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|Unfortunately, there’s more gloomy news this week, with poor financial results, staff cut-backs and reports of record low sales in some regions. As we’ve said before, much of this reporting is historic and refers to previous quarters, so it’s no reflection of current conditions. And indeed, if the major stock markets are any indication, it looks like many regions have bottomed out and are starting to recover. Of course, there are questions about whether conditions will ever return to the credit-fueled highs of the recent past. But no doubt everyone has learned from some of the previous excesses and we’ll be seeing a far more considered approach to business in future.|
|Cascade, Raymond cut workforces |
Fairview, OR, United States
|Cascade Corp and Raymond Corp have trimmed operations in the face of the economic slowdown and uncertainty.|
Cascade says it reduced its workforce by 20%, cut executive team salaries and board of director fees by 10% and instituted pay and hiring freezes.
In addition, Cascade has reduced work schedules, imposed limited-time plant shutdowns and applied spending controls to lower production and administrative costs and capital expenditures.
As of 31 March, Cascade had 2,000 employees worldwide, according to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
For the fourth quarter ended 31 January, Cascade reported a loss of USD30.5 million on sales of USD95.1 million versus profit of USD8.8 million on sales of USD136.2 million for the previous year’s comparable quarter. Using industry statistics, Cascade says February 2009 orders for forklifts dropped 53% in North America, 65% in Europe, 58% in the Asia Pacific and 2% in China. Cascade noted that forklift orders do not necessarily correlate directly with demand for Cascade’s product lines.
Full-year profit declined 98%, and sales dropped 4%. For the fiscal year ended 31 January, Cascade had profit of USD1.3 million on sales of USD534.2 million versus the previous year’s profit of USD60.1 million on sales of USD558.1 million.
Publicly traded Fairview-based Cascade designs, manufactures and markets materials handling load-engagement attachments, forks, other equipment and related technologies for the forklift and construction industries. For forklift operators, the Cascade devices can engage, lift, reposition, carry and deposit loads and products.
Other North American manufacturing occurs in Springfield, Ohio; Warner Robins, Georgia; Findlay, Ohio; and Mississauga and Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Cascade has European headquarters and manufacturing in Almere, the Netherlands; other European production in Germany, England, France and Italy; and six Asia Pacific manufacturing locations in China, Australia and South Korea.
Meanwhile, Raymond says it reduced its North American workforce by about 10% recently. The number of layoffs was not disclosed.
The electric forklift manufacturer has production and other operations at its headquarters Greene, New York facility and other sites in East Syracuse, New York; Muscatine, Iowa; and Brantford, Ontario, Canada.
In December, Raymond opted to put employees on three- and four-day work weeks rather than go the layoff route at that time.
Raymond began participating in a State of New York shared-work program under which some employees receive partial payment of unemployment insurance benefits to help make up for lost wages from fewer work hours.
Raymond is a business of Toyota Industries Corp of Kariya, Japan.
|BITA: UK forklift orders fall |
Sunninghill, United Kingdom
|UK forklift orders dropped by 14.5% in 2008, with just over 26,500 new forklift orders placed with British Industrial Truck Association (BITA) members.|
This is the lowest quantity since 2001.
The number of new forklifts ordered in the fourth quarter, just over 4,700 units, was the lowest quarterly total since the final quarter of 1993, which was the last major market recession.
According to BITA figures, the global financial crisis only started to affect forklift sales in the third quarter of 2008. About 8,000 orders were placed in the first quarter, 7,500 orders in the second quarter and 6,000 orders in the third quarter followed by a slump to 4,700 for the last quarter.
The figures contrasted with 2007, which was the fourth consecutive year in which over 30,000 forklifts were ordered from UK suppliers.
BITA secretary general James Clark says the latest statistics are disappointing.
“These figures reflect an overall slowdown across the UK and global economies. As one might expect, the forklift market mirrors key industries like manufacturing and sales. Early figures for 2009 do show a continued fall in order levels and it is difficult to predict how quickly the UK forklift market will recover,” he says.
However, he adds that the UK forklift industry is resilient and made up of stalwarts who have been in the field for a long time. “Their experience and knowledge will undoubtedly help companies weather the storm,” Clark says.
In the final quarter of 2008, reach truck orders fell 20.1%, order for low-level order pickers fell by 16.9% and powered pallet truck orders fell by 11.5%. Overall orders for warehouse trucks fell by 16.1%.
Engine counterbalanced truck orders fell 13.5% and electric counterbalanced truck orders fell 11.2%. Overall orders for counterbalanced trucks fell 12.7%.
