Forklift truck sales up 8.2% year-on-year – with retail distribution sector demand up by 40%

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BITA’s latest forklift truck Market Index shows how key industries drive growth

BITA’s forklift truck Market Index shows that sales of trucks rose by 8.2% year-on-year, reaching 33,407 by the end of the third quarter of 2017, continuing the improvement on 2016 levels.

This is the third successive quarter of growth, painting a picture of a sector that can withstand short-term economic fluctuations. Sales into manufacturing sectors were again high, with a 5.9% improvement on the previous year’s figure, reflecting the growth in UK manufacturing output this quarter.

BITA Secretary-General James Clark commented: “Despite the uncertain economic environment, forklift sales have continued their recovery from the downturn seen during H2 of 2016, particularly in the retail distribution and manufacturing sectors.”

However, the positive picture for construction sales at the beginning of the year, which had shown a 26% increase in annualised sales compared with 2016, has subsided – with the latest figures pointing to a 3.4% reduction on the previous year’s deliveries. This mirrors the contraction in the construction sector over the last two consecutive quarters.

Retail distribution remains a major growth area, and the dip registered in  2016 has since been replaced by a strong recovery, sales up 40% on last year. However manufacturing remains the largest single sector user of industrial trucks, making up over a third (32%) of sales.

Commenting on the role of forklifts within the UK economy James Clark said: “Despite the continuing uncertainties around the economy and growth forecasts over the next three years, forklifts continue to be in demand, fulfilling their role as enablers of business expansion and supporters of the UK economy.”

Find the release in PDF form here and infographic here.

Former BITA Technical Manager receives US award

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Bob Hine’s contribution recognised by the Industrial Truck Association

Bob Hine, who recently retired after 10 years as BITA’s Technical Manager has been presented with a Special Industry Award from BITA’s sister organisation in the United States, the Industrial Truck Association (ITA).

The award was presented by Brett Wood, President and CEO of Toyota Materials Handling North America, and outgoing Chairman of the board of the ITA, at their recent annual meeting held in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, USA.

The award pays tribute to Bob’s work in the development of international forklift safety standards, with the citation reading:

‘In grateful recognition of his many contrbutions to the worldwide industrial truck industry during his career. His leadership and diplomacy in the development of international forklift safety standards are recognised by his peers and assocates as major accomplishments in a global industry.’

David Goss, Bob’s successor as BITA’s Technical Manager, will be continuing and extending his work in co-operation with the ITA’s Chris Merther, and presented a liaison report on European standardisation and legislative activities at the annual meeting.

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, said: “Bob is widely respected and gave many years of valued service to BITA and our members. I know that David will continue to work closely with Chris Merther of the ITA in pursuit of our mutual interests, building on and extending our relationship with them in the years to come.”

BITA Market Index – Strong forklift truck sales growth bucks uncertain economic trend

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BITA’s forklift truck Market Index shows that sales for trucks rose by 6% in the first half of 2017, recovering from a dip in 2016.

So far, 2017 has seen two quarters of growth with annualised sales in June of 32,189 units. BITA Secretary-General James Clark commented: “Despite the uncertain economic environment, forklift sales seem to have begun their recover from the downturn seen during H2 of 2016, particularly in the retail distribution sector.”

Downward trends in consumer spending have contributed to the continued fall in sales for forklifts for wholesale distribution (down 9.7%), but sales into the retail distribution sector have seen a large spike in demand (up 35.7% over the last 12 months) exceeding the year-on-year growth in online shopping.

Manufacturing remains the largest single sector user of industrial trucks and has seen a slight increase in market share with industry now making up over a third (34.9%) of sales. The increased output of UK manufacturing towards the end of 2016 helped the improving picture after a downturn in Q3.

Commenting on the role of forklifts within the UK economy James Clark said: “The economic mood has seemed increasingly uncertain with a number of factors casting doubt over UK growth. Despite this, forklifts continue to be in demand, fulfilling their role as enablers of business growth and supporters of the UK economy.”

Find the release in PDF form here and infographic here.

BITA members’ mood rises as optimism around economic prospects and orders improves

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Latest Oxford Economics forecast reveals increased confidence as fears ease around Brexit – survey undertaken before General Election date announced

The latest Forklift Truck Market Outlook for 2017, produced by Oxford Economics on behalf of BITA, reveals that member confidence has improved since the last survey in Autumn 2016 – with 85% of respondents feeling general prospects for the coming 12 months remain unchanged.

None of respondents in this latest survey said they felt ‘less optimistic’ for the next 12 months, compared to half of respondents who said this in the Autumn survey – and 15% felt prospects had improved.

However levels of optimism now, compared to the equivalent report in May 2016, are not as high. Taken across the last three Outlook reports, overall optimism was high in May 2016, taking a dip in the Autumn report, with optimism now returning in the current report, albeit at a lower level.

Attitudes to sales have also improved, with 85% of respondents saying they expected sales to either ‘rise modestly’ or ‘rise significantly’. Views on orders have also remained positive with 70% expressing that their order books are ‘modestly better than normal.’

This could reflect the strong order position prior to the referendum – as now only 15% feel their order books are ‘significantly better than normal’, down from 50% who thought this was the case in the Autumn survey.

Concerns around pricing have eased, although the expectation continues to be that prices will rise, driven by the devaluation of sterling. Only 30% now hold the opinion that prices will ‘rise significantly’ in the coming 12 months, compared to 66% who thought this previously. Prices are expected to ‘rise modestly’ by 70% of respondents.

One area where expectation has changed significantly is ‘which customer sector will show most sales in the coming 12 months’. In the Autumn survey no respondents chose ‘Retail and Wholesale firms’ as a key growth sector – in this survey 30% of respondents think this is the case.

