MHI Solutions



Revolutionary New Features and Trends in Lift Truck Design Are Benefitting the Supply Chains That Rely on Them

By Greg Baer, MHI Director of Sales

Even a casual browser passing through the lift truck exhibits at ProMat 2017 could clearly see that today’s load handlers are packing every bit as much technology as today’s consumer cars. And not just operator amenities like integrated cup holders and onboard charger ports for mobile devices, but a variety of features that make these vehicles more environmentally friendly and autonomous while minimizing maintenance.

MHI Solutions checked in with some of the leading forklift original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)—all of whom happen to be MHI member companies—to find out more about the revolutionary features and trends in lift truck design, and how those benefit the supply chains that rely on them.

Alternative power sources, telematics improving sustainability

Regardless of the brand or its fuel source—electric, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) or diesel—all lift truck manufacturers are engineering their latest vehicles to be more environmentally friendly than ever before.

From switching to AC motors for greater efficiency and more operating hours on a single battery charge, to prioritizing reduced emissions to meet the strictest standards (think California Air Resources Board), manufacturers have been including all types of energy saving features into their forklifts for several years now. Simply engineering the vehicles to last longer, using recycled materials in floor mats and rebuilding components for the used, aftermarket and repair markets are other ways lift truck manufacturers are helping companies meet their sustainability standards.

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According to the recently released 2018 MHI Annual Industry Report, “Overcoming Barriers to NextGen Supply Chain Adoption,” eight out of ten survey respondents believe these supply chains will be the predominant model within just five years. However, the report found that the adoption of some of these technologies was slower than originally reported when MHI started the annual report in 2014. The report cites three top barriers to adoption of these technologies: 1. Making the business case for NextGen supply chain investments. 2. Tackling the supply chain skills gap and workforce shortage. 3. Building trust and security in digital, always-on supply chains. This issue of MHI Solutions focuses on the adoption of these digital solutions, from best practices in robotics and artificial intelligence to blockchain and innovations in last mile delivery.

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