UK forklift orders and deliveries are reported monthly by BITA’s Truck Suppliers’ Group (TSG) members, using exclusive and secure computer software. Aggregated monthly and year-to-date figures are available to contributing TSG members. BITA’s Components & Services Group members also receive a monthly statistical overview and can purchase more detailed information.
|Manitou affected by economic downturn|
|Manitou’s 2008 results have been negatively affected by the business downturn in the second half of 2008 and its recent acquisition of US company Gehl for EUR235 million (USD311 million).|
Its net sales for 2008, which included Gehl from 1 November 2008, totaled EUR1.278 billion (USD1.693 billion), an increase of 1.4%. Gehl’s contribution to sales over two months was EUR20 million (USD26.5 million), which partly offset the EUR24 million (USD31.7 million) negative impact of exchange rate fluctuations.
In the fourth quarter, the sharp downturn in business negatively impacted sales which recorded a 6.6% growth at the end of September.
Manitou attributes its “stable level of sales” to marketshare gain globally in 2008, the group’s “solid business model” and its position in the rough-terrain materials handling sector.
Operating profit before goodwill impairment totaled EUR97 million (USD128.6 million), a gross margin of 7.6%. For the first half of 2008, the group achieved a 10.5% margin with EUR76 million (USD100.8 million) operating profit, in line with the 2007 level. Business conditions and the Gehl acquisition affected the operating margin for the second half of the year.
The group’s net profit for 2008 was EUR4 million (USD5.3 million) after EUR52 million (USD68.9 million) in goodwill impairment related to Gehl. Net profit before goodwill impairment decreased by 35.2% to EUR56 million (USD74.3 million) in 2008, corresponding to EUR1.47 (USD1.95) in earnings per share compared to EUR2.28 (USD3.02) the previous year.
In its outlook for 2009, Manitou predicts a drop in consolidated sales, including Gehl, which could slump by 40% and result in an operating loss.
Manitou’s strategy for weathering the crisis involves a EUR20 million (USD26.5 million) plan, which will improve cash-flow generation and reduce net debt by about EUR150 million (USD198.9 million) by the end of 2009. The plan is based on a significant lowering of the breakeven point achieved through adapting operating costs and general overheads and by reducing staff numbers.
Around 650 jobs out of a 3,300-strong workforce were cut at the end of 2008.
Manitou says it has mobilised a significant portion of its credit lines to substantially increase cash flow and avoid the risk of insufficient liquidity in the medium term.
The group adds that it is pursuing discussions with its banking partners in the US and Europe to secure the financing of Gehl due to the negative impact of the financial crisis on its financial statements for the year ended 31 December 2008.
|No minimum bids on lifting equipment|
|It’s a great time to be buying equipment – and there’s no better place to buy than an unreserved Ritchie Bros. auction. On May 20, Ritchie Bros. will sell a huge selection of high quality lifting equipment from NES Rentals at an unreserved public auction in Detroit, Michigan. Hundreds of forklifts, electric forklifts, scissorlifts, boom lifts and cranes will be sold with no minimum bids or reserve prices on auction day. See equipment photos and details at www.rbauction.com and then register to bid in person or in real time over the internet.|
|Abu Dhabi company aims to be forklift leader by 2020 |
Halifax, United Kingdom
|Abu Dhabi-based Shaw Handling wants to compete with Kalmar, Hyster and Linde in the medium to heavy forklift market and will launch a “revolutionary” forklift range in the second or third quarter of this year.|
The new company’s forklift range consists of lift capacities from 5,000-18,000kg (11,023lb-39,683lb) and has Daimler-Chrysler engines and transmissions from Poclain Hydraulics.
Shaw claims the engine-powered counterbalanced forklifts “completely overturn conventional design parameters with its novel concept to provide productivity, comfort and economy”.
David O’Callaghan, Shaw’s chairman and founder, says competitors’ basic designs have not changed since Clark first designed a forklift in 1917.
“The basic design is a mast, chassis with paneled oil and fuel tanks and ballast weight. The chassis and paneled tanks have one fault – they hamper the access to the engine and transmission components. As the engine is in a high position, the centre of gravity is higher and more ballast is needed for stability.”
Shaw’s iLift forklifts are different because they are designed using modular construction and have less ballast and a lower centre of gravity. The forklifts also have a hydrostatic transmission instead of a torque converter. Linde is currently the only manufacturer producing forklifts of 10,000kg (22,046lb) and over with hydrostatic transmission.
The iLift range has a kit-form design incorporating seven units – low centre of gravity ballast weight, clear view duplex mast, driver’s cab, a power pack, rear axle, front wheel motors and a chassis.
According to O’Callaghan, the ballast weight and chassis require no maintenance or replacement. If any of the other five units is faulty, it can be temporarily replaced while the faulty unit is brought to the factory for repairs. He explains that the hydrostatic design enables a rapid and easy changeover of units, not offered by conventional manufacturers.
“Unlike conventional transmissions, the Shaw hydrostatic drive has no multiple clutch pack, no mechanical differentia, no reverse gears, no gear selection lever and none of the wear and maintenance associated with these components, and is virtually maintenance-free,” O’Callaghan claims.
