The biannual Forklift Survey is now live and seeking respondents who have the chance to win a major prize valued at $799 just for conducting the short online questionnaire.
In the current challenging economic environment, consumer spending is tight, business investment is restricted, and infrastructure spending – apart from a few over-publicised projects – is also being largely held back. The conditions are in fact perfect for a recession, and anyone in the trade of supplying high-value machinery for businesses could be forgiven for wanting to adopt a ‘batten down the hatches’ approach. Read more
Toyota Australia together with Toyota Material Handling Australia and Toyota Fleet Management, will be introducing a fleet of autonomous Autopilot vehicles in to its Altona warehouse from its operation start in 2020.
Manufactured in Sweden by Toyota Material Handling Europe, the fleet itself will consist of six Autopilot Tow Trucks (TAE500) and one Autopilot Reach Truck (RAE160), the flagship model when it comes to warehouse automation.
They will apply Autopilot driverless technology to achieve mobility in conveyance, towing, lifting, and be able to autonomously place product throughout the warehouse and pick orders for customers.
All models in the range will also have the ability to be used in manual mode as conventional warehouse vehicles allowing complete flexibility in operations.
In addition to enhanced safety, Autopilot will also deliver energy efficiencies via Lithium-Ion battery technology, automatic charging, high vehicle utilisation, and low maintenance costs.
Toyota Australia Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Sean Hanley, said the mobility company has a thorough understanding and appreciation of the importance of automation technology.
“Toyota Australia will continue to develop, progress, and employ these new ways of thinking whenever possible. We are extremely committed to delivering the highest level of reliability, performance, and productivity, and Autopilot ticks every one of these boxes,” Sean said.
The Toyota Material Handling Australia national head office and branch management team attending the opening of the new facility in Gepps Cross, South Australia.
The ongoing growth of Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA)’s Adelaide branch was a primary reason for it to recently move from its former site to a brand new, 12,000m2 facility in Gepps Cross, South Australia.
The state-of-the art facility was opened in May and visitors in attendance included South Australian Government Treasurer the Hon Rob Lucas MLC, TMHA chairman Toshi Nakazawa and president & CEO, Steve Takacs.
TMHA general manager – Branch Operations South Hamish Harper said in his time with the branch he has watched it move from strength to strength. “We worked in the old facility for over 25 years and have been GM for the last 10, and in that time I have watched its steady growth,” said Mr Harper. “Growth in our people and growth in our product lines – our offering has vastly increased from what it was a decade ago, even a few years ago. The Adelaide branch has had the full line of TMHA products for years.”
Mr Harper said TMHA Adelaide’s growth has been tracked in market share. “We’ve gone from a mid-twenties market share ten years ago to our present market share, which is in the forties, so inevitably we required infrastructure to match increased demand.
“There were constraints on the volume we could put through our workshop before, but now we have vastly increased resources to meet growth in equipment sales and our rental and servicing requirements.”
The new facility dwarfs its predecessor’s 7,000m2 footprint and 4,000m2 building size, as Mr Harper explained: “Our new facility here in Gepps Cross has 1,000m2 of office space incorporating a new-unit showroom to showcase the vast breadth and depth of our product range, and a dedicated training facility,” he said.
“We also have a dedicated parts area with its own entrance. Parts are very important to our business and we needed to ensure easy accessibility for our parts customers.
“Our new state-of-the-art 5,000m2 workshop area, accompanied by another 6,000m2 of hardstand area for loading and unloading, is impressive – especially given it’s three times the size of our old workshop. That’s a huge difference for us. It gives us the ability to service over 4,000 forklifts that we have under service and rental.”
Additional features of the workshop include a new on-site spray booth, a wash-bay that uses recycled water, overhead gantry, and storage space for the branch’s short-term rental fleet. “We also have more workbays for our staff, which means we can work on our customers’ equipment more efficiently and, hopefully, return it quicker than ever before,” he said.
Mr Harper said further time savings have been gained by bringing the storage of new machines onto the same site as the pre-delivery workshop. “The former site operated two distinct buildings: one being the main facility where we had our sales force, undertook repairs, and our parts operation. The other was basically a pre-delivery facility for equipment such as forklifts.
“Now we have increased the speed of machine delivery by consolidating the two and bringing the storage of new machines onto the same site as the pre-delivery workshop.
“We now have only one workshop and all our other functionality is in the same envelope. Being able to have all services available under the one roof allows us to service our customers more efficiently and effectively.”
Customers will not have to travel far from the previous Cavan Road location to experience the benefits of the new facility. “Our new location in Matthews Road is only around the corner from our old facility, which is handy for our customers as they’ll have the general location familiarity.
