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Mjölby, Sweden, 2011/11/02 - Committed to a safer work environment, TMHE was the first in Europe to develop the modern, lightweight hand pallet trucks and among the first to use automated forklift truck technology, which aims to limit environmental impact.
Toyota Material Handling Europe (TMHE) has a history rich in milestones in truck design and technical innovation. These include the BT forklift flip-down driver platform, AC power in reach trucks, 360º steering, and clear view mast designs. TMHE were also the first company in Europe to develop and manufacture the modern, lightweight hand pallet truck, and among the first to work with automation in warehouse trucks.
As Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Planning, Jonas Tornerefelt has the task of managing the direction for TMHE when it comes to future business strategies and product development. He explains how TMHE’s new forklift products address current trends in the material handling industry.
“We have always maintained a clear focus on innovation, both as separate Toyota and BT organisations and now as Toyota Material Handling. The clear trends in today’s market include an increased focus on order picking, high-density storage and automation. We are working closely with our customers as we bring new products and solutions to market that address these trends and help our customers to drive down costs.”
Today’s trends and TMHE’s answers - “Of course,” continues Jonas Tornerefelt,“the market never stands still, and neither do we. This year we will launch new products that address evolving needs in high-density storage, order picking and automation. TMHE’s new BT Vector very narrow aisle (VNA) forklift trucks are designed to maximise space utilisation and be cost-effective, whilst the BT Radioshuttle system combines semi-automated pallet retrieval with aisle-free storage to help companies utilise space effectively and reduce storage costs.”
The dramatic growth in online shopping has made order picking more important than ever, and TMHE’s all-new BT Optio high-level and low-level order picker range is designed to support optimal order picking efficiency. TMHE will also roll out their BT automated order picking solution, which has demonstrated major cost reductions and improvements in efficiency by linking automated BT machines with warehouse and order assembly management systems.
But TMHE are not stopping there. They see this type of integrated solution gaining ground in the coming years with simple modification of their warehouse trucks allowing them to work automatically. A new Logistic Solutions & Development team is set to manage all key areas of rapid advancement and development.
Global vision, local service and solutions
Although these new products are designed specifically for Europe, the worldwide presence and power of the Toyota Material Handling Group plays an important role in how TMHE understand and address market trends and customer needs. As a global leader, the Toyota Material Handling Group (toyota-forklifts.eu) develops technologies and products for use around the world, and within this framework TMHE have the freedom and flexibility to develop the right products and services for European market requirements. TMHE also have long-standing expertise in modifying specific products in line with individual customer needs.
“Of course,” explains Jonas Tornerefelt,“we design our products for top quality and maximised uptime, but we also put the highest possible focus on our after-sales service. Our extensive service network helps our customers get the most value from their material handling investment. Our TMHE service engineers are the face of our company, and their interaction with customers helps us make continuous improvements to our products.”
Planning for a sustainable future
The focus on sustainability is another trend that helps drive TMHE’s business and product planning. They believe sustainability is about striking a balance between supporting economic growth, protecting the environment, and maintaining safe, healthy workplaces. Their aim is to limit environmental impact–in development, manufacturing, operation, and product recycling – whilst helping their customers to increase efficiency and reduce waste.
As TMHE look to the future, it’s clear that new drive technologies and energy sources will support sustainable business development and drive down costs. At CeMAT 2011, TMHE showed how the Toyota Group is globally addressing new energy sources in line with the needs of different regional markets. Drive technologies are also changing at conventional levels – in Europe, TMHE’s new heavy-duty Toyota Traigo HT model allows an electric CB truck to do work often reserved for engine trucks.
But TMHE do not just focus on the high-tech end of the business, and have worked with major retailers to develop low profile hand pallet trucks that save space, cost, and resources in global container shipping.
“This is an excellent example of how we see our role.” Jonas Tornerefelt concludes,“We work closely with customers to understand, and respond to, their needs – new product development, new system development or new service development – with the ultimate ambition to drive down costs across their operations.”