Europe buys more forklifts than Total Americas?!

Does anyone have a good explanation for why forklift sales are greater in Europe than North America and South America combined? I can understand the emerging market growth of Eastern Europe, but S. America has similar growth. Is it related to the many European countries and the warehouse dynamics there? Or does N. America have more efficient warehouses, they're fewer and larger, so as a total fewer forklifts are required?

These are just guesses as I am not familiar with the market, so I would appreciate your expert opinion.

  • Posted 15 May 2012 03:18
  • Discussion started by elephantroom
  • New York, United States
Showing items 16 - 30 of 76 results.
Relatively speaking Europe is a lot more Automated than the USA. The US probably has larger warehouses but they are standard warehouses. The trend in the US has been less storage and more conveyor sortation in the warehouses over the last ten years. Instead of keeping your stock on racks, keep less stock and when it comes in sort it and ship it out.
Because Amazon has bought Kiva it has effectively killed it for use by other retailers.Nobody is going to let Amazon know their internal secrets. I think somebody will come out with a Kiva clone shortly
  • Posted 27 Jul 2012 13:00
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes

I think the pallet, load and Europe real estate answers are all relevant to answering the question.

On a similar note, what are your views on automation? Perhaps the US has larger warehouses and its also more automated? And would that factor into the use of fewer forklifts?

And along those lines, I noticed that the Kiva robots (acquired by Amazon) seem very compelling from a pick and pack perspective. Do you see that as a very likely competitor to forklifts in the near future?

Thanks again.
  • Posted 27 Jul 2012 05:16
  • Reply by elephantroom
  • New York, United States
I agree with Andrew. The biggest impediment to warehousing and material handling in the United States is the 40" x 48" GMA double faced pallet. The single faced Euro pallet allows for the use of fork over stackers which can be used in all warehouse settings, can do everything a pallet truck can do plus stack pallets. It is as maneuverable as a pallet truck at a fraction of the cost of a conventional forklift truck.
  • Posted 20 Jul 2012 21:56
  • Reply by duodeluxe
  • United States
Hey we had to do the conversion when all those products from Asia & Europe started landing on our beaches. Solution a $15.00 conversion calculator from Radio Shack.
By the way, the US isn't on the "great" Euro system either.
  • Posted 20 Jul 2012 21:12
  • Reply by johnr_j
  • Georgia, United States
"Have An Exceptional Day!"
There are only 3 countries in the entire world not using yet the SI (international metric system),they are Liberia, Burma and (unbelivable) USA.
I say this because I'm enough bored in converting measures everytime.
Moreover a little misunderstanding can creates great economic problems.
Could be the time to change...isn't it?
  • Posted 20 Jul 2012 18:47
  • Reply by Henrys
  • Veneto, Italy
The supposed difference in weight holding capacity, and therefore less movements between bottom board US pallets and open bottom UK pallets is not a good argument. Weight on pallets has been getting significantly less over the last 10-20 years.When we used to have manufacturing pallets could be up to 3,500 lbs plus ea, Grocery pallets were generally 2,500 lbs except for Crisco cans at 2,700 lbs and general rule was 2,500 lbs per pallet. Today a more general real world rule is more like 1,500 lbs. Why the difference? No manufacturing, the rise of the internet, where we want one of each in our color delivered tomorrow, rise of packaged import goods, and finally the ubiquitos Blister pack. If you compare a tape measure in a small box you can pack thousands onto a pallet with the resultant heavy weight, but compare that to a tape measure in a large blister pack ready to be hung up at a retailer. Now we are talking less than a 1,000 lbs per pallet. Nobodys acknowledges it but if you go around a warehouse, and start handliftting pallets by the side, you will be able to do it today.
Again the plain fact is that in Europe land is much more expensive so people take advantage of the cube and go up. You need specialist equipment to do that, the same equipment will not offload the trucks so you have to buy a different style of truck to do that.
In the US most small to medium size business's use the same truck to offload and put away in the warehouse. Using 13' Aisles and of course they can only lift to 192" so racks aren't very high nor buildings at 20' to 22' high. Now the newer building @ Class A space are higher 25' to 28' and you would move into them knowing you are going to use a Crown or Raymond Hi Rise stacker type equipment. Also something else to offload the trucks. In a given area this is at best 25% of the space.
  • Posted 20 Jul 2012 11:09
  • Reply by andrew_j
  • Florida, United States
I learn from my customers and mistakes
Hi everybody.
I think that the TommyBhama's remark is very interesting. The ratio is about 1.3:1.
The sum of more factors may it be the solution......maybe.
  • Posted 7 Jul 2012 02:33
  • Reply by Henrys
  • Veneto, Italy
i think Class 1 is around 700 class 2 is around 850 class 3 is around 1700. Im not 100% sure but they won't be far of
  • Posted 2 Jul 2012 21:27
  • Reply by Daveilift
  • west yorks, United Kingdom
Does anyone know what the electric forklift market is ? Especially interested in the Australian market.
  • Posted 1 Jul 2012 14:36
  • Reply by batteryroom
  • Queensland, Australia
One of the answers to this question could be the Euro Pallet 800mmx1200mm, which has an open base (unlike the US and UK 40x48inch closed pallet) and allows smaller more cost effective stacker machines to be used rather than more expensive reach or counterbalances. The concept of this pallet is great but the drawback is it doesn't hold as much weight as a bottom boarded pallet, and as such to move the same tonnage of stock there are more pallets needed, more pallets - more movements, more movements - more forklifts...maybe
  • Posted 19 Jun 2012 02:09
  • Reply by TommyBahama
  • Flintshire, United Kingdom
Life is short, so live it well
maybe theres more leasing than buying in america
  • Posted 14 Jun 2012 22:51
  • Reply by cownd
  • Arizona, United States
This is the answering machine of Europe.
We are away for the football championship.
Look at:

(Little O.T.)
  • Posted 14 Jun 2012 20:13
  • Reply by Henrys
  • Veneto, Italy
there are no laws here saying how long you can keep a forklift. there is a massive shortage of used equipment, prices have doubled in the last 12 months. most units available are between 8 & 14 years old. with the availability of cheap parts & the rip-offs by the main dealers regarding hire "damages" it must be far cheaper for an end user to own the equipment. you won't get a salesman telling them this though!
  • Posted 14 Jun 2012 19:58
  • Reply by THEMANWHO
  • NORTH SOMERSET, United Kingdom
I spoke with one of my suppliers today who used to do business in the UK. He had 3 large warehouses with about 250 pieces of material handling equipment under his command. When I brought up this subject & asked his opinion he told me that in England he was required to replace a forklift when it was 6 years old. He was constantly having to purchase new equipment as the fleet aged.

Is this true? Is there some sort of law requireing a forklift to be replaced after it's 6 years old? He also told me that English forklifts have alot more safety stuff on them than the American units.

The company he worked for eventually sold off all the assets in England, as the cost of doing business was just to high. He then ran a warehouse (for the same company) in the states where he said the average age of the equipment was 8-10 years old, with some units being 15 years old. He had his own service dept. & techs- this arrangement was much more economical in his opinion.
  • Posted 14 Jun 2012 10:10
  • Modified 14 Jun 2012 10:11 by poster
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!

I can't explain where the forklifts go in Europe, they must have a high number of used/refurbished units available. I'm not sure what their safety rating stats are or where they're accepted but here in the US we use the UL. I do know that if a European forklift gets here (grey market), it's a huge liability issue & OSHA will force the company to get the unit of the property immediately.

I don't believe a forklift purchase here is ever on a whim. Large companies have budgets, etc. Small companies have to juggle multiple issues, sometimes it seems like a purchase is on a whim, but there's always tax issues, downtime, purchase price vs repairs,etc. that make the ultimate decision.
  • Posted 3 Jun 2012 07:53
  • Reply by bbforks
  • Pennsylvania, United States
bbforks (at) Hotmail (dot) com
Customers love technology- until they have to pay to fix it!

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