Company headquarters in IJsselstein.
Lisman Vorkheftrucks is a global business in the true sense of the word. Like many companies in the forklift industry, Lisman Vorkheftrucks, based in the Netherlands, started as a small family business. It was launched in the early 1960s. Today Lisman has 70 employees and deals with clients from around the world.
Anton Lisman senior, founder of Lisman Vorkheftrucks, first had a business selling iron that was used to strengthen concrete. He then moved into buying and selling the very machines used to transport the concrete metal. The company started with just three used Coventry Climax machines and later increased the number of used forklifts for its retail business.
In 1972, after working for Ford as a zone manager, Anton's son, Jos, currently responsible for Lisman's international relations, joined his father and brother in the family business.
Around 1976, Lisman Vorkheftrucks saw another business opportunity and started selling industrial batteries, under the banner "Rentpower", and so began a long association with forklift spare parts. In 1978, the company expanded its range of parts to include Kenhar fork tynes after meeting representatives of the Canadian company at a Promat exhibition in Chicago.
Mr and Mrs Jos Lisman at CeMAT 2005 in Hannover, Germany.
"We have always found trade fairs an excellent opportunity to meet clients and talk to others about new products," Jos Lisman said.
"The big trade fairs exemplify just how global this business is," said Koen Lisman (Jos's son, who jointly runs the company). "We believe remote business, that is dealing with clients and requests from anywhere in the world, is going to be the way of the future. Enormous improvements in the speed of communication and transport help that," he said.
"Our business ethos is based on quality service and the ability to source the machines our clients want," Koen said.
Lisman has a good example of just how the global search and find works.
Lisman always has more than 1,400 units in stock.
In 2003 the company had a request for a used 38 tonne forklift, preferably American-made. The Japanese client needed a machine for a very specific application in Dubai. A machine with the correct specifications was finally found in Finland. It was owned by an American and had previously worked in Russia. Lisman, the Dutch connection, organised immediate shipment to the United Arab Emirates. The deal involved five nationalities.
Through its web presence and smart investments in international magazine advertisements, Lisman is now an established name in the forklift market. Its location in Ijsselstein, in the centre of the Netherlands, makes it convenient for global business. A company representative can easily meet customers who fly into Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brussels and Dusseldorf.
Jos Lisman sees "the world getting smaller and the marketplace getting bigger. I think an equalisation in this industry is beginning to take place.
"It is no longer just five or six big manufacturers. There are so many more manufacturers these days. The future looks interesting," he said.
Since stepping down from the board of directors, Jos now devotes more time to his five small grandchildren and the rest of his family. He enjoys bike riding, golfing and has a keen interest in classic sports cars. He is an active Rotary International member.