A major grocery supplier has re-equipped its Acacia Ridge (Brisbane) distribution centre after negotiating a five-year agreement with Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) as the sole provider of reach trucks and gas-powered forklift trucks.
The SPAR Australia distribution centre has 12 new 1400kg payload BT RRE140 reach trucks and six new 1.8-tonne payload Toyota 8-FG18 forklift trucks.
SPAR reached the new agreement with TMHA (five years with provision for a two-year extension) in November 2010 and commissioned the full 18-unit fleet in May 2011.
SPAR's Queensland warehouse manager Jason Crane said the company took into account key factors in renewing its agreement with TMHA.
"We've received tremendous support over many years from Toyota Material Handling and that helped us chose Toyota product once again," he said.
"The two most important factors over the years have been the quality product TMHA provides and the excellent service support.
"We've developed an excellent relationship over many years with key personnel in Brisbane, including Bob Leck, the sales and rental manager, and Martin Gross, the major account manager.
"However, the equipment has to serve the purpose, and that begins with the quality and suitability of the units.
"We also took into account the feedback from our operators on comfort and ergonomic requirements.
"In addition, we considered environmental standards and specifically the emission performance of the LPG-fuel Toyota forklifts."
Jason Crane said TMHA also made a very competitive offer for rental forklifts and service.
"TMHA already had a demonstrated and proven sales and service back-up record with us, with quick response times and very minimal downtime of units," he said.
"The TMHA focus on occupational health and safety mirrored SPAR's high focus in this area, and we received great support in operator training.
"On the service side, TMHA has well-trained service technicians who have provided excellent support over many years."
SPAR is one of only two major suppliers of independent supermarket operators on the eastern seaboard, supplying grocery products and retail support services to some 300 independent retail supermarkets, including the SPAR and 5 Star banner groups.
SPAR's Acacia Ridge facility is the company's only national distribution centre, supplying goods to the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, as well as the Pacific Islands.
The 40,000 square-metre warehouse carries approximately 14,000 dry grocery lines and supports more than 300 grocery outlets, as well as operating a 3PL liquor operation on behalf of HLW (Bottlemart) and supporting a further 300 liquor outlets.
Dispatch and receiving operations amount to around 200 truck movements per day, Jason Crane said.
"We utilise third-party providers for chilled and frozen food storage (VersaCold) and for cross-docking in Sydney and Canberra.
"I cannot speak highly enough of TMHA and in particular Bob and Martin who were instrumental in putting together this most recent agreement with TMHA.
"Over many years we have developed an excellent relationship which has been built on mutual respect, common goals and a knowledge that commitments made must be followed through.
"Significantly, the commitments made by the sales team are met and exceeded and this is also the case in relation to the service technicians who are on site every day to ensure our operations are not impacted by downtime.
"I consider TMHA to be a key business partner which means I can rest easy, assured that the supply and support of MHE equipment is in good hands which allows me to focus on key areas of the business."