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Improve Productivity, Safety & Sustainability with the Right Lift Truck

Steven LaFevers, Vice President of Emerging Technology at Hyster

Having the right equipment in your warehouse can not only boost productivity, but also increase worker safety and meet sustainability goals. We chatted with Steven LaFevers, Vice President of Emerging Technology at Hyster, about the company’s line of lift trucks, including how using the truck’s data can boost efficiency and finding the best truck for your company.

You offer a wide range of forklift trucks. What makes your trucks unique?

Our expansive line of lift trucks can be found around the world in nearly every type of materials handling operation. Our 90-year history is not the only thing that sets us apart. Instead, we think it’s our pioneering spirit leading us toward the future. We evolve to help our customers meet their industry challenges with tough trucks and forward-thinking solutions. We apply intelligent design to our lift trucks, constantly focusing on emerging technology, such as integrating robotics into our trucks and designing industry-exclusive driver care and ergonomic features. We are also at the forefront of incorporating alternative power solutions, including hydrogen and lithium-ion batteries. In fact, Hyster offered the first commercially available UL recognized lithium-ion battery pack in the lift truck industry; it’s available on the W45ZHD.  

With so many options, can you help companies find the right truck for their business?

We know that fleet operators and warehouse decision-makers must do more with less space—and with fewer resources. Lift trucks need to be dynamic, data-driven and operator-friendly. Finding the best fit involves fully assessing the tasks, environment, load weight, maximum lift height and other specific needs of the operation. Our Product Selector tool can help focus the search and provide specifications to inform the right decision. In addition, our experts help organizations determine the best motive power options based on operational needs, goals and workforce habits through our Power Match service. Currently, our power offerings include lithium-ion battery, hydrogen fuel cell, lead-acid battery and internal combustion engine (ICE).

How can companies measure the total cost of ownership for purchasing new equipment? 

The sticker price is an important factor in determining the cost of ownership, but it’s not the only one. Factors, such as depreciation, maintenance and fuel costs, can significantly increase total ownership costs. That’s where Hyster really stands out. Hyster® trucks are engineered to be dependable and durable, meaning fewer repairs, and less downtime for users to remain productive. And whether they are diesel, propane or electric, Hyster trucks are made to perform with peak energy efficiency. When it comes time for maintenance, each truck offers intuitive, intelligently designed serviceability.

How important is the issue of workplace safety, and how do your trucks address this issue?

Hyster not only promotes safety through our Best-in-Class operator training programs but also considers safety in every aspect of the forklift design. The ability to design for improved safety comes from our 90 years of experience in the materials handling industry and from integrating available technology into Hyster lift trucks. Then we put our trucks through rigorous functional and durability testing, reliability development and controlled field tests.

What sort of features exist to aid in driver safety and comfort?

Hyster engineers aim to design every lift truck to help improve safety, efficiency and productivity outcomes. Our ergonomic experts help us engineer features for operators that focus on easier ingress and egress, improved foot space, better body position and enhanced visibility. The result is operator comfort—leading to more productivity, even in intense operations and the toughest environments. From noise reduction to driver visibility to seat cushioning and adjustability, our lift trucks are designed with the operator in mind.

How do your trucks improve efficiency?

Data is at the center of our efficiency efforts. Our teams are using innovative technologies that transform lift trucks into mobile data centers to collect even more useful information. Telematics plays a large role in helping equip operations with actionable performance data that can help reduce risks. The Hyster Tracker mobile app, a first of its kind, provides near-real-time fleet utilization metrics and notifications when events like impacts or errors on pre-shift safety checklists occur. Smart dashboards make large data sets and information more manageable via smartphones, eliminating the need to get to a laptop or workstation for critical information and site analysis. Managing a fleet of lift trucks and their operators effectively can mean the difference between improving uptime and return on investment, or potentially overlooking critical equipment and workforce needs.

How does your support and service model differ from that of your competition?

We work to help our parts stay competitively priced and well-engineered for dependability. The outcome is high-quality, Hyster-approved OEM parts that potentially extend service life and can help reduce failure. Stringent testing of every part from every supplier, with ongoing conformance testing, allows Hyster-approved parts to perform when they make it to the field. In addition, our full line of remanufactured parts meets the same strict quality standards as new parts and is covered by our standard UNISOURCE™ limited warranty—all of which leads to value. Convenient online access to all parts and products and a choice of shipping solutions, from normal stocking orders to our Lightning Express-24/7 same-day ship program, help Hyster dealers get our customers the right parts when they need them. 

Do you offer an environmentally friendly line of forklifts for companies looking to be more sustainable?

We design and manufacture a range of environmentally friendly lift trucks that include zero-emission electric models to ICEs with the lowest emissions in the industry. Our electric lift trucks are operational in notoriously heavy-duty industries–such as lumber, dockyards, masonry, food preparation and handling, heavy manufacturing and recycling–that traditionally could not take advantage of zero-emission electric lift trucks. And Hyster lift truck models meet or exceed California Air Resources Board (CARB) and EPA requirements. According to testing for the EPA and CARB, our lift trucks’ emissions are among the lowest of any truck in the industry. At Hyster, we produce forklifts that help your operation improve air quality, reduce energy consumption, reduce waste and increase recycling. We believe our products and manufacturing processes should facilitate sustainability in our customers’ businesses and in ours as well. We have implemented many green initiatives into our manufacturing plants and have won environmental and green awards for leading the way in sustainability. WMHSH

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