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This is issue #319 - 19 July 2007 of the weekly newsletter for industry professionals.
“TCM considers Russia for centre.”
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UK firms missing out on profits – Study
STOCKTON-ON-TEES, United Kingdom
Almost two-thirds of the forklift companies in the United Kingdom are ripe for take-over, according to a new study.
Company valuation specialist Plimsoll Publishing has found that the industry is wasting GBP211 million (USD433,267,556) worth of profit every year.
The latest analysis of trading among the UK’s 400 major players indicates that 22 companies are making a loss, 13 are losing money for the second year running and four made less than 3% return on investment.
Analysts interpret their results to indicate that 296 of the 400 companies covered would make more profit under new ownership, resulting in GBP211 million (USD433,267,556) extra revenue in the industry as a whole.
“At the moment, that money is being simply thrown away because of companies’ failure to control their losses and manage their businesses more effectively,” says David Pattison, the senior analyst on the project.
“These results prove just why the forklift trucks industry is currently hot with takeover talk and speculation about future ownership. It’s certainly no surprise that trade buyers and private financiers are taking a close look at the industry – some of these … businesses have huge potential that is not being realised at the moment,” he says.
“We’ve heard a lot about private equity firms recently, and this is one industry where they could reap rich rewards.”
Last week, Forkliftaction.com News reported that fund manager Fidelity International Ltd had purchased 2% of Italian forklift attachment maker Bolzoni SpA., raising its stake to just over 4%. (Forkliftaction.com News #318).
Using its proprietary analysis, Plimsoll identifies a number of strategies that could transform some of the struggling businesses.
These include cutting out unprofitable sales. In some cases, a 10% drop in sales could actually improve profitability, analysts argue.
Management is also urged to re-examine unnecessary stock levels and keep control of trade debtors to free up cash.
In addition, Plimsoll advocates reviewing productivity “to the point where sales per staff member are at least GBP140,000 (USD287,476)”.
Are trainers liable?
FARGO, ND, United States
There’s a heated debate raging in the Forkliftaction.com Forums about trainer liability in forklift accidents, and US correspondent Roger Renstrom examines some of the issues.
Insufficient or inadequate operator training was an important issue in wrongful-death-related litigation stemming from the August 2000 fatality of Nola Olson, 30, a forklift operator for steel fabricator BDI Inc in Fargo.
On behalf of Olson’s parents, attorney Thomas J Conlin filed suit against dealer/lessor F-M Forklift Sales & Services Inc and original lessee Dahlgren & Co Inc in Cass County District Court in Fargo in 2002. North Dakota’s worker compensation law precluded suing the employer. Attorney Patrick Morley defended F-M and Dahlgren.
“The Toyota forklift had been manufactured with a seat belt, but it had been removed by the original purchaser/lessee of the forklift and not replaced before re-sale by the dealer,” says Conlin. “One morning, Nola was bringing the forklift from the dirt/gravel yard, and, while making a turn, it tipped over, and the overhead guard crushed her as it came down.”
Conlin sued F-M for selling a forklift without a seatbelt and Dahlgren for removing the seat belt and not replacing it. Dahlgren’s “lease with the dealer required that they return the forklift to the dealer post-lease with all original safety equipment intact,” Conlin says. “Obviously, if a seat belt had been available and had been used, Nola would have remained inside of the protective cage instead of being thrown beneath the overhead guard.”
F-M settled with Robert and Goldie Olson for a nominal amount before the start of a scheduled trial. Separately, in December 2005, a jury before Judge Cynthia Rothe-Seeger absolved Dahlgren of negligence without explaining the reasoning.
Morley says that Olson was trained to operate a hard-tyred forklift, but she was not trained to operate a soft-tyred forklift for outdoor operation. “The employer under OSHA (regulations) had an obligation to see she was trained.”
Morley says the case “drove home to me that there are legal and regulatory requirements for anyone operating a forklift and being trained by an employer.” Part of the training would be to make sure the forklift had a seat belt and that it was engaged before any operation began, he says.
Conlin believes the defendants “wished to blame Nola for her own death and also blame Nola’s employer for not training her, and so the forklift training she received came into question”.
“Because Nola had received certification in a previous job, the question was whether she had been adequately trained, and hence we came to learn that the training course she received did not contain all the OSHA-mandated provisions, especially the performance review. In other words, she was given her forklift certificate without the trainer ever observing her operate a forklift.”
