Toyota Material Handling Talks Digital Transformation

forklift maxoidos/Adobe Stock

This post on Toyota Material Handling North America’s use of Big Data and the Internet of Things was originally created for our sister blog, agmetalminer.com. The customer-data collection challenge that TMHNA is tackling is one that hundreds of companies are facing in the era of big data.

Last week at the SAP Manufacturing Industries Forum in Lombard, Illinois, we got a glimpse into how Toyota Material Handling North America is helping its customers with information about the equipment they use and how TMHNA manages all of that collected user information using SAP's Hana database management system.

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Alan Cseresznyak, CIO and Senior Vice President of TMHNA — the seller and dealer network of all Toyota forklifts and other material handling products on the continent — explained that part of TMHNA's digital transformation has been helping its customers keep their forklifts and other machines efficiently running.

Toyota forklifts

Many people know Toyota by its cars and its production system but the company is innovating in its materials handing business as well. Source: TMHNA.

"We can identify which parts are breaking down," Csersznyak said. "We could find out when a certain bolt is breaking loose. Using this data we can also earlier identify and correct manufacturing problems."

TMHNA's strategy for service mirrors its customer relationship management strategy. Csesznyak said TMHNA already forecasts demand from its customer relationship management (CRM) system. Every single outstanding quotation is created from the CRM system. Profit margins for TMHNA, individual dealers, and other relationship information are all in the system.

Using SAP Hana and other tools, TMNHA desires to have the same type of setup as CRM systems for maintenance, with sensors built into individual parts to create a better ability to capture whole unit operations data.

"The cost of getting maintenance done is not a major cost for any of our customers," Cseresznyak said. "What they are looking for is more uptime. The more we know about individual maintenance, the more uptime we can provide. On the car side, they used to recommend an oil change every 3,000 miles. Now it’s 7,500 miles because of better data."

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TMHNA has its own engineering department and Cseresznyak said the company will build its own sensors if need be.

"We don’t believe it’ll be a major cost on the forklift to purchase the sensors provided we can provide that uptime and superior customer service," he said. "Devices for telematics used to be thousands of dollars. Now, we are adding a CalAmp device that’s under $200. Everything is becoming commoditized."

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