The company plans to be a top five heavy materials handling equipment manufacturer in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, selling 352 units per year, in five years’ timeIt will also expand its range by adding 20,000-32,000kg (44,092-70,548lb) capacity forklifts and an empty and laden container handling forklift range. All products will be based on the modular construction platform and have hydrostatic transmission.
Shaw has a manufacturing base at Abu Dhabi’s 12 sqkm (2,965 acre) 1CAD111 industrial zone and a research and development centre in the UK.
“As heavy materials handling in the Middle East continues to expand, Abu Dhabi will emerge as a worldwide heavy materials handling hub with one of the world’s largest ports nearby in Dubai.” O’Callaghan says. Shaw can ship units globally via Taweelah Port and Jabel Ali Port in Dubai.
Shaw is currently building a new 40,000 sqm (430,556 sqft) plant and a 20,000 sqm (215,278 sqft) training academy in Abu Dhabi that will be completed at the end of 2009.
By 2020, Shaw aims to employ over 450 people and sell over 2,000 units. Its 40,000sqm (430,556sqft) factory is also expected to double in size then.
O’Callaghan says: “The main aim of the company is to become the world’s largest heavy forklift manufacturer by 2020.”
To succeed, O’Callaghan aims to position Shaw as a leader in the market for its technology, innovation and comprehensive service; commit to operational excellence;, be highly profitable; follow a clear strategy with long-term growth benefits; and attract, develop and retain talented employees.
O’Callaghan adds that Shaw is talking to a top 20 forklift manufacturer on a possible joint venture but cannot comment further.
UK-born David O’Callaghan, 44, started in the asset rental side of the forklift industry in 1996 when his employer invested in a forklift deal. He wanted to start Shaw in late 2005 but family commitments became an obstacle.
“I have always kept an eye on the industry through my involvement in asset rentals so I was up to speed on the market and could see this opportunity,” he says.
|Alta Lift Truck buys Detroit Forklift |
Detroit, MI, United States
|Alta Lift Truck Services Inc has acquired the assets of Detroit Forklift. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.|
Steven Greenawalt, Alta Lift Truck president and owner, says the acquisition will give his company a greater service capacity in south eastern Michigan.
“Alta’s continued growth has been supported by our loyal customers and associates and we’re excited to welcome Detroit Forklift’s associates and diverse customer base to solidify our leading position as a materials handling equipment and services supplier in Metro Detroit,” he adds.
Detroit Forklift was established in 1984 and, according to Alta Lift Truck, has a reputation in the Metro Detroit area for its dedication to customers and thorough, educated, service staff.
Under the agreement, Alta will retain many of their employees and assets.
Alta Lift Truck was founded by Greenawalt in 1984 and has nine Michigan locations including branches in Romulus, Sterling Heights, Wixom and Saginaw. Besides providing new, used and rental forklifts to Michigan, Alta also distributes and services tuggers, walkie trucks, personnel carriers, trailers, racking systems and other warehouse solutions.
The company last year received a “Dealer of Excellence” award - its eighth - from Yale Material Handling.
|Fuel cell technology makes headway |
Columbia, SC, United States
|LiftOne, Air Products & Chemicals Inc and Linde North America were among those touting fuel cell technologies at an industry gathering.|
Approximately 2,000 public visitors and more than 700 registrants attended the National Hydrogen Association (NHA) conference and hydrogen exposition at the beginning of April in Columbia. That attendance is significantly higher than prior NHA events.
Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina in Columbia, says: “While large-scale availability of hydrogen-fueled cars is probably years down the road, hydrogen fuel cells already are in use―in forklifts and as back-up energy sources for cell phone towers, for example―and their commercial presence is expected to grow dramatically.”
The spirit at the NHA event surprised LiftOne general manager Bill Ryan and sales manager Troy Garrison. “Troy and I were overwhelmed” with the reception for the green initiative from customers and manufacturers, Ryan reports. “A number of people remarked that this is ‘cool’.”
At the NHA event, Ryan presented a business case for fuel cells in battery-intensive applications.
“Fuel cells run longer (and) cooler than batteries and eliminate battery change-outs,” Ryan notes. “Fuel cells run on an operating cost-per-hour basis at 90% of lead-acid batteries” and “fuel cells run on renewable hydrogen and emit zero exhaust―save a little moisture.”
Ryan says hydrogen suppliers include Praxair Inc of Danbury, Connecticut; the gases division of Munich, Germany-based Linde AG; Air Products & Chemicals of Allentown, Pennsylvania; and the Shell Hydrogen unit of Royal Dutch Shell plc.
The US Department of Energy (DOE) has provided LiftOne with an USD800,000 grant to demonstrate hydrogen fuel cell technology to groups at businesses, community colleges, service organizations and other on-site classes. Tom Dever, LiftOne fuel cell product specialist, will present “hydrogen 101” seminars on three days per month over three years.