In the Olson case, Conlin retained expert witness Joe Monaco, president of Martinsville, New Jersey-based Monaco Group Inc, which runs the National Lift Truck Operator Registry including forklift operator training.
Speaking in generalities, Monaco says that suitable training programs for forklift truck operators are “qualitatively much different than the brand-X training process” involving classroom training, videotapes and written tests. “None (of those methods) confers the severity related to injury from forklift trucks.”
Monaco stresses that training is effective if a front-line supervisor conducts content-valid performance tests to verify that a transfer of new on-the-job skills has occurred to the operator. “If an operator does not pass, the supervisor is responsible for helping them learn,” he says.
A trainer needs to know how to school an operator and provide analysis for a specific forklift job such as loading or unloading “trucks full of electronic components or boxes of shampoo or cosmetics,” he adds. A trainer “should be able to do this analysis with precision.”
“There should be a lot less passive classroom instruction offered to operators” and more on-the-job forklift practice, he says.
Another advisor believes OSHA regulations have made a difference for forklift users since being implemented in 1999. Previously, “we did not have specific training required—all specific to vehicles—and we never had refresher intervals,” says W. Garland Hanson, principal consultant with Atlantic Safety LLC of Midlothian, Virginia. About one-third of Hanson’s business involves training, with a significant portion dealing with forklifts.
Hanson encourages employers with inhouse training capability to have the experience to perform evaluations, properly insure the operations and follow-up in checking references of operator candidates.
TCM could be first in Russia with centre
TCM Corp could become the first Japan-affiliated company to establish a forklift distribution centre in Russia.
According to Japanese News Digest, the forklift manufacturer is considering building a distribution centre in Russia in fiscal 2008/09 ending March 2009.
TCM currently has sales representatives in four Russian regions – Moscow, St Petersburg, Vladivostok and Kazan. Forklifts and spare parts are currently imported from Japan. A distribution centre could cut lead times to meet growing forklift demand.
Atsushige Ishiki, the company’s president, says TCM has a 6% share of the Russian forklift market which is growing more than 20% annually.
“Pimp My Lift” couture goes online
Masterlift’s provocative advertising campaign for its Chinese-made forklifts has resulted in worldwide interest, a jump in website hits and just last week, the launch of an online merchandising store (Forkliftaction.com News #306).
Company president Gary Wilson tells Forkliftaction.com News the “Pimp My Lift” store was launched after overwhelming interest in the brand by non-forklift operators.
Wilson says Masterlift gave its staff T-shirts bearing Masterlift forklifts’ controversial “Pimp My Lift” tagline to celebrate the launch.
“No sooner had we done that, many came back to ask for another because their teenage son or daughter had taken the shirt and was not giving it back.”
Requests for the T-shirts also came from customers, suppliers, friends and models involved in the campaign.
So, Wilson and his marketing team - including marketing manager Brian Brett, new business development manager Maria Ciric and Dave Kutschenreiter of Effective Media Solutions - designed a range of clothing to promote the forklift brand.
The ad campaign has been so successful that the Masterlift website and “Pimp My Lift” branding have attracted female interest in a male-dominated industry. Wilson says over 30% who log onto the website are women.
“It is interesting to note that our online store has more merchandise for women,” Wilson says, adding that the “forklift couture” sweatpants were designed by Masterlift’s female sales representatives.
Each day, the Masterlift website receives more than 500 first-time hits compared with five to 10 before the campaign. Wilson has been interviewed by trade magazines in Dubai and the Netherlands and received franchise requests from US and Australia.
“It has cemented our culture at Masterlift. Our employees are enthusiastic and supportive of a marketing plan they can be proud of and (shows them off) as special and unique.”
While doors have been opening for Masterlift’s sales representatives, the use of the word “pimp” in marketing forklifts has not been without criticism.
“We anticipated as much as 10% to 15% criticism but felt the message was important enough to accept that as a cost - even bad press was press. I can tell you though that as I have had many interviews on TV, radio, newspaper and countless magazines and been given feedback from young, old, male and female, all over the world, I have heard from a total of two persons (third-hand) who thought it was inappropriate on some level. This to me speaks volumes to the chord that we’ve struck.”
Pimp as a verb in its contemporary form means “to accessorise or to make cool or fancy”. And that is what Masterlift did with the 20th forklift it sold since the campaign’s inception. Canadian classic car parts manufacturer Golden Leaf Automotive’s forklift was “pimped out” with chrome wheels and painted yellow and black to match the colour scheme on the company’s showcase ‘70 Chevelle.
