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Briggs Equiptment UK announces future plans

Following a comprehensive review of its business operations, Cannock-based Briggs Equipment UK has announced its development plans for the next 12 months. These plans include extensions to the company’s product offering, to be launched to the wider public at the IMHX exhibition in March, and the installation of a new £4.3m IT system in June. The company has also entered into consultation with staff on a programme to better match workforce capacity to customer needs.

Formerly the materials handling division of Finning UK, the company was purchased by Sammons Enterprises, Inc. last September. Briggs is the UK’s sole national Cat® Lift Truck distributor.

The new Lawson M3 IT system will deliver significant benefits and efficiencies to customers by enabling Briggs to provide a fully integrated service. The system, which will come on stream in June this year, will provide Briggs with a common business platform and eradicate unnecessary duplication in business processes. Its comprehensive functions include inventory management, parts ordering and sales, as well as rental fleet availability and movement control.

“The new IT system is the best-fit solution for our business and is a key step in our progress toward becoming a more customer focussed organisation,” says Richard Close, CEO of Briggs.

Briggs will also be revealing its latest ranges of fork lift trucks at March’s IMHX 2007 exhibition, in Birmingham. The two ranges on display will be the latest low-cost, high performance model of company’s 8-16t diesel counterbalance range, as well as examples of the new NR-N reach truck range. The new designs are the direct result of research and development and constant dialogue with truck operators to gain a real understanding of the improvements that will make the greatest impact on their needs and performance.

As a result of its January business review, Briggs Equipment has also announced a planned reduction in its UK workforce. “Briggs’ newer materials handling vehicles require significantly reduced levels of servicing. This is good news for customers but it does mean that capacity, particularly within our field service engineering teams, is now greater than needed. We have to make sure that Briggs becomes a more profitable business, whilst remaining cost competitive. This is the only way of achieving the investment necessary to deliver our objectives of providing more flexibility for customers and value added consultancy that enables fleet managers to do more with less. We can reduce our headcount without any reduction in the quality of service,” says Richard Close.

As any redundancies will come from the company’s national network of field engineers there will be no concentration of job losses in any one particular location or area. A significant proportion of the job losses will be accounted for by voluntary redundancy and some natural wastage.

“Briggs Equipment is fully committed to meaningful consultation with employee representatives and individuals and we shall be offering any staff affected comprehensive support in terms of career counselling and financial advice. We will also contact regional job centres and seek to identify new opportunities within our parent company’s US operations,” continues Close.

Founded in 1938, Sammons Enterprises is a multi-faceted holding corporation that owns and operates businesses across a diverse range of industries. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, in the United States, with assets in excess of $30 billion, Sammons ranks among the largest privately owned companies in the world.

Sammons Enterprises is comprised of a diversified portfolio of investments, including wholly-owned and affiliated businesses in industries such as financial services, equipment distribution, hospitality-real estate, health sciences and technology services among others. www.sammonsenterprises.com

Briggs Equipment UK (formerly the materials handling division of Finning UK) supplies materials handling equipment including counterbalance and warehouse trucks to the retail, warehousing and logistics industry in the UK. Briggs Equipment UK is the sole distributor of MCFE.BV for the Cat branded lift trucks in the UK. Briggs Equipment UK offers purchase, lease and rental options for new and used trucks, plus custom build if required. The company provides expert customer tailored solutions to equipment needs as well as advice, technical service and support. www.briggsequipment.co.uk,

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