Proctor & Gamble distribution centres, such as Brantford, Canada, have grown to become large centralized facilities typically exceeding one million square feet of fast moving consumer goods. To obtain maximum efficiency and ROI, high density storage solutions are utilized. In this case push back racking up to 6 pallets deep. This can present significant challenges. Push back rack is prone to jams caused by issues such as ‘chunks’ of pallet caught in the guide wheels, and spilled loads of product. These challenges lead to out of service pallet positions. For many years these problems were corrected by ‘man handling’ at height. However, racking structures are not engineered, nor approved anchor points. For this reason, Proctor & Gamble made the firm decision to stop all climbing inside high density rack structures at height. The result of this action was lots of yellow caution tape, and a scramble to find a solution. Clearly, the repercussions of accidents, injuries, and worse, cannot be tolerated as a caring and fiscally responsible company.
Proctor & Gamble had, in fact, been searching for many years for a commercially available solution. However, the solution involves more than a hardware product. It requires a complete process from start to finish, backed up by R&D, testing, and validation by safety experts and accredited professional engineers. The approved solution was IRONguard Safety’s MARC (Maintenance and Retrieval Cart). The MARC is a self-propelled engineered anchor system that provides operators with a ‘safe zone’ at any location at height and depth in the rack system. It is loaded using common material handling equipment. Operators’ transition to the MARC via an approved man lift. Special tools and procedures were developed in tandem to the hardware enabling a variety of tasks to be accomplished safely. Not only can operational deficiencies be remedied quickly, but also maintenance, inspection, and repair (in otherwise inaccessible areas) can be accomplished with minimal risk.
The challenges that created risk, frustration, and an undefined approach to remedying all the culprits, turned into a safe, strategic, efficient, and documented process from start to finish. Even the dynamics of a variety of spill scenarios are first analysed by the newly created ‘spill assessment team’. Internally created SOP’s accompany this new approach. In addition to reduced risk, this innovation creates a predictable system to avoid these operational risks. There is now also minimal product spoilage (due to expiry dates overrun by stuck product at height) and damage of product falling to floor level.
At Proctor & Gamble, IRONguard’s MARC signified a passion to solve the problem by caring and thoughtful ‘team members’.