Counterbalance orders have recovered a little after major falls registered last year, growing 3.6% year-on-year in Q1 2017. However it is not anticipated this will continue as investment – crucial to the performance of the Counterbalance market – struggles.

The warehouse segment has performed better, growing by 36% in the final quarter of 2016 – and by 5% year-on-year in Q1 of 2017. However, within Classes the picture is much more mixed. Class 2 bookings fell by 20% year-on-year in Q1. Class 3 performed much better, rising 21% in Q1 – and it is the strength of Class 3 that is holding up overall warehouse orders.

The Oxford Economics forecast for growth anticipates household consumption will rise by 1.5% this year, and just 0.5% in 2018. This will be compensated for to an extent by the weak pound increasing the competitiveness of exports, meaning GDP growth is forecast to be 1.8% this year and 1.4% next.

Jeremy Leonard, Head of Industry Services for Oxford Economics, said: “Various risk factors cloud the outlook around this report, particularly of course Brexit and the outcome of the General Election. The tone of negotiations around Brexit appear volatile – and the final outcome of negotiations will not be clear for some time.

“Market specific risks remain of secondary importance compared to Brexit, while innovation still provides grounds for optimism. Here struggling orders may create new impetus for novel product offerings or new technologies.”

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “The previous Forklift Truck Market Outlook and members’ survey showed our members’ mood moderating as Brexit uncertainty continues – and forecast overall weaker economic sentiment as the industry digested the referendum.

“However this latest Outlook and survey has demonstrated a degree of confidence among our members, with none saying they felt less optimistic for the coming 12 months. This coupled with an improved attitude to sales makes for quite an optimistic picture overall. But we shouldn’t be complacent, there is still the great unknown of Brexit to come – and there are issues around investment which are affecting Counterbalance orders which are a potential cause for concern.”

The Forklift Truck Market Outlook includes a detailed overview of sector by sector performance, both in terms of forklift product categories and customer business divisions. It is prepared for BITA by independent economic consultancy Oxford Economics and is available exclusively to BITA members as one of the key membership benefits. The next Outlook report will appear in Autumn 2017.

BITA warns against forklift truck modifications

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BITA and FLTA warn that unauthorised modifications can endanger staff and invalidate warranties

Forklift truck modifications are offered by many companies and are widely advertised, but they are far from risk free – and can have consequences for health and safety and invalidation of warranties.

BITA Secretary-General James Clark explains: “A recent presentation to our Truck Suppliers Group (TSG) clearly demonstrated the risks and dangers behind unauthorised modifications, making the point that assessment and implementation of truck modifications is a skilled task requiring detailed and specialised engineering knowledge.”

Truck modifications that are not factory approved may affect capacity, stability or safety requirements. Companies making modifications do not realise the consequences, or are not aware of their responsibilities and liabilities, should something go wrong with a modification at a later date.

There is a very clear standard for the safety requirements of industrial trucks, BS EN ISO 3691-1:2015, which states in paragraph 6.2.7.1 that ‘unauthorised truck modification is not permitted’.

“It’s not as if the regulations are hard to understand”, continues Clark. “However only the most cursory web search is required to identify companies advertising modification changes to forklift trucks, as if this were normal practice and presented no safety hazards whatsoever.”

But it isn’t only BITA that is concerned about such modifications. Fellow industry body the Fork Lift Truck Association (FLTA) is equally concerned: “This is an important industry-wide issue, and is especially important when trucks are leased,” said Peter Harvey MBE, FLTA Chief Executive.

“Unauthorised modifications or repairs – even changing tyres – could invalidate rental contracts or manufacturer warranties, leaving users to foot repair bills. So it is crucial that  those utilising lift trucks understand what they can and cannot do. Failure to do so puts them at risk of unexpected repair bills and much more. Before making any changes to the original equipment customers must consult the manufacturer or authorised dealer.”

Examples of modifications commonly being offered include mast reductions, drive-in racking modifications, and perhaps most disturbingly, truck head guard modifications. BITA’s TSG  has been provided with some examples of real concern:

  • A cab-pillar section was removed and re-welded as part of a drive in racking modification. Without knowledge of the exact material grade used in manufacture, it would be difficult or impossible to certify the welding and it is extremely doubtful whether the modification would pass an ISO 6055 impact test
  • A counterbalance truck fitted with extended 15ft-long forks, dangerously reducing stability
  • Fork-mounted ‘safe’ access platforms, advertised as though permitted for routine use
  • Hoists mounted to overhead guards, reducing strength, impeding operator visibility, and applying loads outside the design limits

These are just a few examples, in addition there are more ‘informal’ modifications such as adding additional weight (in the form of drums full of water or toolboxes filled with concrete) to increase the lifting capacity of counterbalance trucks.

“We are sure there are many more examples out there, and accidents and deaths have been linked to making unauthorised modifications that affect the safe operation of trucks”, adds Clark. “Those undertaking such work should understand that, depending on the modification, they may have inadvertently taken on the responsibilities of being the equipment manufacturer, with all the risks of prosecution and redress this entails.

“Modification of a forklift truck without the manufacturer’s approval could invalidate the warranty and the CE marking, making it difficult if not impossible to re-sell elsewhere. This is an issue to which, as an organisation which cares deeply about safety at all levels, causes us great concern”, concludes Clark.

BITA members’ mood moderates as Brexit uncertainty continues

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Latest Oxford Economics forecast reveals weaker sentiment as industry digests referendum result; but still some grounds for optimism

The latest Forklift Truck Market Outlook for 2016, produced by Oxford Economics on behalf of BITA, reveals that member confidence has softened in line with the slowing prospects for the UK economy.

Half of respondents surveyed in the Autumn considered themselves ‘less optimistic’ about the outlook for the coming 12 months, compared to just 20% who said the same back in the Spring. This is reflected in attitudes towards expected sales, with fewer respondents now in the ‘rise significantly’ and ‘rise modestly’ categories, but opinion still fairly divided.

