Jungheinrich is known in the UK and across Europe as a leading provider of warehouse and counterbalanced trucks, as well as a comprehensive range of other products and warehouse systems equipment, which the company supplies to companies of all sizes – from one-off truck users to global giants – across a broad range of industries.
What these end users all have in common is that when they choose Jungheinrich to provide their truck solution, they can be sure their needs are fully understood and that Jungheinrich has the appropriate structure and high quality processes in place to respond to any potential issues.
You can see Jungheinrich’s outstanding range of materials handling products and services for yourself at IMHX 2010, on stand 19 L100 & 142. Hans-Herbert Schultz, Managing Director of Jungheinrich UK, spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News.
Warehouse & Logistics News – First of all, Hans, can you run through the different products and services that Jungheinrich provides?
We have a wide product offering that includes pallet trucks, stackers, counterbalance trucks, reach trucks, order pickers, very narrow aisle trucks and stacker cranes in more than 600 truck variants. Jungheinrich also provides an extensive aftersales support network, rental trucks, used equipment and financial services, and is one of the largest suppliers of racking systems and warehouse planning services in Europe.
WLN – Who owns Jungheinrich?
Jungheinrich UK Ltd is a division of the family-owned German public company of Jungheinrich AG, which has manufacturing facilities worldwide.
WLN – How do you sum up the Jungheinrich proposition?
Taking our trucks first, Jungheinrich is a leading supplier of warehouse and counterbalanced trucks, as well as a comprehensive range of supporting products and systems equipment.
Together with the special build trucks that we produce at our factory at Lueneburg, Germany, we can truly offer the right machine for every application, no matter how unusual it might be. We lead the market with our depth of product offering.
As well as providing market-leading products, both standard and specials, we can also provide the after sales support and maintenance of both the truck and the sub-systems that are an essential part of it.
WLN – Just how ‘special’ are your special builds?
Our special builds facility addresses the particular needs of customers who store or handle unusually shaped goods, or have to manoeuvre products in and around awkward or confined spaces. Besides bespoke handling units, we also make a number of ‘Small Series’ trucks, which we produce in smaller volumes than we do with our main full-scale production lines.
WLN – How important are these ‘specials’ to your business?
They are very important. Besides offering over 600 forklift models in our standard range, demand is growing for the kind of uniquely engineered machines produced in Lueneburg, and the factory now employs a workforce of nearly 200. Being able to provide bespoke trucks to suit a client’s distinct handling needs is proving pivotal to our long-term growth strategy.
WLN – What sets Jungheinrich apart? Why buy a truck from you?
Customer requirements for forklift trucks are changing all the time. It is more important than ever before that global forklift truck manufacturers such as Jungheinrich remain close to their customers and include their views and requirements in the development of new truck concepts. However, it is vital that all innovations have market-specific customer benefits. At the heart of every new development from Jungheinrich is the need to drive up productivity, improve energy efficiency, ergonomics and operator safety and ensure that the trucks have the lowest lifetime operating costs.
In addition to our extensive product offering, today, in Europe alone, Jungheinrich has over 600 sales consultants as well as more than 3,000 mobile service engineers who maintain a close-knit network and provide highly competent consulting and comprehensive service. We also have a short-term rental fleet of some 16,000 trucks, which ensures availability and reliability of supply.
WLN – How important is it for a truck supplier to have a full line capability?
It is very important. Clients want a one-stop shop for all their materials handling requirements. There is a clear trend among truck users towards sourcing forklift truck fleets from organisations that are not only capable of supplying a full line-up of products – from counterbalance to warehouse machines – but who can also demonstrate that they have the infrastructure in place to be able to guarantee the highest levels of service and forklift fleet management across several sites and, in some cases, countries.
WLN – Leading on from this, in your opinion should operators with big fleets have long-term partnerships with a single supplier, or should they go for a multi-branded fleet with different makes for different tasks?
We believe the best situation is a partnership in which the truck supplier works with its client to develop fleet management strategies, which are customer-led. It is vitally important from the outset that the user is confident that his preferred supplier has the right culture, style and values to deliver the kind of results he is looking for.