Also under the DOE program, LiftOne is deploying two forklifts with Hydrogenics Corp fuel cells and Air Products mobile dispensing systems to each of six LiftOne customers, initially in mid-May.
Two years ago, nobody had a clue about the potential for uses of hydrogen, Ryan recalls. The current environment feels a lot like the 1970s with garage bands and people building PCs with new capabilities. Now, fuel cell technology is emerging.
“We are proud that forklifts and material handling are playing a key role in the launch to build an infrastructure of alternative energies,” Ryan says. “It's the right thing to do, and it feels right!”
Charlotte, North Carolina-based LiftOne, a Carolina Tractor and Equipment division, represents the Caterpillar, Mitsubishi, Linde, Jungheinrich and Kalmar forklift brands and serves Virginia’s western regions and the states of North Carolina and South Carolina through eight locations.
Air Products is involved on several fronts, according to Tom Joseph, Air Products business development manager.
Air Products says its hydrogen fueling station technology became operational on 10 February in a pilot program at the US Defence Logistics Agency’s (DLA) Susquehanna distribution depot in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania and is now providing power for 40 hydrogen fuel cell powered forklifts in daily warehouse operations. Air Products is delivering liquid hydrogen to the site.
“The project is the first in a series of three research and development pilots of fuel cell and associated hydrogen fueling technologies within the defence distribution center,” says Leo Plonsky, research and development program manager for hydrogen fuel cell technologies with DLA. “Not only does this technology reduce DLA's dependence on imported oil, it reduces greenhouse gas emission that can contribute to climate change.”
Brian O’Neil, Air Products program manager for hydrogen energy systems, sees value in the project.
“The program at this location provides for a side-by-side comparison during routine operations of the traditional lead-acid battery technology and the advanced hydrogen fuel-cell technology. We believe the performance of the hydrogen-powered materials handling equipment will clearly demonstrate operational, economic and environmental benefits.”
Plug Power Inc of Latham, New York outfitted 20 new forklifts and the Deka Nuvera team retrofitted 20 existing forklifts. The team involves East Penn Manufacturing Company Inc of Lyon Station, Pennsylvania and Nuvera Fuel Cells Inc of Billerica, Massachusetts.
Next, a project at the defence depot at Warner Robins, Georgia is slated for a late summer start-up. Warner Robins should get 20 forklifts with fuel cells and have hydrogen reformed on site from natural gas.
Final negotiations are under way for a project at the US Army’s Fort Lewis in Pierce County, Washington. That effort calls for 19 new forklifts, generation of hydrogen, heat and power from waste digester methane-rich gas and a mobile refueler for dispersed activities.
Also on the horizon is a plan for the San Joaquin Valley defence depot in Tracy, California to replace 20 propane-powered forklifts and generate hydrogen onsite using solar energy for electrolysis. No award exists there yet.
On March 23, the Linde North America unit of Murray Hill, New Jersey introduced an ionic compressor, a compression system that provides a fast and efficient way to fuel hydrogen vehicles. The unit was on display during the NHA expo.
Linde says the ionic compressor has been used extensively in Europe for cars and buses and is now being introduced to North America for use on forklift trucks. Unlike conventional mechanical systems, the ionic compressor uses an ionic liquid in direct contact with hydrogen instead of a piston in the pressurizing process.
Michael McGowan, head of hydrogen solutions for Linde North America, says: “We’re well beyond hydrogen-powered vehicles being a scientific curiosity. The technology Linde has developed demonstrates that fueling these vehicles is a commercial reality. And, with increased emphasis on alternative fuels in the (US) stimulus bill, I think we’ll see commercialisation grow at a much faster pace over the next few years.”
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|Cargotec and Kalmar receive US orders |
|Cargotec has won its first commercial contract for a Cargotec Port Security (CPS) spreader-mounted radiation detection system from US-based Lockheed Martin.|
The CPS equipment bought by Lockheed Martin features a ship-to-shore crane spreader fitted with CPS technology to scan containers while the spreader is in transit. According to Cargotec, scanning while the container is moving will not compromise overall terminal productivity. The technology can be installed on crane spreaders, straddle carriers and other mobile equipment like marine vessels engaged in security operations.
The system is designed to meet US requirements for 100% inbound container scanning in all ports by 2012. It has been awarded Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technology designation by the US Department of Homeland Security after demonstrating 100% accuracy in a system evaluation.
Troy Thompson, CPS president, says Cargotec is “extremely pleased” to have achieved its first commercial order and is delighted to work with Lockheed Martin, “an outstanding leader in the field of homeland, infrastructure and maritime security”.
“In a very short time, terminals in the US and around the world are going to need container security solutions that comply with the US container security initiative but which do so without compromising port productivity.
“At a time when the global economy is undergoing significant strains, we need security solutions that do not add an extra security step in transhipment and intermodal operations. The system which we are supplying to Lockheed Martin has demonstrated proven performance at a very high scanning standard without slowing terminal operations,” Thompson says.