However, despite this pessimism regarding general prospects, current order books are not yet suffering as a result, with the majority of those polled considering their ledgers to be significantly better than normal, a substantial change from earlier in the year when less than a fifth reckoned this to be the case.

Opinions on pricing were one of the most noticeable shifts in the latest report, with all respondents now expecting these to rise, compared to flatter predictions previously. This is due to a weaker currency in the wake of the EU referendum result and is also the reason why those surveyed expect higher costs to impact on profitability.

The ongoing uncertainty following the UK’s decision to vote to leave the European Union, and the subsequent lack of clarity regarding the shape of any future deal, has meant it is difficult for businesses to commit to investment while the economic landscape continues to change.

Against this backdrop, the counterbalance sector is expected to be particularly hard-hit given its dependency on such investment. Counterbalance orders fell 16.4% year-on-year in Q3, having already decreased by 5.9% in Q2.

The warehouse segment hasn’t been immune to the economic uncertainty either, but hasn’t witnessed as drastic a decline as the counterbalance sector. Class 2 bookings fell 3.1% on an annual basis, having decreased by 5.8% in Q2. Class 3 managed to grow by 8.4% in Q3, but this was something of a recovery given a 17.7% fall in the second quarter.

The Oxford Economics forecast for growth anticipates consumption staying strong in the short term (+2.8% in 2016) before slowing to 1.2% in 2017 and 0.5% in 2018. GDP growth is predicted to be 2.1% this year before slowing to 1.4% in 2017.

Jeremy Leonard, Head of Industry Services for Oxford Economics, said: “The longer term outlook should provide grounds for optimism. The migration towards online shopping should continue, even if this occurs to a smaller extent due to the increased price of importing to the UK following the sharp depreciation of the pound. Online shopping requires delivery and warehousing of goods, which should continue to drive demand for warehouse trucks.

“However, market-specific risks are expected to be second order in comparison to the greater overarching risks associated with Brexit. Innovation remains a key source for positive optimism, where new product offerings or new technologies could begin to shape the market faster than envisioned. In fact, the more challenging market environment following Brexit may be exactly the time when such innovatory changes are most likely, as firms are forced to compete more vigorously.”

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “The previous Forklift Truck Market Outlook and members’ survey portrayed an industry that was upbeat despite the shock of the referendum result and remained optimistic about future prospects. Despite the lack of real clarification from Westminster – not to mention the High Court ruling requiring MP approval to trigger Article 50 – about what form Brexit might take, the sector has become more subdued in its perspective as a result of more modest data filtering through.

“That said, it’s not all doom and gloom and there are still plenty of reasons to be cheerful – not least encouraging current order books and the continuing evolution of online shopping which should guarantee a proportion of warehouse truck orders for the foreseeable future. There are undoubtedly challenges ahead, but the materials handling industry is well equipped to adapt and innovate to overcome these obstacles.”

The Forklift Truck Market Outlook includes a detailed overview of sector by sector performance, both in terms of forklift product categories and customer business divisions. It is prepared for BITA by independent economic consultancy Oxford Economics and is available exclusively to BITA members as one of the key membership benefits. The next Outlook report will appear in Spring 2017.

 

 

Technical consultant Bob Hine to leave BITA after a decade of service

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Hine to stand down in February 2017

Bob Hine, technical consultant at BITA, is to retire in February 2017, ending an outstanding 10-year association with the trade body.

The announcement brings down the curtain on a 46-year career in the materials handling industry for Hine – a qualified engineer by trade – which included a senior position with Linde where he managed the UK and overseas service product support team.

In addition to his role with BITA, Bob also represented the British Standards Institute as a technical expert in standards-making activity across Europe and globally.

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “What Bob doesn’t know about the materials handling industry – and forklift trucks in particular – is unlikely to be worth knowing. He is an expert in the purest sense of the term and his knowledge and skill have been of immeasurable benefit to BITA over the past decade or so. While we wish him the most relaxing and fruitful of retirements, he will be sorely missed not just by the team and members of BITA, but those across the industry who have come to rely on his expertise.

“His departure also necessitates the need to source his replacement and we welcome applications from anyone who feels they have the appropriate skillset to step up to the plate. With ever-changing regulations and requirements and an uncertain economy off the back of the EU referendum result, these are exciting and dynamic times to be involved on the technical side of the materials handling industry, and the role is an excellent opportunity for the right person.”

BITA members undeterred by Brexit and remain upbeat on future prospects

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Latest Oxford Economics forecast reveals fall in forklift orders – but members are confident that longer term impact will be negligible

The latest Forklift Truck Market Outlook for 2016 produced by Oxford Economics on behalf of BITA suggests that the economic impact of Brexit might not be as significant as other forecasters are predicting.

While mindful that negative confidence shocks could still occur, Oxford Economics feels other commentators have been too pessimistic in their outlooks and that innovation in new products and technologies could lead to renewed demand in forklift trucks.

And the BITA members’ survey, which forms part of the report, shows that associates share this mindset, with the majority believing that their sales will remain unchanged over the next year and slightly longer term (three years). The consensus is that only small changes will be made to trade arrangements and that there won’t be changes to tariffs that would impede business levels.

Despite this stoicism, some of the post-referendum data makes for predictably sobering reading. Counterbalance orders fell by 17.6% in July compared to the equivalent month a year earlier. However, warehouse orders grew by almost a third (28.3%) over the same period, illustrating which channels are most likely to be impacted by Brexit.

With consumption being the key driver for warehouse truck demand – and more closely linked to consumer-facing sectors such as food and beverage manufacture rather than economic cycles – it is less likely to be impacted by any Brexit-related downturn than counterbalance trucks might be. Indeed consumption is still expected to grow by 2.4% this year, before calming to 1% in 2017.

