Toyota Material Handling is the world’s leading name in materials handling solutions.

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Toyota offers a comprehensive range of quality new and used forklifts and warehouse equipment, national service support, short and long-term rental solutions, truck management and genuine parts as well as tailored product and safety operator training.

Products include hand pallet trucks, powered pallet trucks, powered stackers, order pickers, tow tractors, reach trucks, counterbalance engine and electric forklifts and very narrow aisle equipment.

Toyota customers benefit from global resources, national coverage and local support.

Tony Wallis, Commercial Director at Toyota Material Handling UK, speaks to Warehouse News about the forthcoming IMHX exhibition.

Warehouse & Logistics News – First of all, Tony, as Commercial Director, what is your role in the company from day to day?

I lead the sales and marketing function at Toyota Material Handling UK. On a day to day basis my role is focused on delivering and implementing our strategy of improving our customer experience.

We are not just a supplier, we are a partner and our customers expect us to provide innovation, efficiency and productivity. My role is to ensure our team focus on these activities every day of the week.

WLN – Can you talk us through the different products and services Toyota provides?

Toyota Material Handling is the world’s number one material handling manufacturer. We are the total business solution. For the customer that means they can speak to a member of the Toyota team about everything from the creation of a new warehouse to the delivery of everything including material handling equipment and aftersales all the way through to racking solutions, telematics and automation.

We work everything that we do around three simple areas; people, product and process. This allows us to provide our customers with an excellent range or forklifts, warehouse equipment, service and rental solutions.

WLN – What kinds of businesses in what industry sectors are your solutions aimed at? What specific needs do they target?

We have over 250 models which have an unlimited number of modifications, special designs and variations. This allows us to supply any operation with the correct truck for their application. Whether it is order picking, horizontal transport, stacking or loading and unloading, we have the solution.

Add to that a national network over 600 Toyota trained service technicians that have a minimum first time fix rate of 95% and a guaranteed maximum response time of four hours. That’s right… we can guarantee that no matter what industry you operate in, if you have a problem… we aim to fix it within four hours.

WLN – When was your business established? Who owns the company now? Which other countries do you operate in besides the UK?

Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO) was formed 90 years ago this year. The company actually has its roots planted firmly in the UK, something you may not have known, Sakichi Toyoda sold the patent for his automatic loom to a company called Platt Brothers in Oldham for £100,000 in 1929.

Sakichi Toyoda then used that money to finance the step into manufacturing cars.

TICO now includes automotive, material handling, textiles and logistics, with material handling accounting for around 40% of TICO’s €15 billion turnover.

We operate all over the world and our customers benefit from global resources, national coverage and local support.

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WLN – What sets your company apart as a supplier in your sector? Why should busy professionals from the warehouse and logistics industry take time out to visit your stand at IMHX? What is your overall message to visitors?

Our overall message surrounds the philosophy of the total business solution.

Toyota Material Handling has been found and built on the key principles of the Toyota Production System (TPS). For our customers that means that we manufacture high quality material handling equipment whilst always continually improving our products (Kaizen).

At IMHX 2016 we will be showing TPS in action. This will allow visitors to our stand to understand how we build the world’s safest forklift truck.

Not only that, visitors will also be able to see how they can practice Kaizen in their own operation in our I_Site truck management area.

Visitors will see a live demonstration of how telematics can improve operator driving, truck utilisation and improve safety via pre operational checks and smart access.

They will also get a glimpse of the future with our innovation lab showing concept products.

WLN -What will visitors be able to see on your stand at this year’s show? Which of your core products and solutions are you presenting? Are you launching anything new at IMHX?

IMHX 2016 is the landmark event in our exhibition calendar this year.

We have a 1,100sqm stand where we will be showing visitors why we are the total business solution. We’ll have a range of counterbalance forklift trucks and warehouse equipment; from order pickers, stackers and powered pallet trucks to the award winning BT Lifter hand pallet truck.

Supporting our range of material handling equipment will be the TPS production line, an automated truck demonstration area, a truck management system café and a dedicated service solutions area, showcasing our genuine parts, Toyota tyre service, Toyota batterycare and Thorough Examinations.

I can exclusively confirm that we will be hosting the international launch of at least two new products, however this is going to remain a bit of a surprise until closer to IMHX.

WLN – Is this your first time exhibiting at IMHX? If you’ve been there before, what are you doing that’s different to last time?

It’s not our first time at IMHX and this year our objective is simple, it’s putting the customer first. I want visitors to walk on to our stand and find all the information and support they need straight away, with a team of experts at hand to answer any logistics questions.

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WLN – The last IMHX was in 2013. How have your customers’ needs changed since then? What are the biggest pressures your clients face these days? How are you addressing these?

Customers’ needs are ever changing, we work in a pressured and innovative industry where we need to make things happen.

Our customers need flexible, reliable and productive material handling equipment to keep up with growing consumer demands. We are supporting our customers by making sure they are using their equipment safely and intelligently, increasing productivity and supporting their operations. I suppose you can simply call it a Kaizen approach, continuous improvement.

WLN – Can you tell us about your major customer contract wins in the last three years? Do these represent new development areas for your company?

We treat every single customer as important, whether a one truck user or a thousand multi truck user.

We’ve grown our market share across Europe and continue to build strong relationships across a variety of industries. All I can say is we are expecting another strong year as we continue to develop new partnerships.

WLN – How do your products and solutions address today’s increased emphasis on safety and environmental impact in warehousing and logistics? Will you be highlighting this aspect of your offering at the show?

Sustainability and safety are two vital areas of TPS and in today’s market are increasingly under the microscope. For the past three years Toyota Material Handling in Europe has been working with EcoVadis to measure and benchmark our performance in relation to corporate social responsibility. Our commitment to sustainable development was awarded in 2014 when we received the EcoVadis Gold rating, which puts us alongside the world’s top two percent of companies that have achieved advanced CSR engagement, and positioning us as one of the leaders in the heavy machinery industry.

At IMHX we will be displaying some of the work we have been doing in these areas with our lithium ion material handling equipment and one of the most talked about sustainable technologies, the hydrogen fuel cell.

Visitors will also be able to walk around our innovation hub, where our patented safety system SAS will be on show and links to some of our other safety features, including the BT Prolifter hand pallet truck which reduces the amount of force needed to move a load by 67% and the smooth flowing, Transitional Lift Control (TLC) on the masts of our BT reach truck range.

WLN – Thanks to technology, suppliers to this industry are getting much faster with their responses to customer enquiries. How soon after IMHX can visitors to your stand expect to receive a ‘live’ quote for using your solutions in their businesses?

Customers don’t even have to wait for a quote anymore. We have an online shop shop.toyota-forklifts.co.uk where both current and new customers can buy trucks online and that will be available on the day. Not only that, they can book service appointments and short term rental too.

If they can’t buy on the day, they can expect to hear from a member of the Toyota team immediately after the show.

WLN – And finally, it’s three years to the next IMHX. Where do you see your market sector and your company going in that time?

We hope to see the market continue to grow as confidence improves. We are the world’s number one material handling manufacturer and we strive to maintain our number one position whilst at the same time providing our customers with global resources, national coverage and local support. More businesses are focused on lean process and we are the undisputed champions of lean. We expect to see more and more businesses focus in this area, where we can add value and help minimise waste in the workplace.

www.toyota-forklifts.co.uk

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