Laker Builders Merchant have taken delivery of electric Combilifts, completing the transition to a fully electric forklift fleet across all branches after the acquisition of the electric forklifts last year.

Laker are working to lower its carbon across the whole business, not just for the environment and the future of the planet, but also to improve the welfare of its team and give them a better working environment.

Having a completely green fleet means that the yard team are no longer working in diesel fumes. “It’s really nice that we’re not breathing in the diesel fumes, although I didn’t notice it at the time, now that it’s gone, I definitely feel better for it,” stated Lloyd, Yard Manager.

Steve Robinson, MD, said: “We’ve fulfilled our ambition of going fully electric on all our forklifts and I’m pleased to report we’ve reduced our CO2 by over 20 tonnes per year through this implementation. It’s a real win for the environment and a testament to the commitment Laker has to achieving CarbonZero.”

Once again Forkway worked with Laker to understand the requirements and any changes that would need to be made in the yard for the Combilifts to operate.

Laker’s branch teams outdid themselves, getting the branches ready in a week, so the new Combilifts could operate safely.

After taking some time to understand exactly what Laker’s requirements for both their green ambitions and from an operational standpoint, Steve Noble suggested the flexibility of EP EFL302 Lithium Counterbalance machines for the yards and the versatile Combi-lift CBE3000 for the warehouse areas; the Combilifts also being able to double up as a yard machine during peak periods.

Robinson continued: “Once the ideal truck specifications had been confirmed and we knew it was possible to meet the Carbon-Zero brief. The challenge fell to delivering all of this this within Lakers budget, with significantly reduced running cost across the fleet on both fuel and maintenance.

“With no engine oil or fuel filters to change, servicing cost are greatly reduced over the old ICE fleet. Fuel saving are thousands per year. With the Lithium batteries expected to last well over the 5-year warranty period, the fleet will be providing cost savings and environmentally positive benefits for many years to come.”

An added benefit is the massive reduction in noise pollution, although not noticeable at the time. Long-term exposure to loud and persistent noises can cause hearing loss. These loud noises can be extremely distracting, as well as a risk to the other workers' safety. 

Laker’s partnership with Forkway continues with the provision of training for everyone, so they can safely operate the Combilifts. They have all been provided with a training certificate and Forkway will be back to refresh every so often, which ticks another Health & Safety box. Forkway are accredited by The Independent Training Standards Scheme and Register (ITSSAR).

“It’s an absolute privilege to work with Steve and the Laker team to provide exceptional materials handling equipment and support their mission to achieve a CarbonZero business, especially as these values are very closely aligned with my own,” enthused Steve Noble.

As a result of its ongoing move towards decarbonisation, Laker Builders Merchant has been selected by West Sussex County Council to represent Crawley as its Low Carbon Champion, as a means to highlight to other SMEs what can be done, especially in the construction industry.