Oxford Economics now expects GDP growth of 1.1% in 2017 and 1.5% in 2018, compared to the 2.3% and 2.2% envisaged before the referendum result became clear.

Jeremy Leonard, Head of Industry Services for Oxford Economics, said: “Our current forecasts see Brexit affecting the economy mostly through lower investment, especially in the short term. Our GDP growth forecast for 2016 is unchanged, as weaker growth in H2 is offset by the stronger than anticipated Q2, but is set to be lower in 2017 and 2018 than if Britain had voted to remain in the European Union.”

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “As the dust continues to settle on the EU referendum result and the industry has more time to digest the ramifications, the consensus seems to be that things aren’t as bad as first feared. Indeed, with no timeframe yet in place of when Article 50 might be invoked, the sector has been employing a business-as-usual attitude rather than sitting on its hands, wondering what to do next. This was particularly evident at a successful IMHX in Birmingham last week, when the prevalent mood was positive and optimistic.

“It is inevitable that there was something of a slowdown in the run-up to the referendum and that the data and forecasts for the period immediately afterwards reflected some uncertainty in the economy, but longer term there doesn’t seem any need for any undue concern provided the Government is strong and sensible in its negotiations. Indeed, the warehouse order data gives plenty of reason for good cheer and an industry that has survived bigger challenges before now such as the global financial crisis won’t be deterred by any mild discomfort caused by Brexit.”

The Forklift Truck Market Outlook includes a detailed overview of sector by sector performance, both in terms of forklift product categories and customer business divisions. It is prepared for BITA by independent economic consultancy Oxford Economics and is available exclusively to BITA members as one of the key membership benefits.

2016 Design4Safety Awards winners unveiled

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The winners of the prestigious Design4Safety Awards have been announced by BITA at IMHX 2016, recognising innovation across the materials handling industry.

Six categories acknowledged achievement in Automation, Industrial Vehicles, Racking and Storage, Technology, Warehouse Infrastructure and Goods in/Goods out.

The awards, being made for the third time, focus on improving safety standards by highlighting the importance of considering safety issues and practices right from the design stage.

Toyota Material Handling UK landed two awards, triumphing in both the Automation and Technology categories. In the former, its BT Optio OSE250 with remote drive drew praise from the judges for the fact it allowed significant improvements to safety in the workplace for order picker trucks, as well as enhancing efficiency and ease of operation. The company saw off the competition in the technology classification with its smartphone app which allows fleet managers to keep in control wherever they are.

Jungheinrich UK Ltd took the honours in the Industrial Vehicles category, with its pedestrian detection and speed control system lauded for improving safety without compromising productivity. A-Safe (UK) Ltd’s RackEye came up trumps in the Racking and Storage section, with the 24-hour monitoring device allowing companies round-the-clock monitoring of the safety and integrity of racking structures.

In the Warehouse Infrastructure category, it was STOMMPY’s GRB D120 R guardrail that most impressed judges for its ability to prevent vehicle damage to walls, structures and equipment, as well as enhancing pedestrian safety.

And last but by no means least, Hörmann triumphed in the Goods in/Goods out category with its Safety Light Grille which looks to eliminate the potential harm to people when passing under spiral and high speed doors.

BITA Secretary General James Clark said: “Safety is of utmost importance in the materials handling industry and we inaugurated the Design4Safety awards to highlight this focus and remind firms of the need to incorporate it into the engineering of their products and services from the concept stage. The variety of entries is testament to how many companies share our vision of placing safety at the heart of everything we do and the winners can be rightly proud of seeing off some stern competition.”

Winners:

  • Industrial Vehicles:

Pedestrian detection and speed control system – Jungheinrich UK Ltd

  • Automation:

BT Optio OSE250 with remote drive – Toyota Material Handling UK

  • Goods-in/Goods-out:

Safety Light Grille – Hörmann

  • Racking & Storage:

RackEye – A-Safe (UK) Ltd

  • Technology:

Toyota I_Site Smartphone app with instant alerts – Toyota Material Handling UK

  • Warehouse infrastructure:

GRB D120 R – STOMMPY

BITA Market Index – Forklift truck market enjoys strong start to 2016 before Q2 cooling

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Forklift orders started 2016 at their strongest level in recent years before softening slightly in the second quarter, according to BITA.

A recent upward trend in demand peaked in March 2016, when an annualised level of 33,400 units were ordered. This represents an 89% increase on the bottom of the market in December 2009 and highlights how strongly the industry has fought back from the global economic downturn.

The political uncertainty caused by the impending EU referendum in June caused a slight cooling of the market in quarter two – with a 10% slowdown in orders – but the market remains at historically high levels, underpinned by a number of sound fundamentals, despite the subsequent leave vote.

Despite this pause for breath, Britain appears to be recovering from the Brexit decision better than previously expected with indicators from the manufacturing sector, the building industry and consumer spending figures all confounding expectation.

 

Sector focus

Manufacturing is the largest single sector user of industrial trucks, with almost a third (33.2%) of forklifts used in this industry. This has grown slightly from 33% in 2015 and could be set for further future growth if statistics from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), are anything to go by. Manufacturers recently reported the strongest export orders in two years as the weak currency makes British goods more competitive abroad. Theoretically, this impact should only strengthen as exporters negotiate new deals based on this favourable pricing, with the CBI also reporting that 34% of businesses reported a rise in output volumes.

Transport and warehousing makes up a significant part of the ‘other’ classification which accounts for 36.6% of transactions when combined, up from 34.9% last year. There’s nothing to suggest this will change any time soon, with online giants such as Amazon and ASOS continuing to expand their operations. The former recently announced the creation of 1,500 permanent jobs at a new warehouse in Tilbury in Essex opening in spring 2017, hot on the heels of unveiling 500 positions at a warehouse in Doncaster, also slated to open next year.

