National Foods switches to Linde

One of Australia’s largest food companies has begun a major upgrade of its materials handling capabilities as it progressively switches over to a fleet of Linde equipment.

National Foods (NFL), a wholly owned subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation, has core activities in milk, fresh dairy foods, juice and specialty cheese, with 3500 employees and 20 processing plants around Australia and New Zealand.

“With the acquisition of National Foods Limited by San Miguel and the integration of Berri Juices, the acquisition of King Island and more recently Lactos, the group had a number of material handling equipment (MHE) suppliers,” Logistic Development Coordinator, Jody Hussey said.

“There was also a mixture of owned and leased equipment, so our aim was to rationalise that situation and ultimately select a single, national preferred MHE supplier.”

After an extensive selection process over several months, National Foods chose Linde to be that supplier and the company is now rolling out more than 200 Linde pallet stackers, forklifts and reach trucks.

“The decision came down to four key areas: occupational health and safety issues, productivity, repairs, and maintenance and battery management for our electric forklifts,” Hussey said.

Linde’s equipment came out ahead in all four areas.

Linde will assist NFL by supplying materials handling equipment as well as being a fleet management company.

“We are not MHE experts and therefore we are looking to Linde to assist in obtaining improvements in areas such as battery management, equipment utilisation and reduced down time,” she said.

“Safety initiatives are also a high priority.” As current equipment leases expire across all NFL sites, the units are being replaced with Linde equipment in a process expected to be completed within 18 months.

Although the total number of units involved is expected to be around 200, a final number has not yet been determined.

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