Laker Builders Merchant is an independent family-run business. Laker take a customer-first approach and are equally passionate about service excellence. In addition, a major aim for the business is to be a merchant that is different; innovative, unafraid of technology and ahead of their time. Part of the growth plan, outlined by MD, Steve Robinson, is to “…be more sustainable and push hard to reduce the carbon footprint of the business as well for the industry.”
As part of these plans, Laker are taking the green route and working towards being carbon neutral. Having already made good progress from replacing Crittal windows with double glazed units, insulating all offices and shops to reduce energy consumption, changing the lighting system to LED, installing hot taps to replace the kettles, changing to an efficient oil based electric heating system, reducing the paper usage by 90%, plus many more initiatives. This year also joining Clean Growth Laker are fully on board with Co2nstructZero initiative to drive carbon out of the building industry, with aims to become a carbon reduction champion.
Steve Robinson states “For Laker becoming carbon neutral is a journey made up of many small steps, one of which was calculating our carbon output, so we may hereafter focus where we could make a big difference to the environment and our staff”. Initially this involved changing out our materials handling equipment. We worked out that our forklift fleet produced a whopping 20 tonnes of carbon per annum!”
Steve notes that it was essential for Laker to have the right partner, one who shared their passion for the environment and that understood their commercial requirements. He says, “As we are a business looking to grow and diversify, it was important that our partner can think long-term and work with us to support both our green ambitions and the commercial viability of our projects both now and in the future.”
After approaching the marketing and much research later, Laker selected Forkway for several reasons, firstly their ethos and commercial approach perfectly matched the requirements laid out by Laker. Forkway are a business very similar to Laker, with both operating in a carbon heavy industry but have serious ambitions to reduce their carbon emissions, not only for themselves, but for their customers. Secondly, they took a collaborative approach, working together to understand the longer-term goals, highlighting opportunities to find the best overall solution in an inventive and progressive way. And finally, Steve Robinson says that working with Forkway felt like a true partnership in that both businesses are benefiting from this relationship.
To support Laker’s ambition, Steve Noble, of Forkway recommended the innovative and brand NEW to the market Lithium battery operated 3-tonne Counterbalance Forklift Trucks. Steve says “The proven Lithium technology replaces the IC Engine Yard Trucks, ensuring that Laker reduces as much CO2 as possible with this change. They also allow for great flexibility, with opportunity charging meaning Laker can charge their batteries whenever the forklifts are not being used, just as you would your mobile phone.” In addition, to support Laker’s green ambitions, the Lithium Forklifts offer near ZERO CO2 emissions especially compared to the standard forklifts. However, Forkway wanted to fulfil Laker’s commercial ambitions these new forklifts offer a greatly reduced running cost along with improved reliability compared to IC engine equivalent forklift trucks.
As a family run merchant, safety is always a key factor, so much attention was focused on pedestrian safety with both BLUESPOT and RED HALO pedestrian awareness lights fitted in addition to the standard reverse audible alarm and flashing beacon.
Steve Robinson is really pleased with the outcome, “We are thrilled with the partnership with have created with Forkway and the shared passion we have for the environment. We look forward to working with them for many years to come for all our materials handling requirements and are particularly excited for when we can take delivery of further electric Combilifts in the new year, so that our entire materials handling fleet is completely electric, meaning full savings in carbon emissions of 20 tonnes per year!”
About Laker Builders Merchant
Laker Builders Merchant is an independent builders’ merchant operating in the South of England with ambitions of innovation and growth. A member of the BMF, Laker has evolved as a ‘service first merchant’ having steadily grown and widened their portfolio. More recently adopting a professional management team to further enhance the founding values and principles that have allowed Laker to flourish.
The team at Laker pride themselves on being a professional, knowledgeable, responsive as well as a friendly one-stop shop.