“Matthews Road is off one of the main arterials in Gepps Cross, Wakefield Road, from where you can’t miss our new signage. We’re still twenty minutes’ drive from the city, right in the heart of Adelaide’s industrial area. It’s also a central location from which we can get to our customers for service requirements.”
After many years of planning, Mr Harper is thrilled to be in the now officially opened facility, along with his staff, whom he thanked for their contribution to the project, along with input from TMHA branches, nationally.
“We’re very excited to be here and seeing our new facility in action. Everything is modern, clean and new – as is befitting of Toyota Material Handling’s image and expected of a market leader.
“We have opened a facility that can meet all of the contemporary needs of our customers who demand not just a supplier of equipment but a full provider of systems and services. It’s a demonstration of our commitment to our customers and we think they will be very pleased with our new location and experience.
“We have lots of parking for customers and staff. Customers are enjoying our new amenities including a dedicated area where we can have a coffee with them and discuss their needs. It’s an enhanced customer experience.”
Kalmar, part of Cargotec, has introduced a fully electric version of the Kalmar Empty Container Handler. The launch represents another step on the company’s journey towards offering an electric version of every product in its portfolio by 2021.
The all-electric machine is the latest addition to Kalmar’s Eco Range, which already includes the Kalmar Eco Reachstacker with a fuel-saving guarantee. In addition, Kalmar has already launched fully electric versions of its light and medium forklift trucks, Kalmar Ottawa terminal tractors, shuttle and straddle carriers, automated guided vehicles (AGV) and yard cranes.
Based on the Kalmar ECG90-180 medium electric forklift, the new machine is designed to help customers reduce overall fuel costs and comply with increasingly strict airborne and noise emissions standards without compromising on performance. It can stack containers up to four high and is available with a choice of battery technologies to ensure a clean, efficient lift every time. With fewer moving parts and lower rates of wear and tear than a diesel-powered machine, the Kalmar Electric Empty Container Handler is also simpler and more cost-effective to maintain.
The electric driveline provides full torque immediately and is smoother to operate than a diesel driveline, making operating cycles shorter and increasing the potential number of container moves per hour. Fully charged, the battery has enough power to last a whole shift.
Vice president of forklifts at Kalmar Stefan Hultqvist said: “We firmly believe that electricity is the power source of the future and have committed to make our full portfolio available as electrically powered by 2021. We have been developing electrically powered machine technology since the 1980s, and the Kalmar Electric Empty Container Handler is the latest in what will be a long line of eco-efficient solutions. We know that operational cycles differ from customer to customer, so we’re pleased to be able to offer a choice between lead-acid and lithium-ion battery technologies to allow customers to specify the option that best fits their requirements.
Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) has inducted a record 14 apprentice forklift technicians in its annual intake, ensuring a solid skills support base for the future.
The national forklift company this year received a staggering 826 applications for apprenticeships from around the country.
The 14 new apprentices, accompanied by mentors from their respective TMHA branches, were inducted and received their tools of trade at TMHA’s Sydney headquarters at the end of March.
TMHA president and CEO Steve Takacs – who began his career as a forklift technician – was on hand to welcome the inductees.
They also received presentations on Toyota values, company policies and expectations, safety procedures and Toyota history, and a tour of TMHA’s extensive national headquarters.
TMHA national technical advisor and trainer Gerry Larney said 14 apprentices was a record annual intake and continues Toyota’s commitment to industry leading skills training.
“We currently have 35 apprentices completing their four-year courses across our 18 branches and a total of 450 staff in product support roles,” he said.
“TMHA views the apprentice program as a cornerstone in providing the highest levels of product support.
“It is a real investment in our future, as today’s apprentices are tomorrow’s technicians.”
TMHA also conducts an annual national skills contest, open to all technicians and apprentices, with the aim of keeping service staff at the cutting edge of industry standards.
Steve Takacs said Toyota has been at the forefront of forklift technician training for much of the 50 years the company has been selling forklifts in Australia, this is further supported by specialist TAFE and inhouse training programs for Australia’s forklift technicians.
“The annual apprentice intake was initiated more than a decade ago to help ensure we have a strong skills base to support our business,” he said.
Hyster-Yale Asia-Pacific managing director Tony Fagg.
The Hyster-Yale Group is strengthening its Yale sales, service and supply operations in NSW and VIC by expanding its partnership with the Adaptalift Group.
This enhanced relationship will create a stronger and more diverse sales and rental offering and provide a comprehensive product range and aftermarket service to customers, the companies say.
