Welcome to Dillon Toyota Lift's blog. Here you will find everything from product features, industry education, operator insights, material handling solutions, safety, trends, best practices and more!  


Apr 08

If you’ve been at your business for a while, you can usually predict when busy seasons are going to strike. Advancements in supply chain forecasting measures have made it easier than ever to plan ahead for seasonality.

And while you may feel prepared to meet demands, all businesses are subject to conditions and circumstances beyond their control. Say you didn’t anticipate the popularity of a new product that was released. You may not have ever needed to handle this new volume of orders for this particular product. On the other hand, say you released a product during a holiday that turned out to have an incredibly high return rate. You’re now unprepared for the stress on the reverse supply chain when orders are returned in larger volumes than predicted. And while both of these situations can happen and can mess with your inventory projections and needs, you also have to consider the possibility of equipment breakdown. On deadline in the peak seasons, having an important piece of pallet moving equipment go down can be devastating to delivering products to customers in line with your promises.

I actually recommend you keep some backup equipment on hand to combat these possibilities. But whatever the circumstances, these unexpected turns can leave you in a position where you simply don’t have enough equipment available in your warehouse or distribution center to keep the products moving. You need additional material handling equipment that you can get quickly and without hassle.

As you begin to explore your options, you might find that the benefits of a Hand Pallet Truck (HPT) are precisely what you need. It is a small but reliable piece of equipment that can take on heavy loads – perfect for short-term influxes of product. Ordering a Toyota HPT directly from the Store makes the process even smoother.  Buy Now

Original Post:  Jake Stewart, Digital Copywriter, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Apr 04

Keeping a large inventory of spare parts on hand encroaches on both the budget and physical storage space of your business. What happens if your forklift goes down and you don’t have that critical spare part on hand? Your business suffers unnecessary downtime and you may be forced to pay outrageous freight costs to have the parts shipped to you overnight.

How do you determine which forklift parts are critical and which are not?

If you are looking to define a critical spare part, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What parts do you purchase most often? This should be your first consideration, especially if you have a fleet of several forklifts. Look back and determine which parts have been consistently replaced in the last few years and keep them in your on-site inventory.
  • If your forklift goes down, how quickly will you need the part? If you will need it immediately, then it is a critical part. If you have a backup forklift that can be used or another means of covering the downtime, then it would not be a critical part.
  • Will your business be halted or delayed if you don’t have the part? If the answer is yes to this question, then it is a critical part and must be kept in inventory.
  • How long will it take you to receive a part if ordered? Find out which parts your local Toyota Forklifts dealer keeps on hand and which ones have to be ordered. Doing so will help you determine how long it will take you to retrieve the new part.
  • If you need to have a part repaired, what is the average time it will take for your dealership to make the repair and have it returned? Contact your dealer and determine average repair times for those parts that you define as critical.

Have a backup plan. 

  • If you don’t have space for a large inventory of spare parts, work with Dillon Toyota Lift to make sure they have the parts on hand that are critical to your organization.
  • Keep a list of those critical parts posted so your technicians know what steps to take to procure that part.
  • If you are going to experience a lengthy downtime, will your dealer be able to provide a loaner?

By being prepared and determining which parts are critical, your business could save money and most importantly, time.

Original Post By:  Debi Stanton, Customer Satisfaction Administrator

Apr 01

Using forklifts effectively in any application requires assessing how they will work in concert with the other elements of your facility. From understanding your dock capabilities to making sure pallet racks and forklifts match up appropriately, a successful facility takes into account every touchpoint of forklifts in use.

An easy to overlook touchpoint that requires attention is facility flooring. Too often, operations that use forklifts experience unexpected damage to both product and equipment because floors become damaged. In this post, I’ll discuss some of the impacts of damaged floors on equipment and personnel, help identify some trouble areas on concrete floors, and discuss possible solutions to damaged flooring.

Concrete Floors and Forklift Ergonomics

The thing about forklifts? They’re aren’t equipped with the suspension system of a luxury SUV. When you roll over a bump while driving a forklift, you’re going to feel it. And while Toyota forklifts are ergonomically designed for operators’ optimal comfort, a floor that’s fallen into disrepair will place stress and strain on an operators’ body. Maintaining a floor inspection schedule is key to preventing damage. But if you’re an operator and you see or feel floor damage, make sure your report it.

