Salmon and wine

In a huge Menzies depot at Schiphol Airport, pallets loaded with colli are brought in. The pallet load may be anything from bottles of wine, to Norwegian salmon, machine parts, flowers, and once even a living orca. From Schiphol, these products are forwarded to countries all around the world. Cardboard cases and wooden crates are everywhere, in the most outlandish shapes and dimensions. Eight Toyota forklifts with RAVAS RVL carriage plate scales drive around the depot. The mobile scales were selected for their robustness: they are practically indestructible. Ramon Maas is Manager Cargo Handling at Menzies Aviation: “The trucks are used day and night and they are not being handled gently.” For picking up large crates or two colli at once, the trucks are fitted with extra-long forks: 1600 mm.


All inbound pallets are weighed during offloading and transported to a central buffer zone in the depot, where the goods are rearranged on airplane skids. On a terminal in the cabin of his truck, the forklift driver enters the Waybill number of the shipment. This ID calls up all data about the pallet on his screen. When lifting the pallet, the driver immediately sees whether there is a difference between the actual weight on the forks and the weight declared on the Waybill. The weight data are recorded with the pre-existing data on the shipment and stored in a database that can be viewed by the carriers. With every carrier a unique Service Level Agreement (SLA) has been signed. This agreement states which percentage of the total number of inbound shipments from local forwarders must be weighed.

Major cargo handler

Menzies World Cargo Nederland is part of Menzies Aviation. With a total volume of 430.000 Ton cargo per year, Menzies World Cargo is a major cargo handler at Schiphol Amsterdam Airport. At Schiphol, Menzies World Cargo operates fully owned depots, where air freight from local forwarders is built up onto airplane skids.

Airplane molds

Once the pallets have been weighed, they are stacked on airplane skids. The skids are built using molds that show the dimensions of the cargo holds of the particular plane they will be loaded on. There’s a mold for every make and model of plane. Once the skids are built, they are moved to the air site, waiting to be loaded onto the cargoplane.

Supported throughout the organization

In the past, all pallets were weighed on a floor scale. Forklifts waiting in line meant annoyance and exasperation. ‘Positive feedback from the work floor is very important to me’, says Maas. ‘I want to hear the guys say: “This is ideal, because everything goes much faster”. Then a project like this is supported throughout the organization.’ Maas hopes to experience the advantages of mobile weighing: ‘We have now been working with the weighing carriage plates on the forklifts for two months. By working more efficiently we hope to start seeing better returns and results.’

Ravas Menzies logo

Menzies Aviation

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Data communication

Data communication
Next to their basic function of material handling equipment, forklifts and warehouse trucks are turning into platforms for generating real-time information on material flows. Materials are identified, weighed, dimensioned, photographed, and all this data is exchanged with WMS or ERP systems via truck terminals and wireless networks. This information, made available to the proper people and software platforms in real time, allows an organization to improve its efficiency and lower its cost. Mobile scales allow integration of weight information where it's most productive: on the lift truck.