The tense wait was over for individuals and companies across the globe as the Fork Lift Truck Association revealed the winners of its 21st annual Awards for Excellence.
A sell out audience of key industry figures attended the black-tie event at The International Centre in Telford to discover just who would be taking home an Archie – the materials handling industry’s most hotly-contested prize.
The FLTA got proceedings off to a ‘bang’ with a rousing performance from the Bugles, Pipes and Drums of the First Battalion, the Royal Irish Regiment, followed by a lively fireworks display.
Big product category winners on the night included Practical Warehouse Solutions for its StockSafe pallet stacking frame (Environment), Combilift for its Rotating Operator Console (Ergonomics), Linde for its electronic Safety Pilot (Safety) and Translift Bendi for its B310 OP Order Picker (Innovation)… each having triumphed in a record-breaking online public vote.
The evening’s warmest cheers were reserved for the announcement of individual winners. FLTA President Martyn Fletcher took an Archie for his Services to the Association, while Thorough Examination pioneer Chas Day received the Services to the Fork Lift Truck Industry Award for his work at the Thorough Examination accrediting body CFTS.
In a fitting climax to the event, industrial truck designer and entrepreneur Robert Moffett of Combilift became the tenth recipient of the FLTA’s highest honour: the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The judging panel was so impressed by the calibre of nominations for the Apprentice of the Year Award, that it honoured a runner-up, Ben Feehan of Linde Material Handling, as well as a winner, Jamie Walsh of Rack-N-Stak.
The highly sought-after and fiercely-contested Supplier of the Year Award, voted for exclusively by Members of the FLTA, was finally secured by FB Chain.
A demonstration of real technical excellence – to deliver bespoke solutions in two different applications – saw Mitsubishi dealership Bristol Forklifts awarded the Customer Focus Award.
G’s Fresh Beetroot was named “Safe Site”, in recognition of significant improvements to fork lift truck safety on site, as well as the firm’s ongoing focus on pedestrian safety.
This year’s shortlist was so impressive that – in a break from tradition – the FLTA chose to commend every single one. The illustrious eight include: Babcock International, Dailycer UK, Heineken Hereford, Metsä Wood UK, NHS National Services Scotland, Nestlé UK, Preston Technical and Tulip.
Since its inception in 1995, the Awards shortlist has served as a “Pick of the Year” for materials handling products and services, rewarding those who strive to raise standards throughout the fork lift truck industry.
Hosted by broadcaster Jonny Gould, Awards were presented through the course of the evening by representatives from each of the event’s Sponsors, including: B&B Attachments; BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions; Combilift; Crown Lift Trucks, Doosan Industrial Vehicle UK; Investec Asset Finance; Manbat Industrial Power Systems, Rivermore Asset Finance, Trelleborg Wheel Systems and Yale Europe Materials Handling.
At the after-show party, the capacity crowd networked and danced into the small hours with music from The Party Rockers.
Peter Harvey, FLTA chief executive, said: “This year’s Awards for Excellence has – without a doubt – been our most rewarding and successful show to date.
“The evening was bigger and better than ever before – beginning with a reception lit by fireworks before we were led into our brand new venue by bagpipers, buglers and drummers for a fabulous evening of entertainment…
“But what really made this year stand out was the particularly high quality of entries across the board. We had a very strong field of Finalists – and such a tight vote – that winning any of these categories is a real achievement.
“Every one of our Finalists represents a significant advance in fork lift truck development – making operations safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly for generations to come.
“We are proud to not only recognise, but reward all their efforts.”
Below follows a full list of winners, their categories and Award Sponsors:
Award Category, Winner, Sponsor
Apprentice of the Year, Jamie Walsh Rack-N-Stak, Crown Lift Trucks
Services to the Association, Martyn Fletcher, Rivermore Asset Finance
Services to the Fork Lift Truck Industry, Chas Day, Investec Asset Finance
Supplier of the Year, FB Chain, Yale Europe Materials Handling
Customer Focus Award, Bristol Forklifts, Combilift Ltd
Safe Site, G’s Fresh Beetroot, Doosan Industrial Vehicle UK Ltd
Environment, Practical Warehouse Solutions, B&B Attachments Ltd
Ergonomics, Combilift, Manbat Industrial Power Systems
Safety, Linde Material Handling UK, Trelleborg Wheel Systems
Innovation, Translift Bendi, BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions Ltd
Lifetime Achievement, Robert Moffett Combilift, Presented by Handling & Storage Solutions
Additional information about the Fork Lift Truck Association and its activities can be found by visiting www.fork-truck.org.uk or calling 01635 277577.