Concrete Floors and Forklift or Product Damage

Most forklifts that operate indoors will have cushion tires, and cushion tires are not manufactured to withstand uneven terrain. Uneven terrain includes flooring surfaces where chunks of floor are missing or general rough patches are present. When you continually drive cushion tires on a damaged floor, you’re likely to shorten the intervals between necessary tire replacement, placing strain on the forklift and on your budget.

Damaged floors might also be hazardous for the products you’re moving. Not only will driving over damaged floors cause less than optimal work conditions for your operators, it increases the risk of product spills if items fall from pallets due to traveling over the uneven terrain. Even something as seemingly negligible as increased vibration of products on a pallet can damage certain types of materials. Making sure your floors receive optimal care helps protect your investment in the product.

An even bigger investment might be your forklifts; those capital investments need protection, too. Forklifts are designed to have a low center of gravity, so there are many points on a forklift such as under the mast and chassis where under clearance is minimal. If a clearance assessment was made prior to acquiring the forklift, this may have been done prior to any flooring damage. Should floors later become damaged, you might not have the necessary clearance, potentially increasing impacts on the forklift. Such sudden impacts caused by poor flooring conditions can also damage internal forklift components over time, potentially causing a forklift to become unstable.

One helpful preventive measure? Toyota’s T-matics solution can be installed on most Toyota equipment to monitor for impacts and assess where they occur. If there is damaged floor where impacts are occurring often, T-matics might be able to help you identify the problem.

Concrete Floors Inspection Tip: Check the Joints

Performing a regular visual inspection of your floors is highly recommended. One main problem area that requires frequent inspection are the joints between concrete slabs. Because these are inherent weak points in the floor and receive pull away pressure from the weight of forklifts, they are likely to be the first places that fall into disrepair from natural wear and tear. Replacing concrete joints when they become damaged might seem like a costly investment. However, the long-term ROI of less forklift repair and more efficient operations makes the investment worthwhile.

Concrete Floors and Friction

The condition of your concrete floors goes even beyond the damage that they undergo due to wear and tear. You must also consider how friction plays a role in several critical forklift functions. When floors are wet or slick due to spills or chemicals that are used, it reduces the friction of the tire surface with the ground. This can have a significant impact on a forklift’s ability to stop or accelerate effectively, which can be an eminent safety hazard. It is imperative that floor surfaces are cleaned properly and allowed to dry before attempting to drive over them. Ensuring that the floor is also free of debris and any obstructions will help to avoid potentially unsafe driving situations. Be sure to thoroughly read and understand your forklift’s operator manual for more information regarding proper floor conditions for your particular piece of equipment.

Whatever you plan strategically to make sure your floors stay in top condition, having an inspection plan in place is key to success. Material handling investments work hand in hand with facility investments, right from the ground up.

Original Post By:  Jake Stewart, Digital Copywriter, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Mar 20

Toyota at ProMat: Experience the Material Handling Revolution

ProMat is the premiere event for material handling leaders, where the best operations are seeking innovative solutions from fellow experts in the field. It’s the forefront of the industry’s future. Toyota Material Handling has evolved from its roots to meet diverse challenges and adapt to the market. At ProMat 2019, we’re introducing more than the next evolution of forklifts. We’re starting a revolution of the way you think about material handling solutions. When you visit TMHU at ProMat, you’ll see what next level innovation is all about. 

Chicago is the exciting location of ProMat 2019! Toyota Material Handling wants to help as you make plans and book travel accommodations in the Windy City. Follow the link below to locate the ProMat Expo’s official travel recommendations and information. And while you’re at the show, come see Toyota Material Handling at booths S1003 or S603 and receive a free gift!


Mar 18

Your business is growing and you either need to expand your current warehouse or build a new warehouse to support your growth. Sounds like a good problem to have! At least, until you have to decide what type of pallet racking system you need to install. In its simplest form, a pallet racking system is a material storage system. Pallet racking helps you stay organized within your warehouse and better manage you inventory. Choosing pallet racking, however, is not as simple as selecting a pallet rack brand and installing it. There several racking types that help you meet your needs. The type of racking you choose depends on a few criteria:

  • How tall the racking needs to be
  • What goods will be stored
  • What the floor plan will be
  • What type of inventory management system makes sense for your product and operation
  • What types of forklifts you currently use or forklifts you intend to switch to

Types of Pallet Racking: Selective Racking

Selective racking systems are some of the most common and widely used racking systems, mainly because they are less expensive and easier to install than other, more specialized racking systems. Selective racking is great for warehouses that store a large amount of stock keeping units (SKUs). Selective pallet racking is usually a single-deep pallet rack. This type of racking makes any given pallet in the rack system accessible without having to move another pallet.

