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1. Komatsu to increase China presence, begin production
Komatsu Forklift Co will double the number of its sales agents in China from 15 to 30 by 2008.
A Nikkei report, confirmed by a Forkliftaction.com News source within Komatsu, indicates the company is preparing to fully enter the Chinese market. Apart from its plans for expanding the sales force, the company plans to begin producing forklifts in China by October 2005.
Komatsu’s current 15 sales representatives are concentrated in the coastal areas of Guangzhou and Shanghai. Under expansion plans, the company will add sales representatives in the north and northeast, including Shandong Province, Hebei Province and Liaoning Province.
The new agents would focus mainly on promoting Komatsu’s 2-3 tonne capacity forklifts, and would focus on local firms and Japanese companies.
Through this strategy, the company hopes to sell 6000 forklifts a year and secure a 20 per cent share of the market for foreign manufacturers. It currently has about 7 per cent of the Chinese market.
2. JLG logs growth, boosts pricing 3% on top of steel surcharge
McCONNELLSBURG, PA, United States
JLG Industries Inc recorded robust growth in the fiscal year ended July 31 but acknowledged near-term uncertainty because of higher material costs for steel and petroleum-based components.
JLG Chief Executive Bill Lasky said the company was optimistic about the next fiscal year “fuelled by an improved North American economy and the successful integration of our OmniQuip acquisition.”
JLG acquired Textron Inc’s OmniQuip unit for USD100 million in August 2003 (Forkliftaction.com News #115) and accounted for a full year of OmniQuip business in the financial report.
Increases in machinery sales pushed much of JLG’s supply chain beyond capacity and added wrinkles to the integration of the challenging multifaceted OmniQuip. The component shortages included drive trains and hydraulic systems.
It was discovered that the OmniQuip telehandler supply base was not as robust as that of firms providing components for the JLG and Gradall lines, Mr Lasky said. Only 15 per cent of supply was common between OmniQuip and JLG/Gradall.
JLG noted that numerous suppliers were boosting capacity - typically a nine-month process - and should have the ability to generate necessary components as JLG’s next busy season arrives in early 2005.
Among raw materials, “steel prices have been the most volatile, and the range of forecast estimates within the industry varies widely”, Lasky said. JLG is assuming the average price of steel will exceed the prior year’s baseline by 75 per cent.
In addressing the steel issue, JLG added a base price increase averaging 3 per cent in mid-September after initiating a surcharge of 2.8 per cent in March. So far, JLG’s competition had not increased prices, but “our competitors cannot ship aerial work platforms (AWPs) as well as we can”, Lasky said. The latest increase would apply to all incoming orders, but not to JLG’s backlog, of about USD198 million as of July 31, or to existing annual customer agreements.
JLG recorded profit of USD26.6 million on sales of USD1.19 billion for the fiscal year ended July 31. While not directly comparable, JLG had profit of USD12.4 million on sales of USD751 million for the previous fiscal year.
In the latest year, AWPs accounted for USD562.1 million in sales, telehandlers for USD358.9 million and excavators for USD52.7 million.
The OmniQuip division, including SkyTrak, Lull and military products, had sales of USD250 million, up 17 per cent. Other JLG-brand AWPs had sales of USD552 million, up 31 per cent, and the JLG and Gradall-brand telehandlers were at USD149 million, up 26 per cent.
On a geographic basis, sales totalling USD923.7 million occurred in the United States with USD178.4 million taking place in Europe and USD91.9 million in other countries and regions.
Lasky outlined a five-year strategic plan pointing JLG toward USD2 billion in sales, diversification of distribution channels, expansion of after-market business and elimination of USD100 million in costs, net of inflation.
JLG intends to institutionalise Six Sigma quality practices and grow through acquisitions, joint ventures and alliances, he said.
- JLG website -
3. New RAM spreaders for dockside container cranes
RAM Spreaders has added two new spreaders for container cranes to its range.
The company’s CenterSpread series of telescopic twin-lift spreaders has been expanded with the addition of new 2950/2960 models. They are designed for rubber-tyred and rail-mounted gantry cranes, and feature a centre gap adjustable by up to 800mm.
RAM has also released the 1770 model, a new telescopic container spreader for mobile harbour cranes. The first new 1770 unit was commissioned in summer 2004 on a Gottwald 280 mobile harbour crane in Manchester, England.
RAM is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NatSteel Ltd, one of Singapore's largest industrial conglomerates. NatSteel was established in 1964 and currently has an annual turnover of more than USD827 million. The company employs more than 17,000 people in 15 countries.
4. IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON A GETTING A WARNING, WHICH MIRROR WOULD YOU PREFER?
Mirrors are everywhere, but pedestrians ignore them, or low light conditions and dirt render them useless. Even when properly maintained and used, a moving forklift is just plain hard to see.
WELCOME TO THE PEDESTRIAN AND FORKLIFT WARNING SYSTEM OF THE FUTURE
The Alert System turns a passive mirror into an active warning device. By placing a warning message in the mirror, you can alert everyone of approaching traffic.
CHANGE THE WAY YOU MANAGE INTERSECTIONS WITH AN ALERT SYSTEM!
