One of the great milestones in our history was the period in time that we launched our Forklevator product line, lifts used to service the underside of Fork Lift Trucks and off-road vehicles. We nicknamed this four-post screw-actuated lifting platform by melding the words Fork Truck and Elevator together; nothing fancy, but it does tell the story.
Beginning in 1981, we developed the Forklevator product into a real going concern. We started a company, Forklevator Incorporated, in Buffalo, New York and hired a full-time sales manager. The scope of his work was to create and maintain a dealer network across the United States. This was a huge undertaking and took nearly four years to accomplish. Concurrently we developed a sales manual….a sort of “how to sell” book for all the dealer’s sales staff. The manual paid attention to technical know-how, pricing, market research, competition, ROI calculations and so on. The efforts on both of these fronts paid off splendidly as sales of the lift systems climbed to an average of 40 units per year. It was a real going concern, and as a result of its success, Handling Specialty set up its first USA manufacturing facility in order to produce the Forklevator products in the USA.
In 1993 we were approached by our major competitor (for lifting and servicing Fork Trucks). They had decided that they wanted to sell their product line and focus their efforts on their other products. Handling Specialty went on to purchase this product, known in the marketplace as the Excalibur. We still sell Excaliburs to this day, and we are still friends with our competitors as well. It is a pleasure to have such a deal work out this way.
So today, though known for very special “one-off” builds, we still do runs of Forklevators and Excaliburs. Thanks to a lot of great manufacturing talent, we have managed to reduce our costs and stay competitive. Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Forklevator….sounds like an opportunity to celebrate!