Types of Pallet Racking: Cantilever Racking

Cantilever Racking systems are used to store items that cannot be easily stored on pallets. Warehouses that use cantilever rack, usually store longer and heavier items to be stored horizontally across multiple arms (like lumber or steel pipes). Pallet racks, on the other hand, have vertical uprights that limit the length of stored items. This is the primary difference between cantilever racking and pallet racking.

Types of Pallet Racking: Pallet Flow Racking

Pallet flow racking systems are also referred to as “gravity flow” racking systems. Pallet flow racking systems are best suited for the first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory management methodology. When you load a pallet from the loading aisle and onto the lane rollers, gravity allows the pallet to roll to the front of the system. When the pallet is removed from the front of the racking system, the pallets behind roll to the front of the lane. Pallet flow racking allows for high-density storage while maintaining FIFO. Some pallet flow racking systems may hold up to 20 pallets deep in one lane, minimizing the number of aisles needed to store items while maintaining efficient inventory turnover.

Types of Pallet Racking: Push Back Racking

Push back racking systems is another high density storage option, with the ability to store up to six pallets deep on either side of an aisle. There are usually three carts stacked on top of each other.  The first pallet is loaded from the front in a push back racking system and sits on the top cart. When the second pallet is loaded, it pushes the top cart with the first pallet back. Push back racking gives you higher density storage than selective racking systems, while allowing you more selectivity with storing items than other types of racking, meaning you can store more SKUs.

Types of Pallet Racking: Drive-In Racking

Drive-In racking systems are great for storing large volumes of just a few SKUs and can also be configured to manage inventory with FIFO or last-in, first-out (LIFO). With drive-in racking, the forklift literally drives into the racking system to move a pallet. This type of pallet racking system is cost effective by maximizing the amount of storage space in your warehouse.

Choosing between these types of racking systems will depend on the various goals of your operation and the relevant inventory data like volume and throughput. No matter your decision, always be sure that this racking is installed safely and effectively to increase productivity.  Dillon Toyota Lift's Warehouse Solutions team is here to help from start to finish.  


Warehouse Racking Solutions

Original post by:  Kenny Trusnik, Marketing Systems & eCommerce Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA


Mar 15

It’s a given – Dillon Toyota Lift has you covered when it comes to forklifts.  But did you know we also offer racking, dock equipment, cleaning equipment, scissor lifts, batteries, and attachments? That’s right – DTL is your full solutions provider for everything material handling, including warehouse design!   

Do you need to set up a new warehouse or better utilize your current space? Dillon Toyota Lift's Warehouse Solutions team can provide project design and layout, seismic engineering, permit application/approval, and more.  Not only that, we can purchase the racking and warehouse systems, and manage the installation process. Leave it to our in-house Warehouse Solutions team to figure out just what you need.

Does your warehouse or facility need a good cleaning? DTL also offers a full-line of Advance Industrial Cleaning Equipment that includes sweepers, scrubbers, sweeper-scrubbers and wet/dry vacs.  

Do you need more space in your facility? Dillon Toyota Lift also offers mezzanies.  Mezzanines can create additional space for a variey of different uses from storage to extra office space.  

As you can see, Dillon Toyota Lift has specialties that extend beyond the #1 selling forklift (Toyota).  If we can’t provide a solution, we can point you to an expert. So, the next time you need something unique for your facility or business, contact Dillon Toyota Lift!

Mar 08

When inventor Sakichi Toyoda successfully pioneered the automatic loom, he laid the foundation for Toyota Industries and our commitment to kaizen, continuous improvement. For nearly a century, the Toyota name has been synonymous with excellence in quality and innovation with the inventor’s spirit at the heart of our business.

It took only eight years after establishing Toyoda Automatic Loom Works Co., Ltd. – known today as Toyota Industries Corporation – before Toyota produced its first engine in 1934: The A-type engine for automobiles.

