Home' MHD Supply Chain Solutions : MHD JULY-AUGUST Contents TOYOTA
TOYOTA MATERIAL HANDING AUSTRALIA (TMHA) IS A FOCUSED AND HIGHLY
SUCCESSFUL OPERATION, HAVING RETAINED ITS LEADING SUPPLIER POSITION
ON THE AUSTRALIAN FORKLIFT MARKET FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS NOW.
WHAT IS LESS VISIBLE TO THE UNINITIATED OBSERVER, HOWEVER, IS THE
MASSIVE SUPPORT OPERATION THAT GOES ON BEHIND THE SCENES, FROM
SPARE PARTS THROUGH THE TEAM OF ON-PREMISES AND MOBILE TECHNICIANS
TO A COMPREHENSIVE AND WELL-ESTABLISHED APPRENTICE PROGRAM FOR
TECHNICIANS. CHARLES PAUKA VISITED TOYOTA MATERIAL HANDLING’S SYDNEY
HEAD OFFICE TO INVESTIGATE.
t is widely recognised, both by suppliers and
fleet managers (customers), that the forklift
industry is no longer just about selling a
forklift - it’s about running a part of the custom-
er’s business, it is about – a material handling
Start from the start
General manager service at Toyota Material
Handling Steve Barnes said the customer
support process begins even before the
customer has laid eyes on his/her new machine.
“From a new product point of view, where
we come into play is to ensure we have all the
information on hand for our technicians prior
to a new product line being introduced.
“The factory – whether it’s Toyota, Raymond
or BT – will supply a recommended spare parts
list, and then one of the three brand-specialist
technical advisors and trainers sits down with
our parts manager and they go through the list,
determine what we have to carry, and make
sure we have the parts on hand before the truck
hits the customer’s site. We also go out and
train our technicians on that particular product,
before it hits customers’ sites.
“The procedure is that the product brand
managers and sales people will say there is a
particular new product coming in, and Paul,
Jerry or Luke (the brand technical advisors) will
liaise with the factory to get the technical infor-
mation. We’ll set up a training schedule for the
technicians, by which time we know what parts
to carry for that particular unit.
In total, TMHA holds some $11m worth of
stock nationally. But it’s not so much the dollar
in the parts, it’s about having the right parts. In
product numbers, there are 25,000 lines across
the three brands.
“It’s critical in our business that we’ve got
the right parts for the right product. We do a
constant review of, what have we got coming
into the ports, what have we got in stock, and
update as required what parts we need to carry.
Our target is to have a 92% fill rate, so when we
get an order, 92 times out of 100 we can replen-
ish that order straight away.
“If not, we can airfreight the part, which is
five days. When the customer’s truck is down
and we don’t have the part, we use a VOR,
‘Vehicle Off Road’ and then we can get that part
within two days from Japan, Sweden, or the US.
“And it goes the other way, too. We do keep
supplying parts for many years for older models.
“Generally our corporate customers will turn
a truck over every 5 to 10 years, but there are
products out there that are 20, 30 years old.
We’d have parts on the shelf for trucks that are
20, 30 years old.
Technicians at call, and on-site
“The other consideration is that a lot of our
customers work around the clock - 7 days a
week, 24 hours a day.
“A truck that would normally be in a 5-year
deal, you’re looking at a 10- to15-year-old truck
in five years, because it does three shifts a day.
So they’ll generally change those trucks out in
five years, from an economic and maintenance
point of view,” Mr Barnes said.
Once a customer has around 100 or 150
forklift trucks, it becomes economical to have
a Toyota technician on-site for maintenance, as
part of the maintenance contract.
“We have 19 or 20 guys who are permanent
on-site technicians for customer-owned units.
For our own rental fleet, we’ve probably got
another 30 or 40 technicians who are looking
after predominantly one site. They might occa-
sionally move off that site to do a repair within
that immediate area, but predominantly they
look after that one customer. Roughly 20% of
our guys are looking after a dedicated site.
“We do have sites with more than one techni-
cian. You’ll have sites with multiple technicians
as the fleets are that large,” Mr Barnes said.
It is a fact that customers are more and
more looking for a total package - the technical
backup is becoming more a part of the sales
package. Fewer and fewer forklift owners are
MHD SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS — JULY / AUGUST 2014
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