WLN – Many trucks on the market nowadays are pretty sophisticated products, featuring complex electronics and hydraulics and high spec design. That said, it’s getting harder to tell the makes apart. So how do you differentiate yourselves from other suppliers?
Besides focusing on technical excellence, we concentrate on the added value benefits that we bring to a client’s business. With Jungheinrich as their truck provider, as I’ve been explaining, any company that operates any size of forklift truck fleet can be sure we fully understand their needs and have the structure and processes in place to respond to issues as they arise.
Furthermore, we specialise in producing high productivity products with low lifetime costs, while our commitment to green issues enables us to offer market leading energy efficiency.
WLN – How do you sum up your fleet management approach?
Every forklift company can talk a good fleet management proposal, but few can match us in having the capability and the appropriate data in a format from which effective management decisions can be taken to improve operational and delivery efficiency.
Users can only derive maximum cost and efficiency gains with measurable values from fleet management systems if they have an effective communication strategy with their truck supplier, backed up by an effective fleet management information system. They also need to be sure that their truck supplier has their interests at heart, and has the desire to deliver results.
WLN – If the situation arose, would you advise a client to reduce the size of their fleet?
A truck audit will often recommend reducing the fleet size, which on the face of it is not in the truck supplier’s best interests. But, whenever it’s appropriate to do so, we would not hesitate to advise a client to reduce his fleet size. We are able to think beyond selling or servicing individual trucks. In fact, we have recently received a global order from a leading logistics services provider and one of the reasons why we got the business is because of the advice we were to give about running their fleet more efficiently which, in turn, meant they were able to reduce the overall size of their fleet.
WLN – During the recession, keeping forklift trucks working for longer has become paramount. What is your advice to customers when times are tough?
One of the most important aspects of any forklift contract is the supplier’s ability to ensure truck downtime is kept to a minimum. We believe users should look to source forklift truck fleets from organisations who can not only supply a full line-up of products but also demonstrate that they have the infrastructure in place to be able to guarantee the highest levels of service.
Our after-sales strengths are underpinned by rapid parts delivery, award winning training and a highly advanced service engineer despatch system which routes our service engineers efficiently.
WLN – Trucks will break down sometime, whoever supplies them.
You’re right, there is little point in any manufacturer pretending their trucks do not break down, because from time to time they all do. The things that differentiate a good supplier from the others are, firstly, the frequency between technical problems and then the ability of the supplier to have an engineer on site in the shortest possible time to put faults right when they occur. With our UK service structure we believe we can offer the highest levels of service support and after-sales care nationwide.
WLN – Do you provide driver training?
Yes we do. No matter how technically advanced a truck might be, the interface between the forklift and the operator remains key to maximising efficiency. Hence properly trained operators are essential if a forklift is to deliver ultimate throughput benefits in a safe way.
Refresher training may be required after an accident or a near-miss incident, if there have been changes to the workplace that could impact on the safe operation of the truck or, perhaps, if the operator is assigned to use a different type of machine. We can supply this training as required, either on-site or at one of our UK locations.
WLN – What new products and developments will you be showing at IMHX?
We’ll be showing our recently updated range of EKS medium and high level order pickers, which use RFID technology to safely guide the operator to his picking location, increasing productivity by up to 25%.
We’ll also be showing our new market leading multi directional Reach Truck, where all three wheels are electrically steered and hydraulically braked to help handle long loads safely. The wheels are all electrically synchronised, reducing tyre wear versus our competitors.
In addition we will be highlighting an Automated Pallet Mover (APM) – an automated guided vehicle designed around a pedestrian controlled truck.
WLN – Will you be showing any trucks with greater lift heights?
In our display at IMHX we’ll be showing our ETV 3 series Reach Truck, which has a 12 metre lift and addresses the trend in the warehousing truck market for higher lift heights. We believe that with our patented mast damping and latest generation AC lift, drive and steer motors, we offer the highest productivity in this part of the market, coupled with the lowest lifetime costs.
We’re also showing a full range of counterbalance machines. We have an interesting video that we’ll be showing on the stand in relation to our electric counterbalance range, which graphically underlines our 20% energy efficiency advantage compared to a number of our competitors.
