Increased competition, emerging technologies and other factors will continue to create new challenges that will transform the lift truck industry in the new millennium. Yet, if there’s a company positioned to meet these challenges, it’s Yale Materials Handling Corporation of Greenville, N.C.
Yale markets a complete product line including electric, gas, LP-gas, diesel and compressed natural gas-powered lift trucks, as well as a full complement of services fleet management, financial services, short-term rental and a long list of after-market offerings all designed with the customer in mind.
The company has worldwide capabilities with manufacturing operations in North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific that help it to realize the economies of increased volume, while maintaining manufacturing integrity to deliver products of the highest quality at the lowest possible cost. Yale has an extensive dealer network that has invested in the future and has a demonstrated commitment to continuous improvement.
These factors have made Yale Materials Handling Corporation a global industry leader with the ability to offer products and services that continually exceed their customers’ expectations. Yale currently has 223 authorized dealer locations in the Americas, 85 locations in Europe, and another 30 locations in Asia Pacific.
It All Starts with Product
Since 1875, Yale has met the needs of the materials handling marketplace by creating innovative products designed to meet the specific needs of lift truck users. Today, the company boasts one of the most comprehensive lines in the industry, including a full line of products in each of five classes from motorized hand trucks to big trucks specifically built to handle larger, heavier loads from I.C.E. (Internal Combustion Engine) trucks for indoor and outdoor applications to electric riders specifically for warehouse use from lift trucks designed to meet highly-specialized industry needs.
“One of the greatest challenges for lift truck manufacturers, like Yale, is to create quality products that perform well in specific environments,” says Don Chance, president of Yale Materials Handling Corporation. “That’s why customer input has been critical to the development and expansion of our product line.”
One of the company’s newest lines, its GP-J Series Pneumatic Tire trucks, is evidence of Yale’s philosophy at work. Designed based on input of lift truck users, the new line features capacities ranging from 7,000 to 12,000 pounds to accommodate a variety of industry-specific applications, as well as state-of-the-art features that increase productivity and ease of use.
In response to the needs of customers requiring higher lifting capacities, Yale expanded its offerings to include a line of Big Trucks in 1998. Ideally suited for the construction, lumber and other industries requiring lifting power of up to 36,000 pounds, Yale’s Big Trucks combine state-of-the-art technologies, like shift-on-the-go transmissions, with ergonomic design for operator comfort to maximize productivity during the most demanding duty cycles.
To accommodate the needs of companies looking to “right-size” their warehouse operations and for new facilities being built with higher ceilings and narrower aisles, Yale expanded its warehouse products line to include trucks that reach higher and operate more efficiently in narrower spaces in order to achieve better space utilization. Narrow aisle trucks like the NR-AD and very narrow aisle trucks, such as the NTA, illustrate Yale’s ability to deliver products that help operations increase their productivity standards in even the most demanding environments.
“I predict that the companies that will be recognized as innovators in the new millennium will be those that listen well, develop an understanding of a specific industry’s needs and have the ability to develop and deliver high-quality products that meet those needs,” says Chance. “Yale is well positioned to be such an innovator.”
From Product to Service
In addition to a full line of high quality lift trucks, Yale offers a host of quality services through its dealer network. “To thrive in the lift truck business, companies have to become less manufacturer and more consultant interactive partners that provide value-added services that help their customers’ cash flow, operations and give them a competitive advantage,” says Chance. “Yale has developed a variety of programs to help our dealers be the best service providers in the industry.”
For the last 10 years, Yale has been creating and implementing a variety of fleet management and financing programs that minimize downtime by planning for replacement to ensure that the customer maintains the highest level of productivity and the overall total lowest cost of ownership. A pioneer in fleet management, Yale has seen its continued growth, as companies large and small embrace the idea of outsourcing their non-core operations. As of last year, Yale Fleet Management had just over 16,000 trucks under contract.
The company also has developed a host of solutions to help customers find the most cost-effective way to finance a lift truck through Yale Financial Services, Yale’s in-house financing arm. From a variety of leasing options to a new short-term rental program that guarantees customers access to the right trucks when they need them, Yale has been an industry leader in helping companies free up operating capital by helping them take advantage of flexible payment plans, maintenance arrangements and tax benefits through financing.
Yale also has developed a variety of after-market programs to help dealers provide the highest-quality customer service. Programs like Yale Gold Quality Service and Pro-Tech, the first and only program of its kind developed to train and certify service technicians, are setting new service quality standards. Innovations like Axcess, a computerized system that can look up parts numbers and provide schematics for thousands of lift trucks, are making the delivery of quality services even more efficient. A leader in operator training, Yale launched its interactive operator training program on CD-ROM. The state-of-the-art “Key to Productivity” program is OSHA compliant and provides formalized operator training that is customizable to the customer’s needs and includes lectures, discussions, interactive learning and videotape, along with three-dimensional art to help illustrate training points.
Meeting the Challenges Through Its Dealer Network
To help deliver products and services of the highest quality, Yale has developed an extensive dealer network (with an average of over 27 years experience) and a variety of programs to help strengthen its dealers through continuous improvement.
Yale’s Challenge of Excellence program has evolved into a blueprint for success, evaluating dealers based on a variety of criteria, including general management, truck sales, financing and parts and services operations. The program places a heavy emphasis on employee development and customer service to ensure the highest possible added value to the customer.
“Customers in the future will have even higher expectations, and it will be our responsibility to meet or exceed those expectations,” concludes Chance. “We are not in the business of selling trucks. We are in the business of providing solutions that address customer needs. We are in the business of building long-term relationships, so Yale, our dealers and our customers can grow profitably.” In short, as the company’s advertising states, “There’s Nothing We Can’t Handle!”