Park Logisitics - Creating Supply Chain Solutions

Park Logistics - Creating supply Chain Solutions

Creating Supply Chain Solutions
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Fork trucks – Specialist – COMBILIFT

Celebrating fifteen years in business in 2013, Combilift is the acknowledged world leader when it comes to providing safe and space saving handling solutions for long and bulky loads. Since the company launched its first C4000 4-way model in 1998 – the world’s first IC engine-powered all-wheel-drive multidirectional forklift – it has continually expanded its portfolio. Combilift has sold over 20,000 units in more than 75 countries since it was established and has won major awards for its products. As well as its diverse range of 4-way trucks with capacities from 2.5 to 25t, Combilift also offers narrow aisle articulated Aisle-Master trucks for the space saving storage of palletised goods, and cost effective solutions for oversized loads and containers in the form of the Straddle Carrier. MD Martin McVicar spoke to Warehouse News about the latest developments from this trailblazing company.  


WLN – First of all, what does your role involve day to day? Has it changed since last year?

My role hasn’t really changed since we last spoke. I am still very actively involved in all aspects of the business from RD to traveling around the world to consolidate partnerships with our global dealer network – we are now active in over 75 countries. I also make a point of regularly visiting customers in all the various industry sectors we supply as their feedback continues to be a crucial factor in our consistent growth.

WLN – 2013 – How was it for you?

In a nutshell, very busy and successful! We will have produced in excess of 3,000 units by the end of the year across the Combilift and Aisle-Master range. We reached a milestone of fifteen years in business in 2013, took on more staff in the factory in Monaghan to keep pace with increased demand and won two major awards.

WLN – How has the Specialist Trucks category been performing this year? What do you see as the most significant recent developments?

Our sales figures prove that this market continues to thrive. The ability to do more, safely, with fewer pieces of equipment is a very attractive proposition from many points of view: lower capital investment due to a smaller fleet, reduced overheads, lower insurance, maintenance and training costs – these are just some of the reasons why more and more companies are opting for our products. Another benefit which has led to sustained growth is the straightforward design, ease of maintenance and short term return on investment that our products guarantee.

WLN – Have you moved into any new business areas in the last 12 months?

We launched the Combi-WR Walkie Reach model at IMHX which was followed by the 4-way version of this – the Combi-WR4 – at Ligna in Hanover in May. These models have been shortlisted in the Ergonomic and Safety categories for the FLTA’s 2014 awards. Our first pedestrian reach stacker will widen scope for us in areas such  as back of store retail operations where lighter palletised loads need to be manoeuvred safely in narrow confines. As with may of our new products the development of this was based on feedback from customers and we have already received significant orders for these models in the UK. It is the only pedestrian reach stacker which can work in an aisle-width of 2.1m pallet to pallet and offers a safer working environment for the operator who remains at the side of the unit rather than between the rear and the racking when placing and picking in the aisles.


WLN – Have you made any changes or investments to your business this year?  

We have moved production of the Straddle Carrier to a dedicated manufacturing facility 10 miles from our main forklift production site. This means that we can keep up  with the growing demand for the SC and have freed up space in Monaghan to keep pace with orders for our other Combilift and Aisle-Master models. When it comes to investment, 7% of our annual turnover is reinvested in RD, enabling us to stay at the forefront of innovation on our sector.

WLN – How are your existing products and services doing? Have you developed or upgraded them recently?

The whole of our range is doing well and we constantly develop and upgrade our products. The core C series is still a best seller and the counterbalance design Combi-CB is very popular thanks to its ability to handle pallets as well as long loads. The Aisle-Master range has had a very good year as customers such as Eddie Stobart change to Aisle-Master from other articulated makes and some new standard options in this range now include a pre-height selector. The Aisle-Master cold store model is also receiving increased attention from the sector in the UK as well as Europe.

WLN – Have you launched any new products or services, and how are they performing?

As well as the Combi-WR another significant introduction this year was the new 4-wheeled two directional sideloader. Overheating during prolonged operation is a common problem with many sideloaders but Combilift has counteracted any risk of this by incorporating a single Bosch Rexroth variable piston hydrostatic drive motor coupled with a rugged and proven JCB differential axle as used on the JCB 3CX backhoe model. Orders for this so far show that once again that we have tapped into market potential.

WLN – What’s been your company’s single biggest achievement in business this year?

I’d prefer to think of one of the major events this year – our fifteenth anniversary – as a culmination of our achievements since Robert Moffett [Technical Director] and I set up Combilift in 1998. Fifteen years in business is, granted, not a very long time compared with some milestones, but what we have done in this period is extremely noteworthy. Our Combilift and Aisle-Master products have revolutionised handling and storage procedures across a wide range of industry sectors. Starting with just a small number of employees and one core model we now have the most extensive range on offer from one specialist manufacturer and we are one of the largest employers in the region.

Comblift-Logo-vector-C87-M25-Y100-K13WLN – Do you operate in any other countries besides the UK? How are you getting on there? Have you gone into any new territories recently?

50% of our sales come from the UK, USA, Germany and France and we have also seen recent expansion in the Far East, Central and South American markets. After initial reluctance we have now entered the Chinese market, which was first prompted by the requirements of customers using our products in manufacturing facilities in Europe wanting to replicate existing handling procedures in new facilities there.

WLN – Have you won any awards recently, or been accredited to any new standards?

The Aisle-Master cold store model was the winner in the 2013 Innovation Category at the FLTA Awards and Combilift was named as one of the Best Managed Companies in March this year at the Deloitte Awards. This brings the number of major awards that we have won to well over a dozen, and it is always gratifying to see the expertise of the Combilift team recognised in this way.

Combi-WRWLN – Are you exhibiting at any major trade shows in 2014?

We generally attend around 40 major logistics and end user trade fairs around the world so next year will be as busy as ever. We start in Europe with Logimat in February, we are at Modex in the USA in March and in April we are exhibiting at Multimodal at the NEC for the first time. As usual we will have a large outdoor stand at CeMAT and this flagship show will feature live demos and the very popular Combi-CB dance.

WLN – What other headline news from Combilift can our readers look forward to reading about in Warehouse Logistics News next year?

As you know we keep our new developments closely under wraps but in keeping with out reputation for innovation there will be plenty of news from Combilift in 2014!

Phone: 00353 47 80500

UK Phone: 07870 976 758



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