But I’m sure if you’re reading this blog you know that Toyota makes much more than cars. In 1956, Toyota began producing forklift engines, a new chapter in the story of Toyota Industries. As material handling needs evolved, so did Toyota’s role in the game. Heavy duty applications called for equipment tough and robust enough to take on high capacity needs. And at the core of these powerful workhorses needed to be an engine with the durability and grit to deliver reliable life and power.

In 1986, Toyota introduced a forklift engine that could take on these heavy-duty challenges: The 4Y industrial engine. Carefully designed and engineered through the core practices of the Toyota Production System, this engine set a new standard of excellence within the material handling industry. Today, millions of these engines have been produced and can be found in forklifts, compressors, gas heat pumps, and more.

But most important, these engines are at the heart of Toyota’s internal combustion forklifts, making them some of the most dependable pieces of equipment on the market. Don’t believe me? The 4Y Engine has helped Toyota forklifts achieve more than 35,000 life cycle operator hours with ease. Some have even reached over 80,000 hours.

It’s an engine that is built to perform, but also engineered with sustainability in mind. The 4Y engine’s emissions system filters carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and nitrogen oxide gases, allowing it to surpass federal EPA emission standards.

The 4Y engine is a testament to Toyota’s commitment to the pursuit of improvement and of its dedication to creating a more sustainable future.

Want to learn more about the 4Y engine? Check out this video on 4Y’s perks and history or this video about how the 4Y improves Toyota forklift operation.

By: Anastasia Sistevaris, Communications Copywriter, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Mar 04

Loading docks are one of the busiest places in any warehouse operation. The American Supply Association reports that 25% of all industrial accidents occur at the loading dock. Many of these accidents can occur while loading and unloading a trailer. Providing and reinforcing certified, OSHA-compliant safety training to workers and forklift operators which address hazards present at your specific facility (including the loading dock) and application will enhance workplace safety for both workers and forklift operators.  Toyota recommends and encourages you to consult with a safety professional familiar with your environment and application of use to assess your forklifts, other material handling equipment, other equipment used in your operation, application and workplace and your safety rules to safely integrate forklifts into your workplace loading docks. Here are some general safety considerations that should not be overlooked when creating a culture of safety on loading docks when unloading trailers.

Common Trailer Unloading Mishaps

Clutter– Empty pallets, packing materials and other debris might be trip hazards for workers or cause slippage for your material handling equipment or become entrapped in, under, or around your material handling equipment. For pedestrians and operators alike, this is a point of concern as loading docks have a great deal of traffic including forklifts, warehouse equipment, and pedestrians.

One fundamental practice we use in Toyota facilities is that everything has a place or a home, and everything is put in its place or home.  This practice has been effective in eliminating loading dock clutter.  All employees know where “home” is for materials so tripping hazards don’t pile up. For example, Toyota facilities use receptacles for plastic wrap, and operators are required to immediately move empty pallets to proper storage locations.  Depending on your operation and workplace and material handling considerations, you and your safety consultant should work together to develop standard operating procedures based on your operational needs.

Slick Surfaces– Rain, sleet, snow and spills are some of the contributing factors that may lead to slick surfaces in or around a loading dock. This can cause a slip hazard for both pedestrians and material handling equipment unloading a trailer.

To minimize this risk, keep all surfaces on and surrounding your dock dry. Sweeping, mopping and use of floor fans or dryers can help maintain dry working surfaces. In the case of a spill, workers and operators should be trained on the proper steps to make sure that the spill is cleaned up and disposed of safety and appropriately.  If it’s a hazardous substance, you should refer to all applicable rules, regulations and laws for safely cleaning and disposing of them.  And remember, if the spill involved a forklift, OSHA requires that the operator be retrained.

Trailer Creep– Trailers can move substantially under the weight of a forklift driving back and forth between the trailer and dock. This is known as trailer creep and it’s a serious safety hazard.

Use of dock levers to bridge the gap between the trailer and loading dock, wheel chocks to prevent tractor and trailer wheel movement, and automatic trailer restraints are all ways to address this potential hazard.  Once again, workers and forklift operators should receive safety training that includes the appropriate way to secure trailers at your facility.