Wilson is discreet about the Asian manufacturer that produces its forklifts but reveals it is one of the largest in China and in the top 20 ranking of world forklift manufacturers.
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Deutz streamlines UK operations
CANNOCK, United Kingdom
Engine-maker Deutz AG of Cologne-Porz, Germany, has consolidated its UK operations at Cannock, Staffordshire.
The move of Deutz's UK headquarters to Cannock from London in early 2006 saw the relocation of its sales, marketing and product support facilities. This year, Deutz completed the relocation, transferring its service support centre from Newbury, Berkshire.
Deutz UK managing director Klaus-Ulrich Klinger says the new headquarters and Deutz’s national network of service engineers will help the company streamline its UK business operations.
The Cannock office now houses all engine sales, service, parts, workshop, service exchange, help desk, administration, product support and marketing resources.
Deutz UK’s service support and sales contact number (+44 8700 102 410) has been maintained for customer convenience.
Deutz has a 140-year-plus history of making engines, selling 237,293 engines in 2006- an increase of 21% over the previous year. It makes 4kW to 4,000kW diesel and gas engines used in forklifts, tractors, excavators, wheel loaders, ride-on mowers and other equipment.
In May, Deutz announced the production of its one millionth 2011 Series diesel engine. The engine, first introduced as the 1011 engine, is used in more than 200 different types of industrial equipment worldwide.
A Deutz spokesperson says materials handling is an important market for the company which boasts “some well-established ‘blue chip’ customers in the sector, like Linde”.
Linde Material Handling GmbH’s new CEO, Gordon Riske, is the outgoing chairman of Deutz AG’s management board (Forkliftaction.com News #310).
Thorworld ramps up exports, reverses trend
CHESTERFIELD, United Kingdom
UK logistics equipment supplier Thorworld Industries Ltd is reversing the trend for yard ramps to be imported into the UK from low-wage economies by attracting more export business.
Managing director John Meale says Thorworld has a long history of exporting ramps to Western Europe, but its global market is now expanding.
“It’s satisfying to know that despite increasing numbers of what are sometimes poorly built, cheap, foreign imports coming into the country from low-wage economies, our top-quality ramps are experiencing increasing demand.”
He says all Thorworld’s ramps are CE-marked, meeting appropriate EU quality and safety standards.
Yard ramps are used to enable the loading and unloading of vehicles and trailers by forklifts when no loading dock is present.
Thorworld has delivered two seven-tonne and one 10-tonne ramps to new customers in Hungary, Lithuania and Poland. A first-time export sale to Thailand, a seven-tonne ramp, was delivered to a Bangkok-based company.
Meale attributes the growth to customers looking to streamline and improve their logistics operations.
“While some of the imported ramps (from Eastern Europe and Asia) might be cheaper than higher quality products, there have been incidents of product malfunction and failure with the imported products.
“The loading bay area is a critical link in the production and distribution chain. If the loading system fails or is out of action for a period of time, goods cannot be dispatched or received.”
Thorworld’s yard ramps are available in 7,000kg, 10,000kg, 12,000kg or 15,000 kg capacities. They come with a built-in tow bar and can be easily moved by a forklift.
Meale, who established Thorworld in 1981, is past chairman of the Association of Loading & Elevating Equipment Manufacturers. He is now a board member of the Federation Européenne de la Manutention (FEM), the European Federation of Materials Handling and also president of its Elevating and Loading Equipment Product Group.
TMHU answers demand with new product
IRVINE, CA, United States
Toyota Material Handling USA Inc (TMHU) has introduced electric and diesel tow tractors to meet demand in the airline, automotive assembly plants and general warehousing industries.
TMHU says the electric tow tractors, available in 3,300lb (1496.9kg) and 4,400lb (1995.8kg) drawbar pull capacities, are increasingly popular for ground support equipment operations where air quality and government fleet average requirements are factors.
The diesel tow tractors, with 4,400lb (1995.8kg) and 5,500lb (2494.8kg) drawbar pull capacities, are tailored for baggage handling and materials handling in high-cycle operations.
TMHU president Shankar Basu says the product line has been introduced to meet demand for a high-quality product that provides “extremely low costs of operation”.
“The Toyota tow tractors are built with industrial use in mind, using many components that have been proven in our forklifts during our 40 years of operation in the U.S.”
TMHU will display the tow tractors at the Aviation Industry Expo held on March 18-20, 2008, at the Dallas Convention Centre in Texas.
