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2012 Lift Truck Issue

It would be difficult to find a more comprehensive snapshot of the current state of lift truck usage, best practices and technology than the issue of Modern that you’re holding in your hands at this very moment.
By Michael Levans, Group Editorial Director
August 01, 2012

It would be difficult to find a more comprehensive snapshot of the current state of lift truck usage, best practices and technology than the issue of Modern that you’re holding in your hands at this very moment.

This marks the second year in a row that we’re using our August pages to celebrate that piece of equipment that continues to be the backbone of the materials handling industry. Yet all too often fleets are taken for granted or run to the point of exhaustion—as many have been during the last few years of economic turmoil.

Starting on page 18, executive editor Bob Trebilcock takes us inside the operations of metal parts finisher Lincoln Industries, a company that depends entirely on its fleet of 32 lift trucks to keep product moving throughout its 334,000-square-foot facility. Lincoln is far from being one of those operations that ran its lift truck fleet to the bone during the recession.

At the end of last year, Lincoln, in cooperation with its local distributor, added 26 new trucks, purchased new attachments and installed fleet management software in an effort to improve safety and productivity. “Since then we’ve broken monthly sales records in four of the last six months,” Lincoln’s vice president of operations Bill Ellerbee tells Trebilcock. “At the same time, we’ve kept up with extra production with no additional overhead.”

And while Lincoln’s lift truck utilization is impressive, we were curious to find out just how well the U.S. end user market was managing their fleets. To do this, we turned to Judd Aschenbrand, director of research for Peerless Research Group (PRG), to develop Modern’s first annual Lift Truck Usage Study.

The goal was relatively straightforward: We set out to find the percentage breakdown of types of trucks currently in use in the United States; where the purchase vs. lease debate stands; the impact the tough economy is having on fleet management; what maintenance best practices are gaining favor; and how far technology has penetrated fleet management.

Associate editor Josh Bond puts context behind all of the findings here. However, one high-level finding should come as breath of fresh air for suppliers and the industry overall.

Of the 64% of respondents who indicated that they would buy or lease a lift truck in the next 24 months, one in 10 said that they planned to add 20 or more units. According to Bond, exactly 30% said that the new equipment would expand the size of their current fleet.

But Lincoln’s success and our survey results are just scratching the surface of what we’ve packed into this issue. We also offer the deepest dive available on the evolution of lift truck fleet management software and a special report on the Top 20 lift truck suppliers.

So if you’re in the process of upgrading your fleet or just kicking the tires, we’re sure that this issue should give you the data you need to make the decision that’s best for your operation.

About the Author

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Michael Levans
Group Editorial Director

Michael Levans is Group Editorial Director of Peerless Media’s Supply Chain Group of publications and websites including Logistics Management, Supply Chain Management Review, Modern Materials Handling, and Material Handling Product News. He’s a 27-year publishing veteran who started out at the Pittsburgh Press as a business reporter and has spent the last 20 years in the business-to-business press. He’s been covering the logistics and supply chain markets for the past 11 years. You can reach him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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