Fresh from 50th anniversary celebrations for Toyota forklift sales in Australia, Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) is poised for even more exciting times as new technologies create greater efficiencies, cost-savings and improved operator safety.
With our 50th anniversary behind us, TMHA is looking to the future by adopting new technologies, seeking to expand our distribution network, opening further branches, and broadening our product range. Our aim is for our customers to benefit from our business as a ‘one-stop experience’.
In terms of future material-handling products, we are focused on technology. Particularly automation. The car industry shows us that this is the next ‘big thing’.
Being in the Toyota Group of companies, TMHA is part of a global automotive leader. Self-driving cars are now in prototype production and will soon enough be in everyday use. Internationally, we are already seeing self-driving Uber cars, and trial deliveries of fast food and parcels via drones.
For some time already, Toyota has been operating semi-autonomous forklifts that are intended to streamline functions such as order-picking to make such processes more cost-effective, and also safer. Reducing risks on the warehouse floor is another excellent reason to embrace this new technology.
Automation is an area that will continue to grow and applications will become broader as the technology becomes more sophisticated – particularly when it is coupled with the bourgeoning area of virtual reality.
Toyota’s massive ongoing investment in research and development means our material-handling technology and product technology is continually progressed and refined.
Advances such as lithium-ion batteries will see battery electric increasingly supplant internal combustion as the main fuel source for forklifts, with obvious benefits for both OH&S and the environment.
Logistics companies,are increasingly relying on their equipment suppliers to develop solutions for new high-density warehouses. This is an area where Toyota’s material handling engineers have access to the corporation’s automotive research and hence can take advantage of this ever-developing technology.
At this year’s CeMAT fair in Hannover, Germany, Toyota Material Handling Europe unveiled our all-new Traigo 80, a 6-8-tonne payload battery electric forklift. It is a heavy-duty counter-balanced forklift with 80-volt electrics and rivals an IC forklift for performance.
Advancements in telematics will also increasingly drive the material handling industry. Just four years ago, Toyota Material Handling Europe devised, patented and launched one of the world’s leading on-board forklift fleet management systems, Toyota ‘I-site’. This was developed to provide a real-time GPS wireless on-machine monitoring and management to reduce cost, increase productivity and improve health and safety outcomes.
When servicing major fleets, Toyota ‘I-site allows a performance comparison of identical forklifts – even on different sites or even different states – and suggests productivity solutions for individual forklifts, as well as the entire fleet.
At TMHA we continue to expand our offerings beyond our traditional core product base of forklifts, skid-steer loaders and towing tractors.
We have more recently introduced pallet racking, scissor lifts and lift platforms, and now arriving are our sweepers and scrubbers. All these products will be supported by branch network service centres and our far-reaching mobile service fleet.
We are also fostering the future through our apprentice intake program. This year we received a staggering 878 applications from throughout the country – a 75 percent increase on last year – and inducted a record 13 apprentice forklift technicians. This investment ensures a solid skills and support base for our customers in the future.
Having an ongoing team of highly skilled technicians for all Toyota material handling equipment is a key benefit for our customers, nationwide, and a cornerstone of the Toyota Advantage.
Without our resource investments and technological innovations combined, we can indeed look forward to the next 50 years of successful relationships with our customers.