Nestlé’s national food products distribution centre, located in Brampton Canada, found itself faced with a new global corporate safety mandate. They were to no longer utilize safety access cages mounted on their lift truck fleet for any purpose. In fact, they were instructed to dispose of them and find new ways to access their double deep racking at height. At this Nestlé location, they use reach trucks to access pallet positions, hence they have narrow aisles, and limited possibilities to perform maintenance, repairs, and clear products spills without serious implications of damage to costly products. Not to mention the operational costs associated with clean up, disposal, and lost pallet positions. And of course, the risk of injury, or worse, and the resulting spiral of a number of consequences.
Nestlé had not been aware that a solution to this problem existed. So, they contacted the authorities for advice. These ‘safety professionals’ advocated the MARC. Typically, inspectors and government trainers/consultants are not to support products or brands, only solutions. However, in this case, the MARC and the total package solution, was the only solution available. For this particular type of racking system, the MARC concept evolved into a stationary ‘safe zone’. The MARC is loaded into the required first pallet position using standard material handling equipment. Operators then transition into the MARC from a scissor lift, modified (as part of the MARC program) to allow operators to exit from the side of the platform. In order to access the second pallet position, a telescopic extension was employed. Operators extend the platform to a locked position. In the retraced position, it is likewise locked in position and includes a safety detent that only allows the platform extension to operate in a ‘double deep’ location where there is added safety provided by the second set of horizontal rack beams. All these features, and the methodology to safely operate the MARC, were backed up by dedicated R&D, and validated by safety experts and an accredited professional engineer.
Nestlé now has a system in place for working at height, and fully complies with their ISO safety requirements. Nestlé also has strict safety and operation programs in place, so there is no alternative to a safe, strategic, efficient, and documented process from start to finish. In addition, Nestlé has a ‘zero waste’ program in effect as part of its environmental stewardship mandate. For Nestlé, the MARC has become a champion solution. It is routinely located, when not in use, at the 3PL entrance to the distribution centre. That is where visiting team members can immediately see the gleam of stainless steel that is the MARC, and this facility’s pride of ownership and problem solving.