Schneider Electric Switches on

Schneider Electric, best known to Australian consumers for its Clipsal brand, has contracted Toyota Material Handling (TMH) as a key supplier for its manufacturing and distribution centres around Australia.

Toyota will supply and maintain more than 170 Toyota, BT and Raymond brand forklifts, reach trucks, stock pickers and walkie stackers under the agreement.

Schneider Electric’s growth in Australia was underscored in 2003 by its acquisition of Clipsal, the number one brand of electrical accessories in Australia and Asia.

As a result of its acquisition of Clipsal, Schneider Electric’s national responsibilities for same or next day FIS delivery of electrical products throughout Australia expanded to cover more than 3500 locations.

After an exhaustive 12 month research and evaluation program, followed by a competitive tendering process, Toyota Material Handling was awarded a national contract to supply its Toyota, BT and Raymond branded equipment.

“Dealing with our material handling equipment requirements was both a challenge and an opportunity for us,” Schneider Electric National Distribution Co-ordinator, Ross Carter says.

“We took the opportunity to survey every site and get their input on current and projected material handling equipment requirements.”

“From that we built up a national picture which helped us to put together the specifications for a tender process,” he says.

“We were looking for a supplier with access to the latest technology and with the resources to supply and service us nationally across all material handling equipment types, and one that was prepared to be flexible to meet our changing needs,” Carter adds.

Toyota Material Handling was one of several suppliers which responded to Schneider Electric’s call for tenders as the company continued its year long project to ensure it had the best possible material handling equipment outcome.

After eliminating suppliers who could not meet its needs nationally, Schneider Electric began a comprehensive review of the equipment and proposals of the remaining tenderers.

It undertook numerous trials of forklifts and reach trucks at its distribution centres and sought feedback on experience with various brands.

“In the end it got down to Toyota and another supplier,” Carter says.

“Toyota’s global strength, its access to the latest technology and Schneider sites’ experience with the products and their service support were part of the picture, as was their competitive pricing.”

When it came to a final decision however, local factors played just as important a role, as Schneider Electric reviewed its original reasons for going to tender.

“We were looking for a supplier able to take on the fleet management role and to work with us as circumstances changed,” Carter says.

“Toyota Material Handling’s representation was very professional. They had taken the time to understand our need to be flexible for future requirements.”

Toyota Material Handling has worked with Schneider Electric to audit the requirements of each of its numerous sites.

It is now using that information to progressively roll out the equipment which will help ensure the company remains a leader in its field with a formidable reputation for logistics efficiency.

The roll out is being accompanied by comprehensive induction and familiarisation sessions to ensure equipment operators are able to achieve maximum productivity in a safe working environment.

Schneider Electric manufacturing and distribution facilities are being equipped with a combination of Toyota forklifts and BT and Raymond battery-electric warehouse products as the physical side of the contract.

On the fleet management side, the regular maintenance visits by Toyota Material Handling technicians are already providing the information which will enable Toyota to advise Schneider Electric on the most efficient use of its new equipment.

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