Premature Departure– Trucks driving away before a trailer is fully unloaded is a serious concern. To minimize the potential of this occurring, clear communication between truck drivers, forklift operators, and dock managers is needed and should be a part of your safety training.

Like mentioned above, wheel chocks and automatic trailer restraints are also couple ways to reduce the likelihood of premature departure. Other ways include a lighting system that changes colors depending on the status of the unloading process or taking the truck drivers’ keys until the trailer is fully unloaded. These practices should be considered when augmenting a culture of communication and proper safety training and practices to enhance safety on and around loading docks.

By: Kayla Lumpford-Mitchell, eCommerce Marketing Specialist, Toyota Material Handling, USA

Feb 26

COLUMBUS, Ind. – (February 13, 2019) – Toyota Industries North America, Inc. has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of Hoist Liftruck Mfg., LLC effective February 8, 2019. The new company will be Hoist Material Handling, Inc.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished in building a terrific brand and quality products,” said Hoist Founder Marty Flaska. “I am retiring and will no longer be part of the business, but the company is in good hands. It’s an honor to hand it off to the industry leader Toyota.”

Hoist Material Handling will be led by Vice President (VP) and General Manager Dan Kossow; VP of Engineering Bob Miller; VP of Sales Stu Jacover; and VP of Operations Ryan Delaney. Delaney, who spent the last six years as Director of Quality for the Raymond Corporation, will join the Hoist Material Handling team in East Chicago reporting to Tony Miller, Senior VP of Operations and Engineering for Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing.

“This is the perfect next step in the expansion of our Toyota Heavy Duty (THD) line,” said Jeff Rufener, President of Toyota Material Handling U.SA. “Hoist has been a great manufacturer of heavy-duty equipment for years and brings a group of passionate, talented associates that will help us in our role as a full-line equipment supplier. We are excited about the future of Hoist Material Handling.”

The acquisition of Hoist Material Handling adds to Toyota’s already robust presence in the state of Indiana. Headquartered in East Chicago, Ind. with a 550,000-square-foot factory, Hoist has nearly 25 years of experience manufacturing heavy-duty cushion tire and pneumatic forklifts, reach stackers, container handlers, and more, ranging in lift capacity from 7 to 57 tons.

Toyota has had an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) agreement with Hoist for the manufacture of large capacity forklifts under the THD brand since 2015.

“We are committed to maintaining a high-level of quality products and service to both the Hoist and Toyota dealer networks,” Rufener said.

Toyota Material Handling offers a full line of material handling products proudly assembled in the United States, including forklifts, reach trucks, order pickers, pallet jacks, container handlers, automated guided vehicles, and tow tractors, along with aerial work platforms, fleet management services, and advanced automation engineering and design. Toyota’s commitment to quality, reliability and customer satisfaction, the hallmark of the Toyota Production System, extends throughout more than 230 locations across North America. 

Photo & Article credit:  Hoist News Link

Feb 19

Electricity and water don’t mix, until it’s time for forklift battery maintenance. Cool, refreshing, H2O doesn’t just keep your body running – water is crucial for proper battery function in electric forklifts.

Improper water levels can lower battery life and reduce cycle time between charges, decreasing your forklift’s effectiveness while increasing energy and maintenance costs.

In modern lead acid batteries that run most electric forklifts, water fills the individual cells to ensure a functional mix of the chemicals and electrolytes that power the equipment. Should water levels dip too low in your forklift battery, it can cause preventable damage to your equipment. Improper water levels can lower battery life and reduce cycle time between charges, decreasing your forklift’s effectiveness while increasing energy and maintenance costs. To prevent this damage, you should do the following:

  • Water the battery after charging. Unless the metal plates of the individual cells are exposed, watering before charging can cause overflows and electrolyte imbalance. If the plates are exposed, top the battery enough to cover them, recharge, and then complete regular watering after charging.
  • Use pure or distilled water. Water that is dirty or filled with particulates can cause electrolyte imbalances and damage the battery. Distilled water isn’t usually needed so long as pure, clean water is used.
  • If available, use a single-point watering system. They save you time and make sure water levels are appropriate in all battery cells.
  • Avoid lengthy exposure to cold temperatures. If water freezes in your batteries, it can damage them.

New forklift batteries can be expensive. Take care of what you have and you’ll be a hero for your boss and your business.

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