5. Wandalex lands EUR160,000 supply contract
Polish forklift distributor Wandalex SA has won a EUR160,900 contract to supply seven Yale forklifts to WKiZB Atlas Grzelak i wspolnicy.
WKiZB Atlas, based in Lodz, central Poland, ordered the forklifts from Wandalex last week. The forklifts are to be delivered in the fourth quarter this year, according to Polish News Digest.
Wandalex is based in Warsaw and produces forklifts, warehouse shelves, conveyors and logistic systems. The company also acts as a distributor for several forklift manufacturers, including Combilift, CVS Ferrari, VKP and Yale.
6. Forklift sparks USD200,000 fire
MASON CITY, IA, United States
A forklift has caused USD200,000 in fire damage at a Mason City, Iowa, pipe supply company.
TheIowaChannel.com reported that a spark jumped from the forklift’s metal flame and set the Midwest Supply Company alight on the morning of September 27.
The fire soon engulfed the building, and fire fighters were unable to control the blaze because the closest water hydrant was about one mile away from the factory.
7. Fuel cells replace batteries in lift truck trials
General Hydrogen Corp has developed prototypes of fuel cell power packs for three classes of battery-powered lift trucks. Branded as Hydricity Packs, they will find initial use in distribution centres and manufacturing plants.
Hydrogen-powered Hydricity Packs directly replace a lift truck’s existing battery packs. They can also serve as a source of energy for stationary power equipment.
All demonstrations of the packs to date have involved lift trucks, and several leading companies have collaborated with General Hydrogen on these trials. However, General Hydrogen has not yet identified any of the end users.
General Hydrogen began developing Hydricity Packs in 2002 and conducted initial lift truck demonstrations in 2003. “We see commercialisation beginning with some early niche markets around 2007,” said Tony Troutt, General Hydrogen’s vice president of business development.
General Hydrogen designs, builds and assembles Hydricity Packs in Vancouver. It also operates a customer support facility in Gallatin, TN, United States, to back field trial operations and sales and marketing programs.
Hydricity Packs comply with emerging Society of Automotive Engineers standards for fuel cell vehicle fuelling.
Fuel cell industry visionary Geoffrey Ballard founded privately held General Hydrogen in 1999 to develop hydrogen fuelling systems. Now, the firm works on fuel cell products for industrial applications in addition to fuelling systems.
8. New air-suspended seat from EBLO
World famous seat maker EBLO has released the new AIRSUSPENSION forklift seat. This comfortable, low-profile seat can be fitted to all forklifts, including small forklifts because of its low height (just 16cm!!). The seat is equipped with a five-position lumbar regulation and a fully adjustable backrest. There are various options available, including a retractable seat belt, adjustable armrests or heating elements. Because of the air suspension, the seat can be very easily adjusted and give a smooth ride for both heavy and light weight drivers.
See www.eblo.nl, send an email to email@example.com or call +31 (180) 512 866.
9. Toyota execs moving up
IRVINE, CA, United States
Toyota Material Handling USA Inc has appointed Payman Shabbak as strategic planning manager, Troy Kaiser as distribution services manager, Mike Cockrell as US northeast territory manager, Jerry Clark and Elizabeth Agnew as national account managers, Bruce Marti as customer support, service and parts marketing manager, Luis Chaves as sales and product training manager and David Humphry as national account/fleet sales support manager.
10. Philippine market grows, despite financial crisis fears
The Philippine market for forklifts and parts showed continued growth in the second quarter, amid local economists’ concerns of a looming crisis.
The Bureau of Import Services reported a 33 per cent increase in total materials handling equipment purchases between April and June, translating to about USD4 million worth of purchases.
The majority of the 185 imports were from Japan, which comprised USD1.7 million, or nearly half, of the growth posted in the second quarter. Other imports had come from the US, Taiwan and South Korea.
Meanwhile, 13 second quarter contracts, worth about USD200,000, more than doubled the value of imports from Singapore compared to the first quarter.
Surprisingly, no equipment was imported from European nations, which was previously a major import region.
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AED: US DEALERS RETAIN 80% OF PARTS CUSTOMERS
OAK BROOK, IL, United States
The just-released 2004 AED Product Support Best Practices Report found dealers, on average, had 1057 parts customers on their books, and the best dealers retained 92.5 per cent of them year-to-year.
The Associated Equipment Distributors (AED) says typical US equipment dealers keep more than USD2.2 million in spare parts in stock, and retain 80.6 per cent of their parts customers.
The survey found that typical “heavy dealers” were those whose major sales were in equipment greater than 100 horsepower and maintained a parts inventory of USD2,223,123.
There was a huge gap between heavy and medium-class dealers (those who sold mainly equipment of less than 100 horsepower), who maintained an inventory of just USD413,965 - more than 80 per cent less than heavy dealers.
The Product Support Best Practices Report is based on in-depth surveys of AED members’ parts, service and product support departments, and is designed to allow dealers to benchmark against the operating results of other dealers in specific segments.
For more information, or to order a copy of the report, see www.aednet.org.
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