Bob Baker, president of the New Zealand Forklift Manufacturers and Distributors Association.
Bob Baker, president of the New Zealand Forklift Manufacturers and Distributors Association, believes the training of operators and technicians is of paramount importance to the forklift industry.
He got involved with the association in its early days when he served as the technical representative on the panel for the first revision of the Forklift Code of Practice in 1995.
Since then, he has spent many years as a representative on several committees with the Department of Labour and the NZ Motor Industry Training Organisation (MITO), which leads the way in setting industry standards and promoting activities in the country's motor and industrial textile fabrication industries.
According to Baker, the main purpose of the NZ Forklift Manufacturers and Distributors Association is to aid the ethical distribution in New Zealand of forklift trucks; create a feeling of unity among members; oppose or support any legislation, regulation or other action the association may consider being harmful or beneficial to the industry; encourage the distribution of forklift trucks conforming to the appropriate standards of safety and quality; and generally foster industry safety and training of personnel.
NZ annual new forklift sales including tele-handlers and powered pallet trucks is estimated at 2,400 from the 2006 calendar year new import statistics. "We believe the Australian market is approximately five times larger than the local market in terms of forklift sales," says Baker.
He believes the most exciting developments in the industry to date have been stability controls and other safety features, as well as operator ergonomics and reduction in fuel consumptions and emissions.
Baker, who has an engineering background, works as technical manager and Kalmar sales manager for AB Equipment.