He adds the company designs and manufactures about 85 percent of all the components manufactured into Crown lift trucks. This includes motors and AC motors as well. "We know exactly what torque, temperature and speed we want our motors to perform to," Ranly continues.
Crown is also the first lift truck manufacturer to design and support an asset utilization system, says Ranly. InfoLink is a new Web-based, wireless system that organizes, collates and stores data collected during the truck's operation.
"InfoLink gives customers real-time information they need to make better decisions about how their fleets are operating," explains Ranly.
"The system monitors and controls a wide range of functions including impact reporting, hour-meter data collection, operator certification, fleet utilization and pre-use OSHA inspection reports."
Fleet management is a definite trend to watch in the coming years, notes Marshall at Hyster. According to Marshall, up to 15 percent of warehouse fleets are managed and maintained by 3PLs and up to 20 percent are managed and maintained by OEM forklift truck providers, for an industry total of about 35 percent.
"This trend is growing and within five years that percentage will double to about 70 percent in the food and grocery industry," Marshall says. "Companies are moving toward leasing and maintenance—or rental and maintenance—agreements through the 3PLs and OEMs who are literally managing the entire warehousing process. So they are simply sending their goods to a warehouse to be stored and handled by someone else with a contract to get the goods delivered on time to their ultimate destination."
The advantage to customers is that they can count on a fixed cost to rely on because it is contracted, Marshall says.
"Then, in terms of the soft costs with things like insurance and workers' compensation, once you have a contract in which an operator is part of the package, those elements are put back in the hands of the provider," he says.