Lockheed Martin will use the scanning system to complete integration testing of the company’s Container Scanning System. The CPS system will be a part of the company’s integrated technology solutions portfolio and will be installed and tested at a US East Coast port in 2009.
Headquartered at Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is a global security company that employs about 146,000 people worldwide. It reported 2008 sales of USD42.7 billion.
Cargotec’s brands Hiab, Kalmar and MacGregor provide cargo handling solutions. The group’s 2008 sales totalled EUR3.4 billion (USD4.5 billion) and it employs about 12,000 people.
Meanwhile, Kalmar has won a contract to supply eight reach stackers and forklifts to Vestas Towers A/S’s new production facility in Pueblo, Colorado, US. Delivery is scheduled for this month.
Several machines will be customised with special attachments to lift Vestas’ wind turbine tower sections. Two machines, placed at each tower section’s end, will lift each section weighing up to 70 tonnes (154,324lbs) and up to 30 metre- (98.4 foot-) long and 4.5 metres (14.8 feet) in diameter.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S, headquartered in Denmark, has production facilities in over 12 countries and is a leading supplier of wind power solutions. It has installed over 38,000 wind turbines in over 60 countries. Its new Pueblo plant will be completed in the northern hemisphere autumn of 2009.
|Jungheinrich invests in staff, gains accreditation |
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
|Jungheinrich UK Ltd has been given Investor in People (IiP) accreditation at a 31 March ceremony at the company’s UK headquarters in Milton Keynes.|
IiP is a UK standard, defining best practice for all aspects of developing a company’s employees.
Gavin Kibble, Jungheinrich UK’s finance director, says that in 2006, following company restructuring programs, the company’s management recognised that the business lacked a cohesive and defined culture.
“We used the IiP programme as a vehicle for restoring our culture.
“At the heart of IiP is the performance development and appraisal system. This gives our staff regular opportunities to discuss their development with their line managers. Areas for training are identified against required competencies for the job they are performing,” he explains.
New training programmes, incentive schemes and individual reward and recognition schemes based on performance criteria established during the appraisal process have been introduced and internal communications improved with the launch of monthly magazines and regular team briefings.
Collaborating with Milton Keynes Chambers of Commerce and as part of the UK government’s Skills Pledge, Jungheinrich also introduced a range of courses to develop employees’ commercial awareness. Management courses were also established to ensure managers attain a standard managerial skill set.
“The appraisal system showed us there was an enormous demand for different types of training,” Kibble says. “For instance, several employees felt they needed a better understanding of finance. Finance was regarded with fear and misunderstanding by many, so we implemented a course which has demystified finance and made it accessible and understandable.”
Kibble adds that staff have responded well to the program. “The culture of the organisation is now one where we have confident, productive people.
“We can already see the effects that the IiP program has had in our company’s bottom-line result and we believe that investing in our people, especially through training, will create a world-class organization ready to take marketshare when the economy emerges from the current economic downturn,” he says.
|Slow economy prompts ITA to tighten belt |
Washington, DC, United States
|Acknowledging the economic downturn, the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) is pursuing “some extraordinary actions”, says ITA president Stan Simpson. |
Simpson addressed the ITA spring meeting in Washington on 1 April. He is president and chief executive officer of ITA member Kalmar RT Center LLC of Cibolo, Texas.
“While none of us can predict the future, we do know that the market has been off at least 50% since last December,” he said. “That’s the bad news. I think the good news is that it appears to have levelled off … which gives us a moment to evaluate what we should be doing as companies and, as importantly, an association. There is no way to sugarcoat the facts. This will undoubtedly be the worst year since 1991 and, while we may have reached the bottom, the recovery still seems to be several months away.”
Simpson and other executive committee members—Jeff Ruffener, Jim Moran, Brian Butler, Paul Laroia, Mike Lavelle and Jim Malvaso—cancelled the committee’s January meeting and handled the work electronically. They’ve also agreed to adjust and in some cases cancel spring meeting-related and other committee and subcommittee sessions and cancel ITA participation in the 2-6 May convention of the Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association in Palm Desert, California and the 24 April dinner-ball of the British Industrial Truck Association in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. “We will be sending written statements to both groups,” Simpson reports.
Further, ITA will participate electronically in—but not send anyone to—upcoming meetings of either the China Industrial Truck Association or Japan Industrial Vehicle Association.
In addition, “we cancelled the summer (general engineering committee) session, the statistician training session and the Canada committee meeting,” Simpson notes. “It’s not so much that these were expensive meetings from ITA’s viewpoint, but the concern was the cost to member companies who would need to pay travel expenses for their experts to attend those meetings.”
He gave an update about the Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation (ITSDF), which assumed management of the development process of Standard B 56 for industrial forklifts from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in April 2006.