Hyster-Yale Asia-Pacific managing director Tony Fagg says the new Adaptalift-Yale operation extends the existing long-term relationship between Adaptalift and Hyster-Yale, which combines the local expertise of family owned Adaptalift with the support of global Hyster-Yale resources to meet all the material handling needs of its customers.
“Adaptalift will deliver a comprehensive, structured and responsive sales approach to support retail, fleet and global account customers,” said Mr Fagg. “Its expansive service organisation extends the quality and service standards that Yale customers expect from a trusted global brand in the materials handling market.”
Through rapid and continuous growth, Adaptalift is a privately owned and operated forklift distribution company that has grown to a nationwide fleet of approximately 10,500 units. With over 38 years’ experience in the materials handling industry, Adaptalift has built a reputation for total commitment to customer service – a commitment that will be extended to benefit the new Yale dealerships, said Adaptalift general manager – sales Lindsay Whiffen.
Adaptalift has established Yale branches at its Melbourne Head Office, its Truganina facility in West Melbourne, and its NSW State Office in Wetherill Park.
Yale materials handling equipment includes lift trucks, reach trucks, pantographs, order pickers, turret trucks, pallet trucks, walkie trucks and end-rider pallet trucks used globally by logistics, materials handling, warehousing, retail, food and beverage, automotive and transport operations, agribusiness and primary industry, paper and packaging and industrial plants.
Jungheinrich AG and Triathlon Holding GmbH have come together to found JT ENERGY Systems GmbH, a joint venture focused on the production and recycling of lithium-ion battery systems.
Jungheinrich holds a 70 per cent share in the joint venture with Triathlon taking the remaining 30 per cent. The company is due to begin operations in August 2019. JT ENERGY Systems intends to create around 100 new jobs at the plant in the next few years.
Both Jungheinrich and Triathlon are known for their industry-leading level of expertise in the field of lithium-ion technology across a wide variety of applications. This extensive knowledge will be combined within JT ENERGY Systems. The aim of the joint venture between Jungheinrich and Triathlon is for the two companies to expand their production capacities to cover the ever-increasing demand for lithium-ion battery systems and to further develop their technological leadership in this field. JT ENERGY will supply products to both companies.
Chairman of the board of management of Jungheinrich AG Hans-Georg Frey said: “For our customers, energy efficiency and maximum truck availability are key competitive advantages. We support them in this with a range of trucks and products that utilise the benefits of lithium-ion technology. The exponential sales growth we have experienced in recent years shows that the intralogistics sector is making a decisive move toward lithium-ion technology.
“Jungheinrich recognised this trend early on. Today, we act as a one-stop shop offering everything from our own energy storage devices and power units to battery chargers, and our comprehensive expertise in energy makes us innovation leaders within the sector. This collaboration with Triathlon will enable us to leverage further untapped potential in the market for electric trucks and drive the development of this future technology forward.”
Managing director of Triathlon Holding GmbH Martin Hartmann said: “We are proud to be taking this step with a company as well respected as Jungheinrich AG. We believe that the joint venture will see us achieve greater economies of scale and scope that will in turn increase our competitiveness considerably. Going forward, this move will give our customers and partners access to an even broader range of cutting-edge lithium-ion battery systems based on the latest technology.”
JT ENERGY Systems is due to begin operations in August 2019.
Crown Equipment’s customer-centric philosophy is shaping the way the company develops its products as well as how it interacts with current and prospective customers.
The company has been bringing innovation to the Australian material handling industry for more than 50 years and is constantly reviewing and refining all of its customer touch points to position itself at the forefront of customer service in the industry. This focus has been driven in parallel with the evolution of its products, which helps provide customers with productivity improvements whilst also ensuring operators receive the latest technology to make their jobs safer and easier.
Managing director Greg Simmonds said Crown’s customer-focused philosophy has always guided its decisions but has become a more crucial element in a world where customers are expecting more.
“At Crown we’ve always had success with building and maintaining strong, productive relationships with businesses, from start-up companies through to global entities,” Mr Simmonds said.
“However, technology is constantly improving and these days there are better ways of holding a mirror up to your own performance when it comes to meeting customers’ needs.
“At our head office in Sydney we have a dedicated team focused on measuring our customer service performance. Our management, as well as the culture throughout the organisation, is focused on acting on what we learn to make us a better fit for our customers.
“Our aim is to be number-one in one specific area: customer service.
“We see this as being just as important as the new technology and commerce platforms we are rolling out to customers, which include e-commerce, semi-automation and other new technology that will have a strong impact on the interaction between humans and increasingly advanced machinery.”