Teletruks help the flow for Danone
COVENTRY, United Kingdom
Two JCB Teletruks are keeping the water flowing for Danone, the world’s largest supplier of the bottled stuff.
Third-party logistics company DHL Logistics Group is using the forklifts at the railhead at the 310,000 square feet (28,799.9 square metre) National Distribution Centre in Coventry it operates for Danone.
Thanks to their long reach, the Teletruks take less than an hour to offload each rail wagon, enabling DHL to complete an entire train of almost 1,000 pallets in 16 hours.
Nick Tretis, general manager at DHL Logistics Group, says the telescopic boom allows the Teletruk to stand on the platform and reach pallets in the second row at the back of the wagon, allowing workers to offload from one side of the wagon only.
The distribution facility opened in January this year and holds some 38,000 pallets of mineral water of Danone Group’s UK leading brands - Evian and Volvic.
The railhead allows stock to be shipped directly by train from Danone’s production centre in France, helping reduce road freight.
Activity at the centre has picked up in the European summer, with deliveries rising from three a week in the off-season to daily services until August.
DHL uses the two LPG-powered model TLT 30G Teletruks to offload shrink-wrapped cube pallets, each weighing between 1 and 1.3 tonnes.
The wagons have been adapted specially for this application. There are two sets of double doors per wagon, each housing a section containing two rows of six pallets.
The JCB driver opens the wagon doors and scans the first face of pallets using a radio data terminal, which transmits back to the Warehouse Management System that product has been received. Pallets are then offloaded to a working area on the loading bay.
Once the front row is offloaded, the operation continues onto the rear row, where the Teletruk’s reach comes to the fore.
With a maximum lift capacity of three tonnes, the JCB 30G TLT has a 1.5 tonne lift capacity at a two-metre forward reach.
Once a section has been offloaded, the FLT operator closes the doors and moves to the next section of the train.
From the platform loading bay, the pallets are collected by conventional counterbalance forklifts which take them to POD stations in the warehouse from where they are placed into racking.
DHL have been using JCB Teletruks for the last six years at a number of sites.
Burglars poke fun at police
VAN BUREN, AR, United States
Burglars who used a forklift to steal a safe from a Van Buren bank made off with all its contents - except for a couple of dollars.
The safe, which was found by a passer-by last Saturday, had been emptied of USD113,000 in cash and traveller’s cheques, The Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports.
But USD2 was found in one of the cash drawers.
Detective Keith Lindley said: “We feel like that was a statement to mock us”.
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Diving back into the hire industry
A year after buying New Zealand-based Hirepool for A$139 million, private equity firm Next Capital has re-entered the industry with its partial acquisition this month of two Australian equipment hire companies.
The move which sees On Site Industrial Rentals and On Site Rentals become wholly owned by a newly formed On Site Group, valued at A$109 million, should benefit customers with its larger branch network and product range.
Together, its materials handling equipment in stock is valued at well over A$5 million and there are plans for substantial growth in the fleet in the future. It also has a large fleet of Genie/Terex rough terrain tele-handlers. Its Toyota forklift fleet is mainly hired to construction and industrial companies on short-term leases.
The On Site Group, through Next Capital which specialises in providing capital for later-stage expansion and small- to mid-market buyouts, intends to acquire other specialist companies and open additional greenfield businesses to enable it to expand even faster.
On Site Industrial Rentals currently has branches in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Perth, Kalgoorlie and Bunbury, while On Site Rentals has branches in Sydney, Newcastle, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Townsville, Perth and Karatha.
According to On Site Industrial Rentals MD, Trevor James, both companies will continue to operate as before.
“We believe that the specialisation and expertise developed within each company is the main contributor to our market leadership within our respective range of products. However, there will be group synergies within management, systems, purchasing and common site locations,” he tells Forkliftaction.com News.
On Site Industrial Rentals, which trades nationally as Onsite Access and Scaffolds, has the sole distributorship for sales and service of Genie/Terex tele-handlers for NSW and WA. This business is managed nationally by a separate retail division within On Site Industrial Rentals and promotes materials handling products to the market on a rent or buy basis.
The new SUMI VIPER Walkie Reach Truck proves to be a great success!
Released by Australian manufacturer OSKO Forklifts, the SUMI VIPER comes in capacities of 1500 and 2000 kilograms and boasts a world first by combining power steering and “VTC” hydraulic actuation.