“I am pleased to tell you that ITSDF has achieved its first goal of getting the standards into the hands of users, manufacturers, government officials, educators and training organizations,” Simpson reported. More than 28,000 copies of the standards have been downloaded in about two years (Forkliftaction.com News #402).
“What has not been quite so rewarding is the fact that we have had to count on ITA, MHIA and PERC for all ITSDF funding so far this year,” he noted. MHIA is the Material Handling Industry of America of Charlotte, North Carolina and PERC is the Propane Education & Research Council of Washington. Each group contributed USD5,000 recently.
ITSDF has “cut back to the bare necessities and examined ways to . . . maintain management of those areas of immediate concern to us”, Simpson says. “We may have to eliminate standards that aren’t of direct importance.”
ITSDF needs more income. “We’re going to talk with the (ITSDF) board about how we should pursue additional funding,” Simpson says. “While we still believe safety standards should be available without charge for any and all who want them, we’d like to see more financial support from others in the marketplace.”
Simpson applauded the four-year-old contractual alliance between ITA and the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). “Our alliance is emblematic of how business and government can cooperate on many issues and, in particular, helping on workplace safety,” he said. “Reducing accidents is good for all of us.” One ITA-OSHA seminar is scheduled although earlier 2009 plans called for three sessions.
Under board direction, the ITA staff is exploring ways to reduce attendee costs for the association’s annual meeting during the third fiscal quarter in Austin, Texas.
Input is being sought. “We aren’t really interested in cutting association services, but we are interested in having you evaluate whether you feel individual activities are affording you a return worth the investment to belong,” Simpson says. “Our belief is that they are, but every so often, in a time of economic uncertainty, you need to raise the question.”
Simpson reports that “ITA’s financial health is good”, with USD349,000 in the association’s reserve fund as of 31 December.
Washington-based ITA represents makers of forklift trucks and their suppliers doing business in the US, Canada or Mexico.
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|Konecranes receives Ivory Coast order |
|Konecranes will supply eight rubber-tyred gantry (RTG) container-handling cranes to Bolloré Africa Logistics, a branch of the French Bolloré Group. |
The RTGs will be delivered to the customer’s terminal, Société d’Exploitation du Terminal de Vridi (SETV), in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, starting in March 2010.
The RTGs are fully electric and hydraulic-free. They are equipped with Konecranes’ autosteering system with container positioning and an interface to the terminal operating system. With a lifting capacity of 40 tons and stacking one-over-five high and seven wide plus a truck lane, the machines have a crane management system to ensure safe operation.
According to Konecranes, Bolloré Africa Logistics is Africa’s first integrated logistics network and a leader in the stevedoring business. In 2008, Konecranes supplied eight identical RTGs to the same terminal.
Lionel Labarre, Bolloré Africa Logistics area manager, says Bolloré Africa has launched an investment program to offer Abidjan container terminal customers the best productivity.
“This program will increase the storage capacity at the terminal with 22,000 TEUs and will allow SETV to handle nearly 800,000 TEUs a year,” he explains.
The value of the order is confidential.
|Barloworld introduces comprehensive service program |
Worthing, United Kingdom
|Barloworld has launched a service program to meet the legislation requirements and operational needs of UK companies that own new or used forklifts.|
The program consists of two levels - Truckserve and Truckserve Plus - and includes scheduled maintenance programmes to minimise unforeseen repairs and unproductive downtime. Users select the package type according to operational needs and budget. Both are available for any make or type of forklift.
Truckserve is designed for forklifts that are used infrequently or in less intensive operations. It consists of a tailored service plan, annual brake inspection, truck condition report, tyre survey and 24-hour breakdown cover including same-day response.
Truckserve Plus is for more intensive operations where forklift use is critical to the business. In addition to the features in the standard Truckserve, it includes a maximum four-hour service response, annual thorough examinations to ensure companies meet their legal obligations under the UK’s LOLER regulations, a battery topping-up service and annual anti-freeze replacement. There is also a planned equipment performance review, driver training assessments and customers get discounts on short-term hire equipment to boost capacity during peak periods.
Barloworld Handling, the world’s largest independent forklift distributor, services the UK through its network of 1,100 support staff and 600 mobile engineers nationwide. As the UK’s exclusive Hyster equipment distributor since 1956, Barloworld maintains nearly 30,000 forklifts in the UK.
|NMHG cuts cycle time with IBM software |
Portland, OR, United States
|Nacco Materials Handling Group Inc (NMHG) has cut cycle time to retrieve documents to one day from 30 days using IBM software.|
“This was a significant change that enabled us to respond more quickly to user demands, gain control over our information and become more efficient with our business processes,” says Gidu Sriram, director of information technology applications with Portland-based NMHG.
NMHG is using content from four separate FileNet options to manage different functions and achieve an integrated environment, says Craig Rhinehart, director of IBM enterprise content management (ECM) product strategy in Leesburg, Virginia.
NMHG is using IBM FileNet content manager, content services, records crawler and IBM FileNet records manager.
