'Global innovation matched with local action' has been the key to a revolution in the way Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks does business in the UK. The changes have involved a radical switch from a distributor-based operation to one that puts dealers in direct communication with the parent company's European base at Almere in the Netherlands. As a result – and thanks to the introduction of high-speed online systems – dealers are now able to order trucks, parts and finance directly.
“We aim to be more immediately responsive to customers' needs, to speed up distribution and to reduce costs by shortening the communication chain and eliminating all non-value-added processes,” says Terry Foreman, General Manager of Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks UK.
“As a company whose products are famed for their technological sophistication, it makes sense that our distribution channels should be equally innovative and efficient. Link that to the local, friendly relationships offered through our extensive dealer network and I believe we have an unbeatable formula.
“By using the latest web-based technology – while many competitors are still relying on ISDN or, worse still, fax machines and paper! – we have made our new systems extremely flexible and user-friendly.
“Take order processing, for example. It's as easy as ordering a Big Mac and fries! Following the on-screen instructions, dealers click on a range of product images and information, gradually narrowing the choice down in terms of specification. When they have chosen, they simply click to order the truck and are instantly given an order number. Everything is designed for 'click and go' functionality, so there is no typing – and no chance of confusing, time-wasting typing errors.
“There's no need for re-entry of order details at the factory. Nor is there a need for a manual check of the chosen configuration's validity – instead that's done automatically by a 'configurator'. Crucially, where a competitor may experience a delay of as long as two weeks between faxing an order and receiving a faxed confirmation… our system gives immediate confirmation, and then follows up with a delivery date and price within two days. The order's progress can also be tracked online – removing the need for phone calls and other enquiries chasing delivery information.”
It's a similar story for parts ordering. While most competitors have to order parts through an importer and have no way of seeing what items are in stock, the new Mitsubishi online system gives direct access to the Mitsubishi parts warehouse system. Its main advantages include 'real-time' information on parts availability, completely up-to-date pricing and automatic 'supersession' (replacement of old part numbers with updated versions).
And when it comes to providing financial solutions, the online system used by Mitsubishi quickly shapes a deal to meet the customer's needs, delivers full details and – crucially – gives a decision on approval within minutes.
With the advantages gained from these new systems, Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks UK will build on the potential of a well-established network of hand-picked dealerships who already enjoy an enviable reputation for customer service. And that local presence is something Terry Foreman is keen to maintain.
“Many organisations are becoming more distant, with large central facilities, impersonal call centres and remote service engineers. We believe strongly in being close to our customers, both geographically and personally, so we can understand and respond to their business needs. With our dealer network, customers will get the same high level of customer service wherever they are – and whether their trucks are on a single site or spread across the country.”
“So with over a hundred models in our award-winning range, high levels of customer care from our committed local dealers, world-class support from a leading global organisation… and our new operating efficiencies, we now have even more to offer.
For further information on the award-winning Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks range and the services available from local dealers contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.mitsubishi-forklift.co.uk. Address for Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks UK: Wyvols Court, Swallowfield, Reading, Berkshire, RG7 1WY. Tel: 0118 988 0221, fax 0118 988 0347