Global focus for Materials Handling in 2008

Forklift and telehandler industry associations around the world say their goals for 2008 include promoting safety, assisting members to become globally competitive and tackling skills shortages.

Industrial Truck Association (ITA) president Stan Simpson told the association’s annual meeting in Alberta, Canada, last September that ITA was undertaking two pilot projects that could become major efforts.

ITA wants to track state legislative issues relevant to its members and level the playing field for tariffs levied by other countries on US forklift exports.

The US-based Material Handling Equipment Distributors’ Association (MHEDA) plans to educate its members on the opportunities and challenges of globalisation.

This will be addressed through conventions, educational offerings, its publications and the work of its standing committees.

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) of Wisconsin, US, says the off-road equipment manufacturing industry is increasingly worldwide in scope.

Hence, AEM aims to provide services to help members compete effectively on the global stage.

The UK’s Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) encourages its members to stay competitive through its annual awards for excellence.

This year, the event to recognise industry members’ achievements in 2007 will be on February 9.

The Japanese Industrial Vehicle Association (JIVA) is co-organising Logistech-Tokyo 2008 from September 9 to September 12, and will host the 11th Alliance of Industrial Truck Organisations’ meeting on May 16 to open a forum for international forklift manufacturers.

The British Industrial Truck Association (BITA), of Sunninghill, UK, will continue to draw on its members’ real-world experiences to influence new legislation and regulations, then interpret their technicalities for members in an understandable form.

MHEDA wants to contribute to raising the materials handling industry’s profile by better defining the industry’s role and impact in the supply chain to its members.

AEM says it will “aggressively address” the need to develop a future workforce for the industry by spotlighting the industry’s vital contributions to good roads and clean water.

Other efforts include its teen-friendly construction challenge program that will culminate in a finals event at the CONEXPO-CON/AGG trade show in March 2008.

FLTA chief executive David Ellison says the lack of skilled forklift engineers threatens the future of our whole industry.

“Engineers are ageing and retiring and new talent is needed,” he says. “I urge employers, including non-FLTA members, to hire apprentices and young people to consider the industry for a career.”

Ellison says the association’s national forklift truck engineer apprenticeship program is improving the quality of apprentice training in the UK.

This year, FLTA will emphasise forklift safety messages through its campaigns, Safe User Group and the National Fork Lift Truck Safety Conference.

One issue to be discussed is the safety of engineers working at height on masts.

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