Dealers are learning how efficient their yards can operate as sales pick up and inventory turns happen faster. Some are discovering they’ve delayed equipment purchases long enough or need to revise their layouts to make them more effective. Those needs have resulted in a growing interest in new vehicles and racking systems.
“The market is definitely coming back,” says Sam Krauter, designer and marketing manager with Krauter AutoStak Lumberyard Solutions. “More dealers are ready to invest to make their yards more efficient as sales pick up. This has been our best year to date since the mid-1990s.”
Gearoid Hogan, vice president of marketing for Combilift, agrees. “Dealers are more conscious of the need to make the best possible use of the space they have available, and they’re looking for ways to use storage and machines to best utilize what they have. They realize that the forklifts they use can help them do that.”
Sales growth has been spurred in part by the sales declines experienced during the height of the Great Recession, when dealers held back on many capital improvements. “In the past, there has typically been a three- to five-year cycle of exchanging and updating equipment,” explains Richard Benton, CEO and president of Center-Line Group. “That trend became delayed due to the recession. Companies have been keeping their equipment longer, and in current efforts to expand, much of their fleet is in need of repair. Companies now are looking into their best options to replace outdated equipment.”