Toyota Way leads to Indiana

Jeff Rufener, president of TMHU accepts a proclamation from Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown, declaring Nov. 4, 2013, as National Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc. Day.
Jeff Rufener, president of TMHU accepts a proclamation from Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown, declaring Nov. 4, 2013, as National Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc. Day.

Columbus, Indiana, is no stranger to manufacturing. Cummins (www.cummins.com) has its headquarters there. The Emissions Control Technologies division of Faurecia (www.faurecia.com) is there. NTN Driveshaft (www.ntnamericas.com) produces its constant velocity joints there. And wheel manufacturer Enkei (www.enkei.com) conducts research and development in Columbus. But Monday, Nov. 4, 2013, was not a day for any of those companies. It was National Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A., Inc. Day, as proclaimed by Mayor Kristen Brown.

The event marked the recent expansion of Toyota's facility in Columbus and its grand opening as the North American headquarters of Toyota Material Handling USA (TMHU, www.toyotaforklift.com), along with the unveiling of the new 8 series lift truck (www.plantservices.com/vendors/products/2013/toyota-8-series-lift-truck/), which now offers the 1FS Toyota gas engine and the 1KD Toyota diesel engine, in addition to standard LPG lift trucks.

The ceremonial ribbon at the new North American headquarters of Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A. was cut by (from left) Toshiya Yamagishi, president of Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, president of Toyota Industries North America and chairman of Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA); Brett Wood, president & CEO of Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA); Indiana Governor Mike Pence; Ted Toyoda, chairman for Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO); Jeff Rufener, president of Toyota Material Handling U.S.A., (TMHU); and Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown.
The ceremonial ribbon at the new North American headquarters of Toyota Material Handling, U.S.A. was cut by (from left) Toshiya Yamagishi, president of Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing, president of Toyota Industries North America and chairman of Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA); Brett Wood, president & CEO of Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA); Indiana Governor Mike Pence; Ted Toyoda, chairman for Toyota Industries Corporation (TICO); Jeff Rufener, president of Toyota Material Handling U.S.A., (TMHU); and Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown.

"The motors are designed specifically for forklifts," explained Niels Ostergaard, sales, product, parts and customer support & service representative (CSSR) training manager for TMHU. "These are not automobile engines." Initial testing has demonstrated a 20-30% increase in fuel efficiency, as well.

"Last year lift truck sales were up 8%," said Jeff Rufener, president of TMHU. "This year will be up 10%." In 2012, unit sales were 171,051, with 2013 forecasted at 185,000.

An additional safety feature includes an orange seat belt, so safety managers can easily see if the driver is wearing a seat belt.

Toyota also introduced a 12,000 lb paper roll special model to meet the challenges faced by the paper industry in moving paper rolls. "Paper and pulp accounts for 2.8% of GDP," said Rufener. "Compare that to the automotive industry, which is 4.5%."

The TIEM campus in Columbus, Indiana, includes more than a million sq ft of facilities on 126 acres.
The TIEM campus in Columbus, Indiana, includes more than a million sq ft of facilities on 126 acres.

The Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (TIEM) campus in Columbus totals more than 1 million sq ft of facilities sitting on 126 acres. The facilities include the National Customer Center and training center, manufacturing operations, and distribution centers for equipment and service parts. With the relocation of the TMHU headquarters to the TIEM campus, a $4.6 million investment was made in expanded office and meeting space, adding 21,400 sq ft to the campus. Since beginning operations in 1990, the total investment in TIEM exceeds $117 million.

More than 130 lift trucks are produced each day in the 693,440 sq ft manufacturing facility; that's about 80% of Toyota lift trucks sold in North America. The manufacturing operation employs approximately 1,000 associates, about 30% who are temporary, and the campus has undergone 12 expansions since its inception in 1990.