The retail distribution sector has seen a steady proportional decrease over the past five years. Having accounted for 19% of transactions in 2011, this has steadily fallen to 15.7% for 2016 to date, and is consistent with the shift in consumer purchasing behaviours from the high street to online.

Wholesale distribution currently accounts for 14.5% of transactions, down from 16.4% for 2015 as a whole.

 

Truck type focus

Counterbalance trucks continue to be the most in-demand type of industrial truck, accounting for 47.3% of transactions so far in 2016, slightly down from 48.8% in 2015. Warehouse pedestrian trucks represent just more than a third of all transactions (33.8%), a slight uptick from 33.4% in 2015. Warehouse rider trucks make up less than a fifth of the market, accounting for 18% of sales in 2016 to date, up from 16.8% in 2015.

Both the counterbalance and warehouse truck market sectors remain strong with market demand from the UK’s major forklift users and especially SMEs showing a high degree of resilience.

Market growth in recent years has been particularly noticeable for electric counterbalance trucks, powered pallet trucks and for very narrow aisle models and less prominent for engine powered counterbalance trucks.

Find the release in PDF form here and infographic here.

Finalists announced for 2016 Design4Safety Awards

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The finalists for the 2016 Design4Safety Awards have now been decided across the six award categories encompassing all aspects of the materials handling industry.

 

The awards, organised by BITA, are open to all companies exhibiting at IMHX 2016, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham from 13-16 September. They are focused on designing safety into products and services with the aim being to highlight the importance of product or service design in improving safety standards. By focusing on design for safety the awards recognise innovative thinking, regardless of the type or cost of the product or service.

 

Commenting on the entries BITA Secretary General James Clark said: “We have had a fantastic range of entries for the Awards. The breadth and quality of entries shows just how seriously designers take safety, and this has made selecting the finalists a difficult task.”

 

The categories and finalists are:

 

  • Industrial Vehicles:

Tagging and checklist system – Good to Go Safety

Combi-WR Walkie Reach – Combilift Ltd

PowerMount – B&B Attachments

Guardian Stability System – Doosan Industrial Vehicle UK

WAV 60 Work Assist Vehicle – Crown Lift Trucks

G2 Engine – Doosan Industrial Vehicle UK

Safely Working with Lift Trucks Video Training Module – Mentor Training

Pedestrian detection and speed control system – Jungheinrich UK Ltd

 

  • Automation:

KASTOunicompact 3.5 – KASTO Ltd

BT Optio OSE250 with remote drive – Toyota Material Handling UK

Linde Robotics – Linde Material Handling UK Ltd

 

  • Goods-in/Goods-out:

Pallet Lid – Loadhog Ltd

Domino 400kg Automatic – Zonzini UK

Safety Light Grille – Hörmann

 

  • Racking & Storage:

Tagging and checklist system – Good to Go Safety

RackNets – Warehouse Partners

RackEye – A-Safe (UK) Ltd

Half Plastic Pallet – Nortpalet Fabrica S.L

EQ range of collapsible containers – BITO Storage Systems Limited

Rhino II – Gondola Skate Moving Systems Inc

 

  • Technology:

Toyota ISite Smartphone app with instant alerts – Toyota Material Handling UK

Crown InfoLink – Crown Lift Trucks Ltd

 

  • Warehouse infrastructure:

SLC 800 E4 Safe – LKE UK

GRB D120 R – STOMMPY

 

“We now move on to the final judging stage. Winning entries will be judged on the basis of those which provide the strongest evidence of a measurable contribution to the level of safety awareness, or rate of incident reduction achieved by the design. Good luck to all the finalists, and the winners will be announced on Thursday 15th September at the SHD Logistics Awards ceremony”, concluded James.

BITA Statistics 2016 – BITA members remain broadly optimistic on sales and wider economic prospects

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BITA members remain broadly optimistic on sales and wider economic prospects

Latest Oxford Economics forecast indicates positive outlook – and confirms  forklift sales returned to pre- recession levels in 2015

The latest Forklift Truck Market Outlook for 2016 produced by Oxford Economics on behalf of BITA indicates the UK economy’s performance broadly remaining on a positive path, but with uncertainty around the EU referendum vote looming large.

Reflecting this uncertainty, and as companies push back expansion plans waiting for the result, UK GDP growth is seen as 2% for 2016, compared to 2.3% in 2015. The UK economy continues to grow, but consumer spending is due to slow as the boost to disposable incomes as a result of falling petrol and diesel costs fades.

Industrial production continues to struggle, with a contraction of 0.2% predicted for this year, hit by recent poor performance from the construction sector. Overall, industrial activity as well as economy-wide investment is expected to remain weak, with investment growth forecast to grow 2.9% this year, compared to 4.1% in 2015.

“Regarding orders and shipments for counterbalance and warehouse trucks, most prominently 2015 was the year which finally had orders and shipments returning to pre-recession levels”, said Jeremy Leonard, Head of Industry Services for Oxford Economics. “In 2015 shipments for counterbalance trucks soared to 15,170 units, and for 2016 orders for counterbalance trucks are forecast to grow to 16,171.”

The warehouse segment was also strong, with the 2015 growth in orders being 14.1%, coming in at 17,500 units for the year, and shipments up at 15,605 units. The forecast here remains strong reflecting the shift towards more online purchasing. However again the uncertainty around a possible Brexit and stalling global economic growth is a factor.

The BITA members’ survey, which also forms part of the report, revealed a broadly optimistic outlook among members, continuing from the autumn survey.