Now, NMHG employees at multiple locations in 14 countries can retrieve and manage documents such as engineering drawings and legal contracts on their desktop computers.
Previously, managers kept manual copies of all documents and legal contracts in various locations. Often, an employee needed to spend hours searching for a specific document. Introduction of the software eliminated the manual work of preparing microfilm cards.
Sriram notes that NMHG managers are “constantly trying to reduce cycle times” and with the software, were “able to reduce ours from 30 days to implementation the very next day.”
Next, NMHG is adding regulatory compliance capabilities to the ECM system and will store finance reports and supporting records in a central repository.
IBM acquired FileNet Corp of Costa Mesa, California for USD1.6 billion in 2006 and has assimilated FileNet’s ECM and business process management solutions. NMHG was a FileNet customer prior to the IBM acquisition.
Rhinehart says the IBM acquisition added value for existing FileNet customers because of IBM’s scope and reach. Within the IBM world, “anything is a globalized product” with software available in the appropriate language of end users within a company, Rhinehart notes.
NMHG, a unit of publicly traded Nacco Industries Inc, designs, engineers and manufactures materials handling equipment under the Hyster, Yale and Sumitomo-Yale brands.
|Bolzoni Auramo is one of Sweden’s best companies|
|Bolzoni Auramo AB has been nominated by the Confederation of Swedish Enterprises as one of the 50 best companies in Sweden’s middle region.|
Companies were selected based on their financial results, business concept, growth rate and staff policies.
Ylva Petersson, Bolzoni Auramo AB manager, explains that quick response to market needs and strong relationships with customers are among the reasons for the company’s success in the present economic circumstances.
“We are not afraid of the future,” Petersson says. “The market is not dead. You can always find new business if you look.”
Bolzoni Auramo AB, the Swedish office of Italian forklift attachment manufacturer Bolzoni Auramo SpA also received the award in 2002 and 2003.
|New Products |
|OM Carrelli Elevatori has launched the XR reach truck that is manufactured in Italy.|
The reach truck is designed to optimise cargo handling on pallets in warehouses and distribution centres where speed and efficient movement are required. It is ideal for narrow-aisle operation and can travel far on smooth surfaces. It is being produced at OM’s factory in Luzzara, Italy.
JLG Industries has expanded its compact telehandler range with two new models – the JLG 619A and 723A – for landscaping, construction and agricultural applications.
The 619A offers about 6,000lb (2,722kg) of capacity at the maximum reach height of 19ft (5.8 metres) while the 723A provides about 7,000lb (3,175kg) capacity at a height of 23ft (7 metres). Both are equipped with all-wheel steering.
“The compact dimensions provide the maneuverability necessary for loading or unloading mulch, transporting hay bales or moving pallets on a crowded jobsite,” says Brian Boeckman, JLG product manager for telehandlers. He adds that the spacious cab with a comfortable suspension seat and tilt steering will optimise operator comfort and visibility.
The models complement the existing G5-18A, creating a JLG-branded line-up of three compact telehandlers and 11 construction models. JLG will discontinue the G5-19A and G6-23A telehandlers.
|New Manitou dealer in NSW|
South Granville, New South Wales, Australia
|Manitou Australia has signed a long-term distribution agreement with BT Equipment of South Granville to handle the sales and service of Manitou products in New South Wales with immediate effect. |
Products include telescopic handlers with capacities up to 21,000kg and lift heights to 30 metres; forklifts, including rough-terrain models; access equipment and truck-mounted forklifts.
Manitou Australia general manager Stuart Walker says BT Equipment has a wealth of experience. “With the support of Manitou Australia’s Sydney-based national head office and centre infrastructure, NSW customers are assured of the on-going support that they require, especially in the current climate.”
|GR George under the hammer |
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
|Some 200 registered bidders attended this week’s auction of the assets of newly liquidated transport company, GR George.|
According to auctioneer GraysOnline, there was a 98% clearance rate of assets, including 45 prime movers, 80 trailers and three forklifts.
GraysOnline marketing assistant Natalie Richards tells Forkliftaction.com News that all three forklifts were sold at the traditional auction for “prices that reached our expectations”.
The Brisbane-based company, which went into voluntary administration on 29 September 2008, was placed into liquidation on 26 February 2009.
Nathan Mills of corporate insolvency specialist SV Partners tells Forkliftaction.com News that GR George owes around AUD5 million, excluding amounts owed to employees and expected shortfalls to financiers after the sale of its equipment.
There are approximately 300 unsecured creditors.
The GR George Transport Group commenced business in 1990, transporting meat between Brisbane and Sydney, growing from a small transport business into a significant service provider in the refrigerated transport industry, servicing the distribution routes throughout the east coast of Australia as well as Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.
|Green forklift tyres softer on pocket |
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Typically, companies that put the environment ahead of profits expect to pay more for their choice.|
Now forklift manufacturers and suppliers have the option of choosing an industrial tyre that’s not only better for the environment – it costs less than its non-green counterpart.
