Having access to industry statistics helps forklift manufacturers keep up to date, and for those attending the Industrial Truck Association (ITA) annual meeting in Miami last month the message was clear - everyone benefits from statistics programs.
"ITA's statistics programs provide invaluable information to the membership," said Mark Huelsman, chairman of the 27-member ITA statistics committee and sales administration manager with Crown Equipment Corp of New Bremen, Ohio. "We want to continue to make the information timely and accurate, and I think we've got the team to do it."
ITA and other associations collaborate in the complementary World Industrial Statistics (WITS) program. "WITS information continues to be of interest, and, as some of the kinks are worked out, it will provide players with a good understanding of the worldwide market," Huelsman said. "The addition of China, Korea and Brazil to Japan, Europe and North America means that we are moving in the right direction."
The WITS program started in 1995 and now involves most of the world's lift truck manufacturing associations. ITA, the European Federation of Materials Handling's (FEM) Industrial Truck Division and the Japan Industrial Vehicles Association (JIVA) established a quarterly program for consolidating shipment data by country. The WITS program went to monthly reports in 1999, and others joined later.
In recent years, ITA has developed a Web-based system to process industry statistics for the United States, Canada and Mexico in a confidential manner. Member companies log-in securely via the Internet and upload all data directly into the system.
"Once the data is uploaded, in a few hours ITA can consolidate the input and generate and distribute all of the reports back to the member companies via email," Huelsman said. "Our members strive to have all data reported to ITA by the fifth of each month."
The China Truck Manufacturers Association (CTMA) of Beijing began participating in January 2001. For the forklift industry, CTMA is supported by the China Construction Machinery Association.
The Korea Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association (KOCEMA) of Seoul, South Korea, and the Brazilian Association of Cargo Movement and Logistics (AMBL) of São Paulo began participating in January 2002.
Participation of all major industrial truck manufacturers in the WITS statistics program provides a comprehensive view of the worldwide industrial truck market, Huelsman said. "This program provides the best available picture of the world lift truck market for those with a need to know."