Just over 37% of members identified themselves as more optimistic about general prospects in the coming 12 months, but there were fewer who felt the same about general prospects for 2016 compared to those surveyed in 2015. There was also a small increase in those saying they were less optimistic. But taken on balance there is a broadly optimistic outlook, but with less consensus that in 2015.

A quarter (25%) expected their company’s sales to fall modestly, but almost the exact same figure expected their sales to rise significantly.

When it comes to future growth, the retail and distribution sectors are viewed as having the most potential, with 47% of respondents predicting the most sales growth in one of these sectors in 2016. This is reflected in a stronger outlook for warehouse truck orders, although there are strong orders too on the counterbalance side consistent with a transition from extending leases to actually ordering new trucks.

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “It is great to see that, as we all hoped, 2015 was the year that forklift sales finally returned to their pre-recession levels, with sales forecast to continue their surge in 2016.

“The forecast around warehouse remains strong reflecting the continuing shift towards more online purchasing. However the uncertainty around a possible Brexit and stalling global economic growth remains a key factor.Manufacturing performance is lagging behind that of the wider economy, which could impact counterbalance orders as the year progresses.”

The Forklift Truck Market Outlook includes a detailed overview of sector by sector performance, both in terms of forklift product categories and customer business divisions. It is prepared for BITA by independent economic consultancy Oxford Economics and is available exclusively to BITA members as one of the key membership benefits.

BITA reacts to the EU referendum result

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “The past week has been tumultuous for the country as a whole, but for the forklift truck industry it is very much a case of business as usual. There will obviously be ramifications in time as the schedule for the extrication from the European Union becomes apparent, but the process could well take months or even years so until that point our members will be committed to their existing processes and relationships. Our technical work continues and we have already begun internal processes to evaluate the impact of the Leave decision on our members and will use our global technical insight and influence to not only minimise its impact, but also to pursue the most favourable UK trading conditions.

“Our sector has weathered various storms in the past such as the lengthy global financial crisis and other economic threats and emerged all the stronger for it and we are confident that the industry can adapt to the evolving political climate and continue to be successful. With 2015 seeing the sector finally return to pre-recession levels in terms of orders and shipment for counterbalance and warehouse trucks, we are keen to keep this momentum going. We look forward to discussing this and other relevant issues with our friends and colleagues from the industry at IMHX in September.”

Click here for press release

Still time to enter the Design4Safety awards 2016

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The deadline to enter the BITA Design4Safety awards has been extended to Friday 15th July to allow extra time for busy companies to submit their entries.

 

The awards are open to all companies exhibiting at IMHX 2016, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham from 13-16 September.

 

The Design4Safety awards are all about designing safety into products and services with the aim being to highlight the importance of product or service design in improving safety standards. By focusing on design for safety the awards recognise innovative thinking, regardless of the type or cost of the product or service.

 

The awards provide the opportunity to highlight the crucial safety benefits of their individual products and services, and a valuable opportunity for publicity. There are six different categories which encompass the whole materials handling industry:

 

  • Industrial Vehicles
  • Automation
  • Goods-in/Goods-out
  • Racking & Storage
  • Technology
  • Warehouse infrastructure

 

Entries must include a 150 word explanation of the how the product or service improves safety or eliminates a previously unsafe approach, and a high-resolution image, JPEG or GIF, up to 2MB. An additional supporting document alongside links to online images or video that supports the entry can also be submitted.

 

Products or services entered don’t have to be newly launched, but must be available at the time of entry and for at least six months after the awards are announced. Winning entries will be those which provide the strongest evidence of a measurable contribution to the level of safety awareness, or rate of incident reduction achieved by the design.

 

The new deadline for entries is Friday 15th July 2016 and should be submitted via the form which can be found at http://imhx.net/design4safety

 

The last winners of the awards included Hörmann’s Fork Truck Barrier, Crown Lift Trucks’ rider powered pallet truck and Sentry Protection Products’ Collision Sentry device, which alerts fork lift operators to potential collision risks in warehouses. Why not join them?

Tim Waples appointed as new BITA President

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Tim Waples, Vice President and CEO of Doosan Industrial Vehicles UK Group Companies has been appointed as the new President of the British Industrial Truck Association, formally receiving the badge of office at BITA’s recent AGM.

 

Tim is no stranger to BITA having previously been President from 2010-12 – and is a major figure in the industry. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the role – and with 30 years’ experience he has seen every aspect of the business.

 

Tim began his career as a mechanical engineering apprentice, and has risen to become Vice President and CEO of Doosan Industrial Vehicle UK Group Companies, where he has overseen the acquisition of Rushlift Ltd.

 

He succeeds David Rowell as President, the only President in BITA’s history to serve two consecutive terms. As well as playing a major role at European level, perhaps the major legacy of David’s time in office, has been the BITA Academy – the first time there has been a joint body for apprenticeships across the industry.

 

Commenting on his appointment Tim said: “It is a real honour to be asked to take up the post of President, especially for a second time. I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor and all his hard work, and during my time in office I will look to build on this work particularly in the area of statistics, as BITA is the only official source of UK industrial trucks statistics.

 

“I’ll also be looking to further develop the Oxford Economics Market report which I know so many members find invaluable to their planning and budgeting, as well as developing and strengthening our relationship with the FLTA. Add to this working with our apprentices, and the development of technical policy means there is plenty for me to do in the year ahead.”

 

James Clark, Secretary General of BITA said: “Tim is a prime example of how, for anyone committed and prepared to work hard, a career in the materials handling industry can provide a pathway to senior management. I would like to welcome him as President and say how much I am looking forward to working with him again.”

Time to enter the Design4Safety awards 2016

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BITA is once again organising the Design4Safety awards which make their welcome return at IMHX 2016, taking place at the NEC in Birmingham from 13-16 September.

 

The awards, which take place every three years, are all about designing safety into products and services with their aim being to highlight the importance of product or service design in improving safety standards. By focusing on ‘design for safety’ the awards recognise innovative thinking, regardless of the type or cost of the product or service.

