • The most recent unemployment rate was 5.4%.
  • In the 2014/2015 financial year the deficit amounted to 5.1% of GDP.
  • Most recently, the national debt was 88% of GDP.

(Source: German Foreign Ministry)

The UK is the third largest market in Europe – not only for new industrial trucks, but also for Linde. A total of 36,915 units were supplied in the UK during 2015. As a result, the UK market set a new record. In 2015, the proportion of IC trucks was 35%, while the proportion of warehouse trucks was 49%. Although the proportion of e-forklifts was the smallest in the UK at roughly 17%, the number has almost doubled since 2010.

Focus on fleet management and warehouse logistics

Linde UK is headquartered in Basingstoke and has a network of 10 offices and 23 customer service centres for spare parts, product support and technical support. The company has existed since 1943 and maintains long-term customer relations, mainly in the trade, logistics, chemicals and food industries.

GDP growth (in real terms) UK 2005-2015

Linde UK is increasingly active in warehouse logistics planning and fleet management on the basis of comprehensive service contracts. The fundamental trend towards more short- and long-term rental and leasing offerings is especially marked in the UK. This development is based, on the one hand, on the British preference for rental solutions and strengthened, on the other, by the fact that Linde Material Handling offers customers both ideal financing arrangements and tailor-made service packages.

Table expected economy growth UK 2015-2025

One customer example

Fleet management presents a difficult challenge for sectors with large seasonal fluctuations. In order to compensate for peaks in orders, many UK companies rely on short-term rentals or move their fleets to two-shift operation. In both cases, there is an increase in the demands made on fleet management, logistics efficiency and maintenance. This is also true of Laithwaite’s Wine, the Gloucester-based wine wholesaler with a warehouse capacity of roughly 16,500 pallets and a work-force of 250. On average, it transports 45,000 cases of wine per week, but from October to December this quantity can double or even treble in the run-up to Christmas. Following detailed analysis, Linde UK initially put together a fleet of 38 vehicles for the wine wholesaler that operated a two-shift system during order peaks – this enabled Laithwaite’s Wine to optimise its warehouse operation and guarantee punctual delivery for its customers.

Linde also made an engineer available on site to minimise downtime. Furthermore, the wine wholesaler received access to Linde UK’s spare parts warehouse for industrial trucks – the largest in the UK – so that items that were not in stock could be delivered by the following day at the latest. Then, during the last Christmas season, Linde UK made an additional eight order pickers available, which enabled Laithwaite’s Wine to significantly increase its efficiency and transport an additional six pallets per hour.

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