The other big unknown in the industrial truck industry right now is how RFID can integrate with the vehicles. Raymond has trucks right now in a working RFID warehouse in Canada. A joint venture with three other North American companies, the project is helping to assess the value, productivity and potential ROI of RIFD in the material handling world.
Raymond says that the benefits of RFID integrated with lift trucks include the fact that operators don't have to dismount or expend effort and time to record receipt, movement or placement of loads. In addition, says the company, RFID codes are highly secure, accurate and flexible.
Cat also has an interest in the technology. "As RFID becomes integral to tracking SKUs, and as the hardware and software becomes cheaper, it will become more common on trucks," says Adams.
Hyster is also looking into ways to incorporate the technology. "As we come out with new truck models, we are combining the latest in operational technology to make them user friendly to RF-type applications," says Beale. "Every customer is different, and as the technology rolls out at more affordable prices for the specific add-on components our customers require, we will see continued growth in this area."
The bottom line is that as new technologies become available, the industrial truck industry will continue to evolve to better serve its customers' needs. "We're not content to rest on our laurels," says Toyota's Hughes. "We're always looking into different forms of technology."