Online and face to face
Crown has adjusted its ratio of online versus face-to-face sales to bring added convenience to customers while providing the right advice where it really counts.
The company entered Australia’s online material handling sales arena in December 2016 with a website dedicated to selling Crown PTH Series hand pallet trucks.
Following a positive reaction from customers and ongoing research into business-to-business buying preferences, Crown is now expanding its e-commerce activities to include other products that are well suited to this streamlined approach.
The company’s increasing use of online sales has enabled its sales force to increase its focus on the areas of material handling that require specialised knowledge and experience to determine best-fit solutions for particular applications.
According to director of sales Craig Kenchington, creating the right balance of online and face-to-face sales is an important part of the company’s customer focus.
“Crown is increasing its online sales presence and the launch of our website selling hand pallet trucks online was an instant hit,” Mr Kenchington said.
“Our practices are backed up by experience as well as industry data showing dramatic changes in business-to-business buyer behaviour, with a large and growing number of customers who prefer to do their own research online for certain products.
“The convenience of being able to buy our robust hand pallet truck, which works well in any environment, straight from our website with competitively priced shipping has proven very attractive to many of our customers.
“They are asking for additional product options so we’ve updated our e-commerce site to include WP Series power pallet trucks and M Series stackers, with more to come.”
However, many customers must deal with warehouse variables including size, shape, ceiling and doorway openings, racking systems, mezzanine levels, power capabilities, fire extinguishing systems and warehouse management systems. Managing these factors requires a trained professional and a company prepared to back its products. Companies that only sell material handling equipment online are at a disadvantage in these situations which can, in turn, put the customer at a disadvantage.
“Finding the right products to perform material handling tasks as efficiently as possible, which fit the physical dimensions of the warehouse and racking system and suit the budgetary requirements of the customer, is a job that requires consultation based on solid expertise,” Mr Kenchington said.
“Now more than ever, the guidance of a genuine material handling professional is essential to meet operational efficiency and compatibility expectations when populating a warehouse with lift trucks and reach trucks.”
Involving a material handling expert in warehouse equipment procurement brings the potential to identify areas of the business that can benefit from existing and upcoming technology, including semi-automation and fleet management. An increasingly important element in running a lift truck fleet is the fitment and compatibility of fleet management systems.
“Crown’s InfoLink fleet management system has become one of the most important factors in the sale of lift trucks to medium and large businesses,” Mr Kenchington said.
“That is because of its potential to reduce impacts – and therefore damage – while providing valuable information on lift truck usage and improve the overall safety culture within a warehouse.
“A material handling professional who visits a site to gain an understanding of a company’s practices is able to make a judgement on how much a company can benefit from its use and make recommendations for its implementation.
“Further to that, these systems initially require fine-tuning onsite to get the full savings and safety benefits they are capable of providing.”
Whilst online sales can add convenience to the purchase of simple products, companies that operate as a ‘one-stop shop’ for material handling needs add another dimension of simplicity for dealing with what can be a complicated task.
“In addition to helping you find the right lift truck for your conditions and setting them up with fleet management systems, Crown personnel are also experts in racking, shelving and accessories and can help develop an empty space into a fully functioning warehouse through dealing with just the one organisation,” Mr Kenchington said.
“We can also train operators with the skills required in a material handling environment, either onsite or through our extensive branch network throughout Australia.
“We believe in the convenience of the products we offer online and our e-commerce activities reflect Crown’s customer-centric approach. It’s an important complement to our sales channels.”
Automatic for customers
Crown’s customer-centric approach is also guiding the roll-out of its semi-automation technology into the Australian lift truck market.
Throughout the Crown global regions, Crown’s technology business development strategy focuses on integrating new technologies into mainstream organisations in a measured fashion. It was created to provide improved operator management, safety and productivity that fully tested semi-automated equipment can offer, while shielding customers from the potential dissolution that can follow the hype and excitement associated with technological advancements.
The strategy has resulted in a semi-automated product suite consisting of Crown’s Auto Positioning System (APS) and Auto Fence operator-assistance for VNA equipment. These will be offered alongside Crown’s award-winning Quick Pick Remote (QPR) order picking technology, which has already proven to provide significant case picking productivity in applications where material flow optimisation is understood.
However, according to Crown Pacific Rim director of technology and business development Chris Ansell, the company’s approach is not about ‘technology for the sake of it’. Instead, Crown will be assessing interested customers’ businesses for the best solutions to their current and future material handling needs.
“Our aim has always been to provide customers with an equitable return on investment from every one of our products, whether it be a hand pallet truck or a turret stock picker,” Mr Ansell said.