Developed six months ago by Solideal, the Ecomatic E-traction tyre is a brand new product made from the recycled materials of premium Solideal tyres.
“Because Solideal tyres are made of high-quality materials, once the tread life has expired, the middle and base core are usually undamaged, maintaining performance levels. Through vigilant inspection, the best premium Solideal casings can be reused in the production of our recycled product,” explains Glen Wolfenden, business development manager for Bearcat Tyres, the Australian division of Solideal International.
He tells Forkliftaction.com News that the product is remanufactured using the recycled materials and is not simply retreaded or regrooved. “By reusing those carcasses, we are participating in protecting the environment by reducing the material (rubber, chemicals and steel), energy consumption and landfill.”
Not only is the recycled tyre around 15% to 25% cheaper than the premium product, it’s up to 10% cheaper than the company’s current budget product and outperforms it in terms of comfort, heat build up performance, fatigue resistance and lifespan.
“We are targeting businesses that operate big fleets with a variety of applications so for example, forklifts working in more arduous conditions would use our premium product, and for less demanding conditions could use the recycled product.
“It also provides both hire and fleet companies with competitive advantages when sourcing business, with the ability to quote not only price-wise but also offer an environmentally better package.”
With divisions in Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Western Australia, Bearcat Tyres is one of the largest suppliers of industrial tyres in Australia.
|Data analysis to improve forklift use |
Smithfield, New South Wales, Australia
|As materials handling becomes more data-driven, Crown Equipment has launched a new system that captures and applies data to give its customers a more comprehensive picture of their forklift fleet in real time.|
Crown Insite collects, integrates and analyses data, both inside and beyond the forklift, providing customers with increased knowledge about productivity and efficiency.
“Part of Crown’s traditional approach to business has been to partner with customers and, with new productivity tools we have developed, we are in a strong position to help them through these times,” says general manager, marketing, Craig Kenchington.
“By capturing materials handling data and other knowledge gained from (the system), we create an environment where fleet managers are able to analyse results and make better decisions that will improve their overall efficiency and bottom line.”
|Port moves into second trial phase |
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|The next phase of trialling new performance and penalty frameworks for stevedores and transport carriers at Port Botany will take place from 13 April.|
According to Sydney Ports executive general manager, industry relations, Lachlan Benson, the second trial is aimed at testing the draft performance framework for Port Botany’s road logistics chain, to and from the port.
“During trial two, preliminary penalty criteria will be applied to both road transporters and the stevedores when trial performance standards are not achieved. This will allow industry to understand and assess the notional impact of the type of penalties that may apply.
“A range of preliminary penalty criteria for poor performance have been presented to the Port Botany Road Taskforce for consideration and trialling, but no monetary calculations will be applied or shown during the trial.
“In addition, the preliminary criteria include a penalty for not offering an agreed minimum number of slots per hour and a penalty for not being able to locate a box within the terminal when a truck arrives.”
Penalty criteria that will be assessed for transport carriers include a late arrival penalty, no show fee and early arrival charge to help stem congestion at the port.
|Firms adopt wait-and-see approach |
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Business expectations remain pessimistic, according to the latest survey of economic performance by Dun & Bradstreet.|
The data reveals that executives expect profits, sales, capital investment and employment to deteriorate even further, despite the global and domestic stimulus packages announced.
In a further sign that businesses continue to have a downbeat outlook, expectations for inventory growth are at the lowest level since the 1991 recession, signalling that executives plan to cut back on existing stock and wait and see before replacing it.
Dun & Bradstreet CEO Christine Christian believes the most recent data is a sign that while executives are broadly supportive of government stimulus plans, they are yet to witness real benefits and don't expect to for several months.
“The government's stimulus packages are critical to providing support for business. However, the deteriorating outlook, particularly for employment, is a sign that no one expects the benefits to be realised immediately and that things are likely to get worse before they get better,” says Christian.
"The deteriorating outlook for inventories is a clear sign that executives are adopting a wait and see approach as they seek to tightly manage costs."
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|GOODSENSE shows New Innovation with 2-3.5t forklift ||ZHEJIANG GOODSENSE FORKLIFT CO., LTD, is the leading forklift manufacturer in China. We produce high-quality forklifts at favourable prices. The forklifts are sold in more than 50 countries around the world, and have built a strong reputation among customers.
Recently, with the effort of GOODSENSE’s technicians, we had developed an innovative new 2-3.5t forklift, with a built-in transmission and Korean PSD axle. These features offer our forklifts a distinct advantage over our competitors.|
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Editorial Calendar 2009
Rough Terrain forklifts
Safety products in MH
Forklift Market in Canada
Forklift Market in the United Kingdom
Fleet & Asset management
Narrow Aisle forklifts
Forklift batteries and power solutions
Forklift Market in India