UniCarriers are part of the World’s 3rd largest Materials Handling Company (Mitsubishi Logisnext Co., Ltd) and are owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. UniCarriers UK Ltd is a well-established MHE provider with over 50 years’ experience of supplying new counterbalance and warehouse trucks into the UK market.
International manufacturer, UniCarriers, produce lift trucks, and Materials Handling Equipment solution expertise. With the group headquarters in Tokyo, UniCarriers have branches in Europe, America and Asia. European operations are led from their HQ in Mölnlycke, near Gothenburg in Sweden.
UniCarriers philosophy of manufacturing local product for a local market, means that their product range is manufactured in Europe in order to meet European production standards and reduce global travel of raw material and finished goods.
UniCarriers are backed up by the strength of a big, multinational corporation, using market-leading technology to bring you the latest innovations as they happen.
Chris Bates, Sales Director at UniCarriers UK, speaks to Warehouse and Logistics News.
UniCarriers are probably best known for high lifting, high performance, wide aisle distribution specification warehouse trucks, especially focusing on reach truck innovation where we have frequently supported our customers by pushing the boundaries of lift height and load capacity. For example:
In order to match demand from the grocery distribution sector, the UniCarriers UHX model of reach truck was developed which is a heavy lifting reach truck that can place a 1250kg pallet on a 12.5-metre-high beam, this development in turn has enabled capacities of 1000kg to over 13.5 metres.
Our reach truck has always led the market from an ergonomic perspective with features such as the mini steering wheel contributing towards reduced RSI in drivers. All of this product development has taken place in the UniCarriers factory in Gothenburg, Sweden where experience in driver ergonomics, site safety and performance drive design.
UniCarriers UK are a wholly owned subsidiary of UniCarriers Europe who operate across the whole of Europe. In the UK, our customer base operates within food manufacture, ambient and frozen distribution, as well as heavier industry, such as automotive.
As the UK economy ebbs and flows, we have witnessed strong growth in some sectors, while others struggle.
Current high performers include prepared food manufacture and, consequently, food-serve distribution both chilled and frozen.
UniCarriers are experiencing good growth in the temperature-controlled sector, where high truck performance and reliability are prerequisite capabilities for successful suppliers.
Our customers benefit from exceptional service performance and reporting, which helps control costs and maximises fleet utilisation.
New customers are choosing to do business with UniCarriers because we are able to demonstrate a business culture that puts the customer first. UniCarriers work on the philosophy that using us as a supplier must benefit our customers – we have to be better than our competition. We aim to be an easy company to do business with and demonstrate integrity and customer focus at every touch point.
During the past twelve months we have experienced good trading conditions with our market becoming more open to innovation and performance improvement concepts. UniCarriers have taken this period to expand our sales force and promote internal staff to create additional management. As you can imagine, this is a very positive period for our business and, according to staff survey results, staff morale is high, and employees feel valued. This positive environment is being picked up by customers and prospects who visit our Head Office in Thame.
Highlights from 2018 will certainly include the renewal of a five-year sole supply agreement with one of our customers who leads the meat processing sector. This commitment, along with all of our other retained accounts (Around 70% of our overall business is from repeat customers) affirms we are offering a valued, customer centric service.
We were also delighted to be presented with the “MHE Provider of the Year” award from the temperature-controlled industry – for the second year running. Positive proof that UniCarriers meet the expectations of their customers.
The most identifiable trends over the past twelve months have been the evaluation of the Lithium-Ion battery and charger technology by businesses trying to establish whether it will enhance their operations, plus the investigation of automation and, more importantly, whether the investment in this technology is both practical and cost effective.
In both cases, the answers are very operationally specific, so companies would be well advised to seek guidance. Our salesmen have raised more automation projects this year than ever before, with several being suitable for investment but many lacking the operational profile or justification period to warrant further investigation.
With the expectation looming that transient worker numbers visiting a post Brexit UK could fall by over half a million, companies are quite rightly reviewing their options when it comes to automation. A first cut evaluation can be carried out quite swiftly to check the suitability of an automated solution and our sales team are able to provide guidance to anyone who might be affected by reduced work force availability.
From a customer care perspective, UniCarriers apply a care programme called ProActive. Picking from a menu of care initiatives, customers can tailor a programme that is relevant to them, from a damage awareness poster campaign for wash rooms and canteens, to Estate Management work that enables a multi truck, multi-site truck user to view where his fleet is working and at what efficiency level.
UniCarriers ProActive also provides fleet feedback, including utilisation, availability, uptime and a cost reduction strategy called “Cost Down”, while continuing the commitment toward improved driver health with a driver welfare poster campaign directly targeting the work force.
Looking forward to 2019, we are continuing to prepare for growth. The tumble-down effect of increased sales and, therefore, more units in operation, provides opportunities for additional service engineers, in addition to back office positions. UniCarriers UK head count has increased by 5% year-on-year for the past five years, providing employment both in the field across the UK and at our Head Office in Oxfordshire.
In order to continue raising brand awareness, UniCarriers will be supporting several events throughout 2019, including the BFFF Business Conference, TCS&D Exhibition and the Talent in Logistics Forklift Operator of the Year event, which we have supported for the past three years.
Supporting driver excellence initiatives such as Talent in Logistics “Forklift Operator of the Year” makes common sense to us as our business has developed products that improve the working lives of operators by targeting a reduction in RSI.
UniCarriers also place safety first and promoting an annual event that showcases driver expertise and training works hand in glove with our products and philosophies. We can expect more marketing activity surrounding the New TX counterbalance, which is just approaching its first birthday.
UniCarriers will be launching new products in 2019, but unfortunately, details will have to remain under wraps for the time being.
As a new product muscling its way into an active market space, the TX has been very well received. We are also aware that 16% of all trucks sold are being delivered into flame risk environments requiring ignition and flame protection capability which is higher than previous years.
If we had to sum up UniCarriers in 280 characters, or less, Tweet, we would want to explain what we do and why customers return to us contract after contract, in a very competitive market place, so how about recycling some of the commitment shown on our service vehicles:
“UniCarriers are the UK’s fastest growing forklift provider – our service provides 95% First Time Fix, 98% Uptime and 100% customer satisfaction!”
UNICARRIERS UK LTD