Companies, Features, Logistics

Devanning done right

The Combi-CSS slip sheet has been a game changer for Tilling Timber.

Tilling Timber CEO Adrian Robertson discusses his company’s use of Combilift Combi-SS slip sheets for efficient container devanning.

For Tilling Timber, a family-owned business that’s seen 60 years of operations, innovation has never been a mere buzzword but the crux of its evolution.

From the Kilsyth head office in Melbourne to its sites in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth, Tilling’s commitment to improvement and efficiency is palpable. As Adrian Robertson, the CEO of Tilling Timber, describes it, the enterprise is built upon a history of providing the best of the best to its customers. 

As the company celebrates its diamond anniversary, it continues its journey into integrating cutting-edge solutions. 

“We’ve always been an innovative company, often leading the market with new ideas,” Adrian shares. He paints a vivid picture of a company that never rests on its laurels, recalling how Norman and Judy Tilling were early adopters of the Weinig moulders in Kilsyth. Their zest for innovation continues, with Tilling being the first in Australia to utilise Combilift’s side loaders.

The collaboration with Combilift has spanned two decades, marking it as one of Tilling’s most enduring and rewarding partnerships. 

“We’ve had a relationship for about 20 years,” Adrian says. Of the numerous benefits of this partnership, the Combi-SS slip sheet’s introduction, used for container devanning, emerges as a key part in redefining Tilling’s supply chain operations.

However, the journey to this transformative solution stemmed from a series of challenges. Adrian vividly recalls the precursors: “Just before COVID, we faced many supply chain problems, especially with shipping lines.” The imbalance of containers at Australian ports was not only a logistical hurdle but also a significant strain on the company’s finances due to prolonged detention fees.

Adrian Robertson, CEO of Tilling Timber.
Adrian Robertson, CEO of Tilling Timber.

The search for a better way to manage these containers led Tilling to delve deeper into its relationship with Combilift. And the Combi-SS slip sheet became the answer to their prayers.

“The Combi slip sheet enables us to bring a container in, unload the material, and then the truck departs. We only deal with storing the material afterward,” Adrian explains.

This approach substantially curtailed the time containers remained on hire, resulting in significant savings. But more than just a financial boon, it proved to be a safety enhancement.

“We minimised the risk, saving costs by unloading containers ourselves,” Adrian says, underlining the benefit of keeping drivers away from bustling yards filled with forklifts.

While the financial metrics provide one side of the success story, with Return on Investments ranging from 12 to 24 months across various sites, the operational benefits offer an equally compelling tale. 

The ROI for Tilling Timber is expected to manifest itself in short order.
The ROI for Tilling Timber is expected to manifest itself in short order.

“The main advantage we’ve observed in Melbourne is the variety of containers we’re unloading. Initially, I believed we’d only handle long timber packs. Now, we can manage short ply packs,” Adrian says, showcasing how the versatility offered by Combilift’s solution exceeded initial expectations.

As the timber landscape continuously evolves, Tilling remains firmly rooted in its ethos of progress, collaboration, and innovation.

The ongoing investment in machinery, such as its state-of-the-art timber treatment facility, combined with Tilling’s focus on automation, mechanical lifting, and product optimisation, aptly demonstrates its forward-thinking approach. 

“Working with Combilift, we’re not only improving the slip sheet machine but also developing new lifting mechanisms with traditional forks,” Adrian enthuses, hinting at a future filled with even more innovation and collaboration.

In Adrian’s telling, Tilling’s relationship with Combilift has been one of the smoothest business associations they’ve enjoyed. And with a fleet of 450 forklifts across the nation, the synergy between Tilling and Combilift is poised to continue breaking barriers and setting benchmarks for the industry.

As Tilling Timber continues to lead and shape the Australian timber market, its embrace of technology and its robust partnership with Combilift stand as testaments to its enduring commitment to excellence. 

Adrian’s words encapsulate this sentiment: “Our investment in machinery continues. Working with Combilift, we’re not only improving the slip sheet machine but also developing new lifting mechanisms with traditional forks, enhancing safety and flexibility.”

For more information on Combilift, click here

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