 

All IMHX exhibitors can enter the awards, which provide the opportunity to highlight the crucial safety benefits of their individual products and services, and there are six different categories which encompass the whole materials handling industry. These are:

 

  • Industrial Vehicles
  • Automation
  • Goods-in/Goods-out
  • Racking & Storage
  • Technology
  • Warehouse infrastructure

 

Entries must include a 150 word explanation of the how the product or service improves safety or eliminates a previously unsafe approach, a high-resolution image, JPEG or GIF, up to 2MB, one additional supporting document and links to online images or video that support the entry.

 

Products or services entered don’t have to be newly launched, but must be available at the time of entry and for at least six months after the awards are announced. Winning entries will be those which provide the strongest evidence of a measurable contribution to the level of safety awareness, or rate of incident reduction, achieved by the design.

 

The deadline for entries is 31st May 2016 and should be submitted via the form which can be found at http://imhx.net/design4safety

 

 

 

Winners in 2013 included Hörmann’s Fork Truck Barrier, Crown Lift Trucks’ rider powered pallet truck and Sentry Protection Products’ Collision Sentry device, which alerts fork lift operators to potential collision risks in warehouses. Why not join them?

BITA Statistics 2015 – BITA members optimistic on economic prospects and sales

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BITA members optimistic on economic prospects and sales

Latest Oxford Economics forecast indicates positive outlook

BITA members are optimistic about the economic outlook for the forklift truck sector, with the UK economy exceeding expectations and GDP growth revised upwards.

The latest qualitative survey, carried out for BITA by Oxford Economics, indicates that the majority of respondents expect market conditions to remain constant, 17% thought they would improve, and none expected conditions to deteriorate.

The members’ survey, which is a key part of BITA’s exclusive biannual economic forecast for the forklift sector, shows that when it comes to expected sales the vast majority of BITA members are expecting orders to rise modesty (83%) or significantly (17%) – with none expecting sales to fall. Regarding forklift prices, 83% expected that prices would rise modestly, reflecting growing demand.

The broader economic survey revises upwards the forecast for UK GDP growth, from 2.7% to 2.8% which gives the UK the highest forecast growth of all the G7 countries, including the US.

Jeremy Leonard, Oxford Economics’ Head of Industry Services said: “We expect that 2015 will be the year when total shipments finally break through the pre-recession sales peak, with total shipments of 30,399 units forecast, representing a growth of 10%. Orders are also forecast to grow by 6.8% to a total of 32,087, above their 2007 peak.”

Performance in the warehouse sector is the real success story. In 2014 total warehouse shipments grew by 11.5% compared to the forecast of 10.2% and orders came in ahead of expectations at 17.5% versus the 11.7% forecast. This has resulted in the forecast for 2015 being upgraded as consumers’ rising disposable income, related to falling petrol and energy costs, has facilitated increased spending so boosting online shopping and driving the warehouse and distribution sectors.

In comparison counterbalance shipments since the last report have been relatively disappointing, but this comes off the back of previous strong growth. In 2014 shipments grew by 6.1% compared to the forecast of 6.9%. This has resulted in the forecast for 2015 being downgraded slightly, but counterbalance orders and shipments are expected to begin picking up in the second half of 2015 as the improving economy drives new orders and confidence expands in manufacturing, key to counterbalance orders.

James Clark, Secretary-General of BITA, comments: “The forklift sector is reflecting the wider sentiment that the economy is improving and the much more positive economic outlook. Hopefully this really will be the year that total shipments exceed the pre-recession sales peak.

“The contrast between counterbalance and warehouse bookings is interesting as warehouse surges ahead off the back of the continued growth of online shopping and rising disposable income. Manufacturing confidence seems to be lagging behind that of the economy generally but hopefully as this improves we will see counterbalance shipments beginning to climb, supported by the new generation of ultra-low emission trucks coming through, and hybrid versions which can be used inside and out.”

The Forklift Truck Market Outlook includes a detailed overview of sector by sector performance, both in terms of forklift product categories and customer business divisions. It is prepared for BITA by independent economic consultancy Oxford Economics and is available exclusively to BITA members as one of the key membership benefits.

BITA Statistics 2014 – BITA announces leap in forklift truck sales

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BITA announces leap in forklift truck sales

The second quarter of 2014 has seen an 18% quarter-on-quarter rise in forklift trucks sales, with 7,851 sales recorded in Q2 2014 compared to 6,615 for the same quarter of 2013 – a total increase in sales of 1,236 trucks.

There has been a 6% rise in sales in Q2 2014 alone compared to Q1 of this year. The total orders placed for the first half of this year are 15,261 trucks compared to the 13,227 orders placed in the first half of 2013, an increase of 15% compared to the same period last year.

The figures are taken from BITA’s unique members-only database of industrial truck sales statistics, and outperformed the sales prediction contained in the BITA 2014 Economic Forecast presented at the organisation’s recent AGM.

They were driven by particularly strong warehouse sales, which showed a 31% increase from Q1 to Q2 2013 and an overall 15% increase compared to the first half of 2013. This reflects the prediction contained in the Forecast that continuing e-commerce development in the UK, which has the greatest e-commerce penetration rate in Europe, would have a positive effect on both transport and distribution sectors.

Further afield, according to World Industrial Truck Statistics (WITS) annual orders in the global industrial truck market exceeded one million units for the first time in 2013, with global shipments expected to exceed one million in 2014.

Commenting on the UK figures BITA President David Rowell said: “If demand continues to grow at a similar rate for the rest of 2014 we could well be on target for sales of 30,000 for the year – almost back to the psychologically significant 32,000 figure recorded in 2007 before the economic downturn of 2008.”

