With the introduction of its revolutionary new high level order picker, Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks has brought to twenty six the number of new warehouse products introduced in just 12 months. Perhaps best known for its IC engine range – with its almost legendary reputation for reliability – Mitsubishi now offers one of the world’s most comprehensive line-ups of warehouse equipment, and some of the most effective performers. Take the new high level order picker. Designed to pick at towering heights of up to 11.5 metres – the highest on the market – this exceptional performer also delivers the world’s fastest lifting speed, thanks to powerful AC hydraulic motor. Small wonder that UK sales of Mitsubishi warehouse trucks are already 30% above forecast for 2008.
A key ingredient in that success has been the strength of the company’s dealer network – with a number of recent key additions boosting the network’s coverage and expertise. In Scotland, for example, customers now have support from leading forklift specialist Douglas Gillespie Plant, based in Glasgow, while Gray Forklift Services – Mitsubishi UK Dealer of the Year for two years running – continues to offer excellent service from its base in Aberdeen. Lancashire Fork Truck Services, which moved to Mitsubishi after 15 years with Still, has been another important new asset.
Of course, it also helps that the products they are selling and servicing are among the most popular and successful in the world. Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks ranks as the fifth-largest forklift manufacturer in terms of income, but unlike other big manufacturers its dealers are successful businesses in their own right – not outlets owned by the manufacturer. Its income therefore excludes all money generated by sales, service and parts supply at the retail level.
Mitsubishi Forklift trucks is, of course, part of one of the world’s largest corporations, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which is at the forefront of every kind of engineering technology from medical equipment to spacecraft. It should come as no surprise, therefore, to learn that Mitsubishi dealers get a lot of help when it comes to information systems.
A good case in point is the computerised parts stock control and online ordering system which ensures that Mitsubishi dealers can deliver the best first-pick full order fulfilled service in the business. Unlike its competitors, Mitsubishi only counts an order as being fulfilled if every item in the order is supplied. In other words, if someone orders 100 parts and only 99 are immediately available, Mitsubishi counts that as a failure! It’s a very high standard to set but Mitsubishi achieves an industry-leading 97% success on that measure – and the figure is still increasing.
A new improved online order entry system for trucks and parts is being introduced this year, while the existing Remote Service Centre continues to give instant online access to all the technical information that a service engineer could need to solve any problem, in any location, at any time.
One other technology now being shared through the dealer network is a state-of-the-art system that links on-site PDAs, carried by the service engineers, to central computers. It allows the engineer to access all of the necessary truck and customer details, complete a job sheet for the customer to sign, update the central computer’s records and generate an invoice – without any paperwork or delays. The aim of all this technology is, quite simply, to make it easy for customers to do business with the dealers.
But in addition to the quality of the products and the efficiency of the delivery systems, what makes Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks different is the strength of its belief in – and encouragement of – local dealer networks. It means that every Mitsubishi customer enjoys a close connection with a friendly local dealer who is keen to understand his or her business and who will respond quickly whenever help is needed.
To give an idea of how much the Mitsubishi UK network’s approach to customer support is appreciated, here are the comments of Nigel Windsor, Manufacturing Services Manager for The Kerrygold Company Ltd. They relate to Midlands-based Mitsubishi dealer Jofson Ltd.
“I’ve worked with Jofson for the past seven years and with their help and support I have totally re-evaluated Kerrygold’s approach to the selection, purchase, management and use of our materials handling equipment.
“What you get from Jofson is all the professionalism and pro-activity of the very largest companies, but with the customer care and service levels that you usually only get from smaller companies. Jofson’s directors and I now know each other very well and have built up a strong relationship of trust over the years.
“One significant aspect of Jofson’s set-up is that its directors actually own the company and are in the materials handling business for the long term – unlike many other service providers who tend to keep changing their sales reps and managers from one year to the next. This is very important to me and I feel I can always count on them to give me honest advice whenever I need it.
“They really do provide a quality service. Whatever day-to-day problems arise, we are sure of an instant response. But their support doesn’t stop at supplying and maintaining the trucks. Jofson is a pro-active company and has been instrumental in introducing a new fleet management system to the site which has saved our business a great deal of money. So we have many reasons to be very satisfied.”
Terry Foreman, General Manager of Mitsubish Forklift Trucks UK believes that Mitsubishi has no serious rival when it comes to customer support. “This year our ability to meet customers’ needs has been strengthened by the availability of a new range of finance packages which will make it even easier for forklift truck users to choose Mitsubishi” he explains. “At the same time, ours dealers will continue to stress the economic benefits to businesses of choosing Mitsubishi for the total reliability of its products. Indeed, so confident are we in the utter dependability of these machines that they come with five year warranties. ”