“VTC” hydraulics (Variable Total Control) provides infinitely variable control of all functions of the unit. An operator can now precisely control the functions lift, tilt, reach and side shift. This leads to a safer operation of the unit and reduces the incidence of damage to stock.
OSKO is part of the TASK Forklift operation which celebrates its 25th anniversary of Manufacturing in Australia.
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To find our contact details, visit the Task ShopFront.
Fair trading amidst foul weather
AUCKLAND, New Zealand
Last week’s MHL 2007 show held for the first time in Auckland, New Zealand, in conjunction with the ISN Safety Show, attracted over 2,700 visitors despite extremely bad weather.
Organisers Hayley Media say they are ecstatic with the response to the show, which will be held again in 2009. According to sales manager Regan Matthews, “early indications are that our exhibitors were pleased with the quality of visitors attending, and I’m sure it would have been busier if we hadn’t had a freak storm.”
Around 68 MHL exhibitors took part alongside approximately 100 safety exhibitors.
Sales manager for the safety show, John Clarke says although other safety shows have been held before in New Zealand, this year’s show was three to four times bigger and it was a good move to host the show alongside the MHL show as they were complementary to each other.
Not everyone felt the addition of the Safety Show alongside MHL was beneficial. Louise O’ Neill of RT Equipment, distributors of materials handling equipment and forklift attachments, says the safety show detracted from the materials handling and diluted the quality of visitors.
She tells Forkliftaction.com News that future participation by RT Equipment would depend on whether the MHL show was big enough to stand alone next time.
She believes that while her company did not get any sales leads at the show, it was a good way to get in touch with their existing dealers and create more awareness of the company.
Service manager Scott Ward of Power Forklifts, who exhibited at the show, says the show was excellent and the company generated good sales leads as a result. “Considering it was the first time it has been run, I feel it did pretty well and we’ll definitely be interested in participating again next time.”
For Australian-based Burt Beaumont of Fibre King, the show was the company’s first major introduction to New Zealand of its laser guided vehicles, Elettric 80, and it produced extremely good sales leads.
Another exhibitor, George Lane, sales manager of Haden & Custance, manufacturer and supplier of materials handling equipment such as robotic palletizing and automatic forklifts, says he would have preferred a bigger show, but nonetheless established good contacts there.
One of the highlights of the show was an interactive warehouse in the form of a demonstration theatre, the first of its kind in New Zealand, featuring warehousing innovations at work.
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Fork-arm design and manufacture, encompassing over 40 years experience
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Vulkoprin introduces completely NEW WHEEL CATALOGUE!
Since 1964, Vulkoprin has been manufacturing, in Belgium, polyurethane elastomere Vulkollan® under Bayer license and is especially known for its high quality wheels, castors, rollers, tyres and technical parts. Today Vulkoprin is one of Europe's leading manufacturers in the "wheel industry" and is exporting to more than 50 countries worldwide.
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2000 kg VIPER easy to tame with one hand - Now With Power Steering
OSKO Forklifts have announced the release of their VIPER new SUMI Walkie Reach Truck. Available in capacities of 1500 and 2000 kilograms these units boast a world first by combining power steering and “VTC” hydraulic actuation.
Click here for more information on this product, including pictures.
Rejuvenation Kits for electric forklift batteries.
From the day a battery is made performance decline begins. Sulphate crystals gradually accumulate and cover battery plates resulting in lost capacity, cell distortion, short circuits and eventually cell failure from sulphate "suffocation" or related sulphate induced plate damage. The unique ENERGYTECH DUO-REGEN® process combines highly specialized additives and state of the art microelectronic PWM pulse technology as an electro-chemical sulfate reversion system. This technology dissolves sulfate crystals, cleans and re-energizes battery plates, restores electrolyte strength & recovers lost battery capacity.
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BITA supports children’s charity
SUNNINGHILL, United Kingdom
British Industrial Truck Association members have supported The Sick Children's Trust for the second consecutive year with funds raised from a charity raffle at BITA's summer ball in Stratford-upon-Avon.
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Dave Hoover: Treat others as you would have them treat you
NEWARK, OH, United States
If you have not heard of the “Golden Rule”, then you are one of the few. Many times when I was growing up, my parents would ask me if I was treating others in the same way I would like to be treated. That has always stuck with me and I use it with my kids today. It determines how I treat my customers and friends as well. You can’t really go wrong with it, unless your expectations are not very high.
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Ian Magee, Portstar Forklifts
New Zealand's Ian Magee warns against companies which supply equipment on leases but don’t have the manpower to service it.
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