Crown VNA trucks at Great Bear Distribution

Great Bear Distribution is a leading UK ambient third-party logistics provider (3PL), providing nationwide contract logistics and supply chain management services to a wide range of companies.

Its 495,000 sq. ft. Desborough Regional Distribution Centre in Northamptonshire, UK operates on a 24/7 basis with flexible shift patterns to take into account variable levels of customer activity. Product is received from production lines in the UK, Europe and the Far East and stored at the facility before orders are picked and dispatched to retailers, wholesalers and fulfilment centres across the UK.

Following successful implementation of Crown material handling equipment at a sister site in Port Salford, the decision was taken to switch from the incumbent supplier to Crown Lift Trucks. Crown offered an innovative pay-as-you-go option to Great Bear whereby a proportion of the fleet is only paid for as it is used, enabling the site to expand and contract its operations without bearing the often-heavy penalty of fleet redundancy.


Following a competitive tender process, Great Bear chose a Crown fleet of 58 trucks, of which 12 are wire-guided TSP Series VNA trucks supported by a range of GPC Series order pickersFC Series forklift trucksWT Series platform pallet trucks and ESR Series reach trucks. The wire-guided TSP Series VNA truck is at the heart of the Desborough operation. Featuring Crown’s exclusive MonoLiftTM mast with its strengthened boxed-in sections and heavy-gauge steel, the TSP Series provides the stability needed for operators with less twisting and swaying than with traditional, dual upright masts, thus delivering optimal performance and long-term reliability.

The Crown FC Series 4-wheel electric counterbalanced forklift plays a pivotal role in moving pallets around the dispatch area. Fitted with a double-pallet handling attachment, it offers maximum performance and manoeuvrability.

One of the principal reasons for choosing Crown as a supplier was the reassurances given regarding implementation of the fleet. Great Bear Distribution’s Account Director, Eddie Hollingsworth, explains: “We scheduled the implementation of the new fleet over three weeks during one of our quieter periods. Because of its complexity, we initially went live with the smaller pieces of equipment – the counterbalanced forklift trucks, reach trucks, powered pallet trucks and low-level order pickers. We then phased in the VNA machines over the following two weeks. Crown project managed all of that and delivered on its promises. We experienced zero business disruptions, with 58 trucks being smoothly installed into our operations.”


  • The TSP Series’ optional Auto Positioning System helps choose the most efficient route for the VNA trucks to travel between pallet locations.

  • The semi-automation features of the TSP Series VNA truck have enabled operators to achieve greater pick accuracy and productivity.

  • Management information delivered by the Crown InfoLink® fleet management system enables Great Bear to better react to its varying customer demands and its business needs.


“We are particularly impressed by the quality of the TSP Series VNA trucks. They are a lot more robust than our previous VNA trucks and technically more efficient. Our drivers love all the bells and whistles – particularly in the cabin area with the integrated controls and adjustability of the seat.”

Eddie Hollingsworth
Account Director
Great Bear Distribution Ltd


About Crown Equipment Corporation – EMEA
Crown is one of the world’s largest material handling companies with a reputation for award-winning product design, advanced engineering and technology supported by superior after-sales service. Crown’s business philosophy utilises vertically integrated processes to design, manufacture and distribute forward-thinking innovative solutions that improve customers’ productivity and operating efficiency. Crown develops, produces and sells a broad range of forklifts, as well as automation and fleet management technologies.

The company’s global headquarters is located in New Bremen, Ohio, USA, with regional headquarters in Germany, Australia, China and Singapore. Its employees number more than 15,000 worldwide. Crown operates a service and distribution network that exceeds 500 retail locations in over 80 countries. To learn more about Crown’s ideas for helping customers advance the productivity of their operations, visit

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