CASELLA WINES FINDS TOYOTA FORKLIFTS MEETS GROWING NEEDS
Casella Wines isn’t just the outstanding success story of the Australian wine industry, it’s also a textbook example of how to manage rapid growth without sacrificing quality.
The family owned winery’s major growth since 2000 has included the addition of a bottling line which can process 36,000 bottles per hour – the fastest wine bottling line in the world.
Toyota forklifts have been the material handling equipment solution of choice for Casella Wines Yenda NSW winery throughout its rapid expansion.
“We have 69 Toyota forklifts at work in the winery at present”, Purchasing Officer, David Bastianon said “Most are duel fuel LPG/Petrol, but we also have some diesel models and recently we’ve added a couple of battery-electric forklifts.”
The Toyota forklifts range from 2.5 tonne to 8 tonne capacity and help to meet a material handling challenge which at peak times can see 50 shipping containers a day leaving the Riverina winery.
Casella Wines was among the first companies in Australia to take on Toyota’s widely praised 8-Series forklifts, the numbers of which are now growing to account for a steadily increasing proportion of its forklift fleet.
“The majority of the Toyota forklifts are at the one site”, David said “They are split between our various departments such as Warehouse, Bottling, Inventory, Cellar, Maintenance and Waste Management.''
“All our departments are busy, but in the bottling area the forklifts are operating 24 hours a day and the Toyotas in our cellar also work around the clock during vintage. The other areas have a hectic single daily shift.”
In such a busy environment Casella Wines needs its employees to be multi-skilled, resulting in a workplace where approximately 150 employees operate the forklifts as their duties require.
It’s not just their numbers which make Toyota forklifts such a familiar sight at the Casella Wines premises.
They have been part of the business long before the [yellow tail] success became part of international marketing history.
“Our oldest Toyota forklift, an 5FD70, has clocked up 15,000 hours over almost 12 years,” David said “It’s a seven tonne capacity machine that we use as an all rounder throughout the winery.”
“When it’s not moving empty shipping containers it has a 360 degree Cascade rotator attached for tipping grapes.
David Bastianon lists safety and reliability among the most important forklift characteristics he looks for, along with low running costs and a long, effective working life.
“There are other factors which come into consideration such as employee acceptance in terms of being comfortable with operating the equipment,” he said “We’ve found the Toyotas have better hydraulic speed and they’re a better driving forklift – better to operate so the operators like them.
The reliability issue is extremely important to us.
We’ve had no major breakdowns so the winery doesn’t have to worry about forklifts causing production down time.
“We keep buying Toyotas because they’ve never let us down.”
Casella Wines initially purchased three Toyota forklifts, thinking that would be enough to suit its needs.
As the company’s export and local success continues to set records, there is every chance that the current fleet of 69 Toyota forklifts will grow.
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