Addressing industry-wide equipment supply issues

Delivery delays and stock availability are common difficulties for logistics businesses operating in Australia. George Pappas at Linde Materials Handling presents a solution to dramatically improve this issue.
Local material handling equipment users have for years found themselves in a unique situation when it comes to sourcing the appropriate machines for their needs.
On one hand the Australian market is serviced by all the major global suppliers, providing excellent choice. On the other hand, the relatively small size of the market and its distance from equipment manufacturing centres frequently leads to lengthy delivery delays.
This situation is exacerbated by the requirement for bespoke material handling equipment solutions in many instances and the temptation to settle for “what’s available now” has caused major grief in businesses of all sizes.
Delivery delays of anything from 12 to 30 weeks have become part of new equipment and fleet turnover planning by necessity, regardless of the chosen supplier.
Now Linde Material Handling Australia has made dramatically-improved stock availability the focus of a major multi-million-dollar investment project to permanently address this issue.
The investment is part of Linde’s ongoing commitment to anticipate customer requirements and to address market-wide delivery delay issues.  It sits alongside similarly important developments which will see Linde broadly extend Lithium-ion battery availability and roll out Linde Robotics technology.
“We have made a multi-million-dollar decision to invest in equipment which we know is in high demand in the material handling equipment market place, and have it available ex-stock,” George Pappas, Senior Director, Service and Sales at Linde says.
He pointed to the major benefit for rental and purchase customers as the equipment covered by the plan will not incur the normal production and shipping-related delivery delays experienced for equipment currently ordered from all the big industry players.
George stresses the decision is a permanent one, rather than a short-term measure. “We have made this business-transforming investment decision to forward-order high demand stock which we know is suitable for both the corporate and retail market, for the purpose of short term rental, long term rental and outright purchase,” he says.
“The hundreds of pieces of equipment covered by this undertaking range from counterbalance electric forklift trucks, to high productivity counterbalance IC forklift trucks in our Performance Plus 2.5 tonne capacity range.
“We have also ordered a significant number of reach trucks and pallet trucks including the MT12 – a unique medium duty lithium ion battery-powered 1.2 tonne capacity, high manoeuvrability truck for use in back-of-truck and as a replacement for hand pallet trucks and manual pallet trucks.”
Linde’s aim is to ensure it remains close to the market in terms of supply through its short-term rental fleet and for all types of new equipment from the smallest application to large enterprise requirements. In doing so it has taken on the risks associated with peaks and troughs in the market.
“The days of ordering from the factory only on receipt of customer orders are behind us now as Linde moves up to the next level of customer responsiveness and support,” George says.
The widely used Linde 115 reach truck, is part of Linde’s plans for ex-stock availability, highlighting the company’s contention it is not simply stocking up on equipment which is just fodder for the capital equipment market.”
Linde is also demonstrating its new approach on the pricing front. “These are high specification machines being put to the market at some of the most aggressive prices even seen from Linde in both the short term and the long-term rental market,” George says.
“Our goal is to ultimately have application specific machines which are customer rental available with the shortest possible lead time.
“Within this program we are doing our best to be genuinely responsive to demand without the long list of terms and conditions which frequently surround rental machine availability. We are doing our best to make sure we have the right machines with the shortest possible delay.”
Linde claims its actions will address frustrations in the market around the availability of stock and allow it to respond to large segments of the market with immediate hire.
“I stress that this is a genuine, on-going approach, backed by tens of millions of dollars of investment and not just a limited- time promotion,” George says.
“We continue to have a clear focus on highly customised solutions for markets and applications which require them, but we are also better able to meet the demands of the general short-term rental market with this increased stock commitment.”

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