WLN – What else is new at IMHX?
Other new developments we’re presenting include a concept Lithium-Ion powered pallet truck, paving the way for even shorter chassis lengths without the loss of battery capacity.
WLN – What do you hope to achieve at IMHX 2010?
IMHX 2010 represents an excellent opportunity to offer existing and new clients our renowned hospitality and demonstrate ways that our extensive range of materials handling equipment can help make their business more productive.
WLN – How important are shows like IMHX to your company and its strategy?
Shows such as the IMHX are an important part of our marketing mix, and this year’s exhibition is a great opportunity to get in touch with all parts of the market, in order to reach our goal of growing our business in an expanding market, after the recession.
WLN – The big question: why should a busy professional from the logistics industry take a day out of the office to visit your stand?
Our stand will be a comfortable place to spend some time amid the hustle and bustle of the show. Visitors are invited to call in to see how we are helping companies – big and small – to drive operational efficiencies throughout their materials handling processes and therefore lowering their cost of ownership. At the same time they can view some of our ideas that can be used to become more environmentally friendly in the field of materials handling and storage.
Our themes being communicated on the stand underline high productivity and low cost of ownership. These cover all areas of our business offerings, being underpinned by the way that we lead the market with our “green” strategy.
WLN – What do you mean by “green” strategy?
Two typical practical examples are that, firstly, we have manufactured more than 100,000 AC motors over the last two decades, significantly more than any competitor. These motors use significantly less energy than the older type of motors on the market.
Secondly, our 3 and 4 series engine counterbalance trucks offer class-leading fuel efficiency. The hydrostatic drive technology at the heart of the range minimises fuel consumption, through even the most demanding shift. Tests have proved that our 3 series truck will save a significant amount of money per annum on a typical 2000 hours operation, in comparison to a similar capacity counterbalance truck that uses the more conventional “torque converter’ technology.
WLN – With the greater emphasis on fork lift safety, what special features do your trucks have? Will they be on show at IMHX?
A typical safety development is our Curve Control technology, which automatically reduces the truck’s drive speed as it enters a corner, by monitoring the truck’s speed, wheel position and steering angle. Our staff will be on hand at IMHX to explain the benefits of Curve Control and demonstrate the system’s effectiveness in reducing forklift accidents.
WLN – How does Curve Control work?
At the heart of the Curve Control system is a continuously working sensing unit that monitors the truck’s steering angle. Simply stated, the system quickly and effectively reduces the drive speed when an excessive steering angle is sensed.
The underlying principle behind Curve Control is to enhance safety as far as possible without reducing a truck’s handling capacity. It is virtually impossible to tip a truck fitted with Curve Control over – even when it is carrying the maximum capacity load.
WLN – Is trucks tipping over a significant problem in the industry?
Industry studies of lift truck accidents have shown that one of the most frequent causes of fatal injuries to truck operators is forklift trucks that tip over while attempting to take a corner too quickly.
In an attempt to reduce the number of operators hurt in such incidents, in December 1998 it became mandatory in the UK for all new lift trucks to be supplied with some form of passive restraint system, such as a seat belt. Trucks built earlier are required to have belt systems retrofitted.
The number of reported injuries to drivers has dropped in the ten years since the seat belt ruling was introduced, but the philosophy of ‘prevention instead of protection’ has spurred the development of new innovations designed to actively increase safety and reduce the risk of tipping to a minimum.
Since we introduced Curve Control it has been so successful in reducing accidents that it is now fitted as standard across the Jungheinrich range.
WLN – Looking at the wider picture, what do you see as the biggest pressures on fork lift truck users?
With the global economic outlook still far from certain, companies across all industry sectors are focused on delivering efficiency gains across their supply chains. This means that today’s forklift trucks are expected to work harder for longer and with minimal downtime, which puts the pressure on the trucks and the service network supporting it.
WLN – Finally, where do you see the UK truck market going from here?
With the UK economy showing signs of finding its way out of recession, we expect the truck market to stabilise and continue the upward trend that we have seen in 2010 – albeit at a slower pace.
Jungheinrich UK Limited
Tel: 01908 363100