Much is often commented about the new technology being fitted to forklift trucks to help improve reliability and uptime. It is heartening to know then that a similar level of investment is being made by Barloworld Handling in service network technology that helps support these trucks in the field. After-all, professional servicing and care of equipment is just as crucial in order to maintain their uptime, safety and performance.
Barloworld Handling is a leading supplier of materials handling equipment and the exclusive UK distributor for Hyster. It maintains over 30,000 lift trucks in the UK and works for many high profile customers including the MoD for which it maintains over 4500 units across over 600 establishments.
Barloworld's recent strategy has been to re-organise and invest in the latest technology to help efficiency and to deliver exceptional service standards to its growing customer base. Barloworld was the first forklift service company to invest in a cutting-edge SAP based service management system which integrates with mobile palm top systems employed by all its engineers. The GPRS enabled palm tops provide technicians with real-time access to their service diary, fleet history, full parts schematics and the ability to check parts availability and order on-line.
Alan Dunne, National Service Manager for Barloworld Handling explains “Our investment in technology provides engineers with faster and wider access to key information. This will benefit our customers through reduction of error and maximising our first time fix capability”.
Barloworld has expanded its National Service Centre in Abingdon to handle all service calls from customers who run national fleets. This centralised 'hub' logs all calls and maintains a complete history of events allowing fast and effective resolution to any service related issue. Because Barloworld operates nationwide and only employs its own engineers, customers can be sure of receiving a consistent and measured response wherever they are based. Once a call is logged a service request is sent to a local despatcher who identifies the best technician to respond based on availability and skills. This means both a faster and more effective response is achieved.
To assist despatchers, Barloworld has recently invested heavily in a web-based vehicle tracking system for its 550 service vehicles. The state-of-the-art system has been fitted to the entire fleet to help boost efficiency. With live tracking over the web, despatchers are able to immediately assign the nearest engineer according to the skills required and improve planning so that routes and schedules are optimised. The tracking system also provides benefits to security and safety allowing quick retrieval of stolen vehicles and safe driving monitoring.
“Since we started equipping our vehicles with the tracker the benefits have become evident very quickly with improved service and productivity” says Alan Dunne “This was illustrated during the recent floods which badly effected UK industry. With live tracking over the web our despatchers were able to guide our engineers and find the quickest route to the next service call.”
All Barloworld's vans are stocked with the most commonly needed parts demanded by local industry. If a repair requires any additional part, technicians can place orders through their palm top system to Barloworld's National Parts Centre in Birmingham. The parts centre offers over 93% off-the-shelf parts availability for all types and brands of lift truck and any order received before 5.30pm will be despatched overnight directly to the technicians service van or customers own premises. This means the engineer begins the day ready stocked with the parts needed to complete any repair. Any part not in stock at Barloworld's National Parts Centre can normally be obtained within 24 hours through its sophisticated supply chain.
As industries strive for continuous improvement and cost reduction, it is even more crucial that companies check the detail of their service provision. With satisfaction levels reaching over 96% in a recent survey, Barloworld believes that its service operation is now the new benchmark in lift truck service support.
Barloworld is the largest independent distributor of lift trucks in the world with operations covering the UK, Holland, Belgium, South Africa and the US (South East). As the UK's exclusive distributor of Hyster equipment since 1956, Barloworld maintains nearly 30,000 lift trucks in all types of UK industry.
Barloworld provides a complete range of counterbalance and warehousing equipment with superior support, advice and value added services through its network of 1,200 support staff including 600 engineers nationwide.
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