Like many material handlers, a manufacturer of household appliances relied on LP lift trucks to power its operations at the local plant level. While operators and plant managers accustomed to the maintenance requirements and the performance of LP powered lift trucks had no reason to seek change, corporate was concerned over LP safety, heat generation, air quality, and productivity loss associated with changing LP tanks.
Corporate asked ABT to propose a conversion to electric, using a plant with 100 trucks running two shifts per day for six days or three shifts per day for five days depending on demand and season, as a pilot. Local management was justified in their skeptical resistance. LP worked, it kept the plant running, and operators were accustomed to it.
ABT studied the operations for weeks before proposing a shift to electric using opportunity/fast charging — charging the batteries while still in the truck at convenient downtimes like lunch and breaks. Corporate agreed to the proposal, pending adoption by the local management. Department by department, ABT took on the task of educating employees and demonstrating the success of electrics and opportunity/fast charging. And department by department, the shift to ABT’s proposed system was adopted.