Fork This….

I had just watched a show on The Discovery Channel where they had showed a forklift challenge, determining which country had the better machine between the U.S.A. and Germany, the two leading countries who build and market lift trucks in the world. The contest had, from what I could see because I missed the first half, five competitions ranging form stopping, lifting, speed and endurance. Not surprisingly, for me anyways, the German built forklift kicked-butt, winning in all of the events.

I had, from a stint in my laborer career, being a Forklift driver, and have had the occupational experience of driving both types of equipment. Not only U.S. and German built machine, but I have driven Japanese built machines as well. So, not surprisingly, the contest winner in the show is my favorite machine as well, the German built forklift.

There are a number of reasons why the German built forklift truck kicked butt. First, the U.S. machine is over engineered. This means that the U.S. design has too many redundancies and safety features built into it that lowers the overall performance of the machine, and in some cases causing the machine to become more of a safety hazard than a boon. For example, fires are common on these machine because of prolong heavy operation and dust built-up, can cause the motors and electronics to over heat and catch fire. The German built truck have more room for cooling and better filters to filter out dust entering the internal systems. Second, the German truck has better handling and input controls that are more tailored for human use than the U.S. machine, which I had to get-used-to before I became proficient at it. But lastly, cost is the big factor because for most employers cost is the end-all, be-all of the buying decision when it comes to making such a purchase. Remember that each one of these trucks and can fetch up to $60,000.00.

When checking a prospective employer, I always look at the type of equipment they use, and in turn, this is a gauge that I use that tells me what class of company I am about to deal with. When I see German built trucks lifting product off from the steel shelving in their warehouse, this tells me that the company is not only safety conscious and app for production, but also more caring towards their employees and those who work around facility. Yes, I know, you can argue cost viruses necessity, but it boils down to how far you are willing to go before “being cheap” bites you in the butt.

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