Getting a Lift in the Marketplace

2013 was quite a year—uplifting, you might say—for UniCarriers Americas Corp. (UCA). The Marengo-Ill.-based unit of Tokyo’s UniCarriers Corp., grew in April when Nissan Forklift Corp. North America, and TCM America combined under a new name, UniCarriers Americas Corp. The move paid immediate dividends: Separately, the global rankings of Nissan Forklift Corp., and TCM Corp., were 11th and 15th respectively, according to the Weltrangliste 2011/2012 list of the top global manufacturers. The new UniCarriers® has jumped to No. 7 on the list.

UniCarriers designs, manufactures and supports a complete line of material handling equipment that offers features resulting in greater reliability, higher productivity and lower total operational costs. UniCarriers encompasses five brands: Nissan Forklift, TCM, Atlet, Barrett and UniCarriers. The merger narrows the company’s focus from a broad automotive provider with a peripheral forklift unit into a sole, forklift-centric business. This focus allows UniCarriers to adapt its business model to bring customers smarter logistics solutions faster. The company has a network of more than 235 authorized dealerships with over 350 locations across North, Central and South America, as well as additional worldwide locations.

Strength at the Top

UniCarriers Americas’ 2012 fiscal year ended on March 31, 2013, a period in which it enjoyed rapid global growth, including 15 percent year-over-year sales and operating profit growth and almost 10 percent market share growth in the Americas alone. Because of this, UCA made seven executive appointments to strengthen its leadership team, including Anthony J. Salgado to President.

“The decision to appoint Salgado as head of the Americas was based on the board’s intention to maintain strategic and cultural continuity for UCA, while accelerating robust growth in this market under the direction of a strong operational and collaborative leader,” said Akiri Shiki, COO, UniCarriers. “His appointment is a clear indication of our confidence in his leadership, as well as recognition that the regional management team is in the best position to truly understand and serve the America’s market, from Canada through the southern tip of Argentina. As we continue to focus on successfully growing and expanding our core business as a material handling solutions provider, he has my full support, as well as that of the board of directors, and I expect that the UniCarriers Americas business will continue to be the benchmark within our global organization.”

The other industry veterans promoted are James J. Radous III to Executive VP Sales, Americas; Steve Cianci to VP, Sales and Marketing; Dan Domberg to VP Aftermarket Customer Satisfaction; Dale Mark to VP, Manufacturing Operations; Mark Manninen to Senior Director, Business and Channel Development; and Brian Markison to Director of Sales, North America.

Meeting Customers’ Needs

Like all customers, those of UniCarriers Americas expect high value and durable products. The company meets these needs by offering designs that keep operating costs low throughout the usable life of the products. These products include standard features that other manufacturers charge for, including engine & transmission protection and warning systems, a full suspension seat, LED headlights, PIN access, on-board diagnostics, and more.

As an example, UniCarriers Americas Corp. made LED headlights standard on the Nissan Forklift by UniCarriers brand Platinum II and GO4 series lift trucks, replacing halogen headlights on these models. LEDs are more durable, offer greater visibility, deliver a longer service life and are suited for high-vibration applications.

“We received a high volume of requests for these particular features, and we are happy to respond to our customers’ needs with additions to standard and optional features,” said Steve Cianci, Vice President, Sales and Marketing for UniCarriers Americas. “Nissan Forklift by UniCarriers lift trucks in these lines already offered excellent standard and optional features, and they now offer even more value to their owners and operators.”

UCA uses the latest trends in training and service methods, ensuring servicing technicians are knowledgeable with specific product designs and components to perform all aspects of truck repair, from planned maintenance to complex repairs. UniCarriers University’s College of Technical Service was created to establish UCA’s authorized service technicians as the mostly highly skilled in the industry by encouraging continued education, professional growth and technician recognition.  Into its third year, this program continues to be curriculum-based, offering three certification levels of achievement to individual students: Apprentice, Journeyman and Master Technician.  Each successive level requires additional education and responsibilities including hands on training and completion of online, self-paced courses. Designed to build upon the knowledge base of each technician, students will complete the requirements of each level, advancing at their own pace to achieve higher certification status.

Staying Green

One core value of UniCarriers Americas is its commitment to sustainability. As one of Supply & Demand Chain Executive magazine’s 2013 Green Award Winners, that commitment is clear. UCA has extended what formerly was called the Nissan Green Program, expanding its implementation of strategies that focus on its environmental stewardship, which began in earnest in 2007.

Its supply chain strategies include corporate initiatives and practices that govern the cautious use of both renewable and non-renewable resources at its Marengo manufacturing facility and offices.

UCA uses three metrics to calculate its success in executing its green strategies: tons of CO2 per unit; pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOC) per unit; and pounds of waste to landfills per unit. Since implementation of the program in 2007, CO2 has dropped by more than 53 percent, and UCA has already exceeded this year’s target with 2 months still left in the fiscal year.  Additionally, the facility is producing over 91.5 percent less waste (in pounds per unit) over the last 6 years, and surpassing their goal reduction for the fiscal year by more than 65 percent.  The company actually reached it goals of being a zero-waste-to-landfill facility late last year, earlier than forecast. 

Focus on the Future

Even with all the recent changes—and those still to come—UCA is striving to remain constant in many areas, including, of course, its commitment to excellence. The company is also steadfast in its efforts to find new, creative ways to partner with suppliers, customers and dealers on what will prove to be a mutually beneficial growth trajectory.

UCA will continue developing and supporting its dealer network—through comprehensive, industry-leading education programs, focus on aftermarket growth, uncovering new business opportunities and making it easier to work with UCA—all in the spirit of helping dealers achieve business efficiencies and better service to our customers.  Other areas of concentration fundamental to their go-forward strategy include uncovering methods for expanding their market reach whether geographically or via deeper penetration into existing accounts, as well as focus on exploiting key product attributes to achieve success in new business segments.

For more information, contact UniCarriers Americas, 240 N. Prospect Street, Marengo, IL 60152. Phone (815) 568-0061, or visit www.unicarriersamericas.com.

UniCarriers is a registered trademark of UniCarriers Corporation.

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