“Some companies advertise their automated material handling products as ‘must-haves’ for businesses, without explaining that they are not necessarily the silver bullet they are searching for to provide optimal warehouse efficiency.
“Therefore our approach in discussing automation with our customers will be to first find out where they stand with material flows.
“In many cases we have been able to advise customers on how to extract more performance and efficiency from non-automated lift trucks, instead of taking on the commitment of an automated solution.
“Once we’ve established that automation is the right path to increased productivity for a particular customer, we will work with them to come up with the best solution for their needs.
Currently Crown has designated the MPC 3000 Series and GPC 3000 Series pallet transporters and the TSP Series turret lift trucks for production with integrated semi-automation technology.
While Crown has invested considerably in semi-automated equipment, the company expects humans to remain an important part of material handling well into the future.
“At Crown we’ve always believed that higher levels of productivity can be achieved through attention to design, ergonomics and user interfaces,” Mr Ansell said.
“Automated products currently make up less than two per cent of the global market but we’re expecting that to grow steadily over the next decades and our future offerings will accommodate this trend with thoroughly developed equipment.
“However, none of our projections suggest that humans will be removed from the equation in material handling.”
Number-one in customer service
Crown built its reputation through great customer service and its increased focus on its customer-centric culture is what the company’s management believe will allow it to be seen as number-one.
“At Crown we don’t take any form of interaction with customers for granted,” Mr Simmonds said.
“More than ever, being able to listen to customers properly, find the best solution which makes them the most profit, while supplying and maintaining it as effectively as possible, is crucial for our mutual success.
“Working with Crown is a collaboration which, to us, begins as soon as we answer an enquiry.
“We have always used customer feedback to improve our operations but it’s now a systematic part of our procedures, management and culture. It’s become both a science and an art here at Crown.
“We know that customers are expecting and demanding more. We’ve got the technology, infrastructure, products and experience to deliver this, as well as the passion and drive to serve customers better than the rest.”
For more information call 131 604 or visit www.crown.com.
Crown Equipment has joined forces with Australian industrial cleaning machinery supplier Conquest Equipment Technologies to expand its equipment range.
The partnership means Crown can now supply heavy-duty cleaning equipment along with racking, shelving and other infrastructure that is part and parcel of a complete warehouse fit-out.
Crown Equipment’s general manager for warehouse solutions Brett Stewart said the partnership with Conquest was born from a combination of customer feedback and the company’s focus on increasing its capability as a ‘one-stop shop’ for warehouse solutions.
“The idea of getting involved with a commercial cleaning equipment supplier came about because Crown sales staff were frequently being asked if we could supply industrial sweepers and other types of cleaning equipment,” Mr Stewart said.
“We looked at a number of industrial cleaning equipment suppliers and we chose to work with a reputable, family-run company with Australia-wide support.
“Conquest is a natural fit for Australia’s number-one electric lift truck company.”
Through Conquest, Crown can now supply Australia’s most advanced range of commercial cleaning products with floor sweepers, floor scrubbers and street sweepers for industrial, retail, corporate, and healthcare applications.
The comprehensive range includes walk-behind and ride-on sweepers and floor scrubbers as well as a range of street sweepers and commercial floor-stripping machines.
Mr Stewart said Conquest shares similar business values with Crown such as focusing on the customer.
“Crown and Conquest are utilising similar synergies – our customers are the same as their customers when it comes to us meeting their needs and finding solutions.”
Mr Stewart says the partnership is a complimentary business model that will position well with Crown and perfectly benefit customers.
“For our customers it means dealing with one salesperson rather than numerous companies for warehousing needs and that has to make things easier.”
Conquest Equipment Technologies’ managing director Michael Mathews said Conquest always finishes with the right solution and believes the Crown alliance is 100 per cent the right way to go.
“We’ve been dealing with Crown for a number of years now and we’re excited to work with a market leader with a good reputation. Like us, customer service and support is always Crown’s number-one priority.”
In global terms, Conquest is a successful Australian business that has been operating for more than 40 years at a national level, competing against big international companies in the broader marketplace.
Crown Equipment’s national sales team members are trained with the knowledge needed to provide expert advice on Conquest equipment in addition to Crown’s lift truck and Warehouse Solutions ranges.
Crown Equipment has joined forces with Australian industrial cleaning machinery supplier Conquest Equipment Technologies. https://www.dropbox.com/sh/864qfh3i7g2wzkh/AADMkjbigzw_9mWCG9UxD58Ra?dl=0
[PQ if needed:] “The comprehensive range includes walk-behind and ride-on sweepers and floor scrubbers as well as a range of street sweepers and commercial floor-stripping machines.”