Hoist shipped five pneumatic-tyre P360 forklifts to the US Army's Sierra depot in California.
The US Defence Logistics Agency (DLA) has awarded a five-year, fixed-price opportunity for Hoist Liftruck Manufacturing Inc to bid on supplying forklifts and container handlers to military services.
Currently, Hoist provides heavy-lift equipment to government agencies, including the military, through the US General Services Administration working with Georgia-based Atlanta Forklifts Inc.
"We are still new to the game on the DLA side," says Jonathan Miller, a Hoist vice president of sales. "I have been working on this (opportunity) for three years."
Miller oversees Hoist sales for the southern and western portions of US, western Canada, Asia, the Mideast and Africa.
The initial impetus for pursuing the DLA designation came from one of Miller's Hoist customers at the US Army's Sierra depot near Herlong, California.
That started Miller on a path that involved major paperwork filings and attendance at an orientation conference at a DLA troop support facility in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"We received the official signed contract" on 19 August, Miller says. "We still need to bid competitively" after receiving requests for quotation from a contracting officer for a military base.
For Hoist, it is a major step, Miller notes. "We were never in consideration before."
The 16 August DLA announcement says Hoist "has been awarded a maximum USD925 million for commercial-type materials handling equipment. The contract is a five-year, fixed-price with an economic-price-adjustment requirements contract." The completion date is 15 August, 2018, with the users potentially including the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps forces and federal civilian agencies.
Hoist qualifies as a small business under federal guidelines.
"We are one of the only made-in-US manufacturers that received a contract for high-capacity equipment," Miller says.
Hoist products within the scope of the award include cushion-tyre internal combustion forklifts, electric forklifts, pneumatic-tyre forklifts, roll-on roll-off forklifts, empty container handlers, loaded container handlers and reach stackers.
"We think it will double the size of our business," says John Kern, a Hoist vice president of sales who oversees Hoist GSA relations. "We would have to hire." Now, Hoist has about 300 employees.
"We have been moving on a number of solicitations (but have) no official orders yet," Kern says.