These figures come despite a surprise fall in industrial production recorded by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) with falls of 1.3% in manufacturing and an estimated 1.1% fall in construction industry output.

“It is fair to say that we are now well into recovery, leaving behind us the economic doldrums of 2009 when industry orders dropped below 18,000. The anticipated return to near pre-recession demand levels has taken longer than originally forecast and is big news for the UK materials handling industry.  Economic indicators elsewhere are less favourable, but after several years of cautious optimism we can now afford to be more optimistic”, concluded Rowell.

Positive economic forecast revealed at 2015 BITA AGM

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BITA President David Rowell shares highlights from the recent BITA AGM, including a positive economic forecast.

 

When BITA’s board and members gathered in Stratford-upon-Avon on Friday 8th May, for our 30th Annual General Meeting, I’m pleased to report that the already positive atmosphere was confirmed by the unveiling of the 2015 Forklift Truck Market Outlook.

This is supplied exclusively to BITA members and produced by Oxford Economics, a leading global company providing independent analysis for decision makers seeking external opinions and evidence-based research.

UK economic performance

The Outlook was presented by Jeremy Leonard, Oxford Economics’ Head of Industry Services, and the forecasts contained good news for BITA members, with the UK economy’s performance exceeding expectations since the last report, despite some weak Q1 data. As a result, the forecast for UK GDP growth has been revised slightly upward from the last report to 2.8% compared to the 2.7% previously forecast, which makes it the highest forecast growth of all the G7 countries, including the US.

“We expect that 2015 will be the year when total shipments finally break through the pre-recession sales peak, with total shipments of 30,399 units forecast, representing a growth of 10%. Orders are also forecast to grow by 6.8% to a total of 32,087, above their 2007 peak”, commented Leonard.

Performance in the warehouse sector is the real success story. In 2014 total warehouse shipments grew by 11.5% compared to the forecast of 10.2% and orders came in ahead of expectations at 17.5% versus the 11.7% forecast. This has resulted in the forecast for 2015 being upgraded as consumers’ rising disposable income, related to falling petrol and energy costs, has facilitated increased spending so boosting online shopping and driving the warehouse and distribution sectors.

In comparison counterbalance shipments since the last report have been relatively disappointing. In 2014 shipments grew by 6.1% compared to the forecast of 6.9%. This has resulted in the forecast for 2015 being downgraded slightly, but counterbalance orders and shipments are expected to begin picking up in the second half of 2015 as the improving economy drives new orders and confidence expands in manufacturing, key to counterbalance orders.

BITA members’ survey

The Oxford Economics report also includes a bi-annual survey of BITA members themselves, which revealed the optimistic outlook among members continuing from the autumn survey.

The majority of respondents expect general market conditions to remain constant in the coming 12 months, while approximately 17% thought conditions would improve. None expected conditions to deteriorate. The main sectors which members expected would be the mainstay of growth were from consumer facing and transportation sectors such as retail and wholesale, food and tobacco and transport and storage firms.

Looking at their own firms’ sales respondents were very optimistic, with all respondents expecting either modest (83%) or significant (17%) growth in sales, with significant growth being defined as above 10%. Regarding forklift prices, 83% expected that prices would rise modestly, reflecting growing demand.

For the second time this survey included a question on the extent of substitution away from diesel engine trucks towards electric motive power. BITA members’ responses to this question suggest that this is happening, with 50% of respondents saying they had noticed some substitution, reflecting tighter legislation around diesel engines and a growing awareness of the environmental impact of diesel trucks.

Consolidated apprenticeship scheme

BITA Secretary General James Clark gave a presentation on the apprenticeship scheme for the industry, developed in partnership with our colleagues in the Fork Lift Truck Association, outlining a positive picture of the scheme as it continues to develop and grow.

Rob Fisher of Informa also gave a presentation outlining progress around next year’s IMHX show taking place from 13-16 September 2016 at Birmingham’s NEC – with this event looking as if it could be the biggest yet.

Once again this year’s chosen charity was Transaid, with £2,070raised for this very worthy cause by members at the BITA Ball held the same evening.

BITA announces two new Board appointments

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BITA has made two new key appointments to the BITA Board, Stan Harris of Linde Material Handling, and Jan Lorenz of Jungheinrich.

 

Harris, Managing Director of Linde East and Scotland has been with Linde for approaching a decade. He brings a wealth of experience to his new role, which involves Board responsibility for the BITA Academy through which the industry’s joint apprenticeship scheme is run.

 

As well as his senior position with Linde, Harris has also been a Director of Scottish Premiership football club St Johnstone for over nine years.

 

Commenting on his appointment he said: “I was an apprentice engineer myself and I passionately believe that bringing young people into our industry is not only vital but our duty. Demonstrating that an interesting and rewarding career is available in a growing sector is an important part of this. Offering a clear career path through the industry’s joint apprenticeship scheme, run via the BITA Academy, is something I am looking forward to getting involved in.”

 

Jan Lorenz joined the BITA board last year after his appointment as Managing Director of Jungheinrich UK, and brings with him 10 years’ experience with the Jungheinrich Group in a variety of management roles. He will be responsible for the Truck Suppliers’ Group (TSG), which includes virtually all of the companies supplying industrial trucks in the UK today, and examines the range of issues and policies which affect manufacturers and distributors.

 

He said: “The TSG plays an important role in drawing together industrial truck suppliers across the UK to discuss common issues and challenges. It is also key to ensuring manufacturers and distributors are represented in relation to the issue and policies which impact on them, and making sure they have a voice.”

 

Commenting on the appointments James Clark, Secretary General of BITA said: “I would like to welcome Stan and Jan to the Board – they are both hugely experienced and will bring a wealth of knowledge of the industry to bear for the benefit of all BITA members. I very much look forward to working with them both in the future.”