Toyota forklifts tough as nails

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  • Plant & Equipment

Don’t be fooled by the glossy exterior. The team at fruit and vegetable wholesaler Grech & Borg say its new range of 8FG forklifts can do the hard yards

Toyota forklifts tough as nails
Grech & Borg managing director Joanne Stone and operations manager Brendan Stone, pictured at the Sydney Markets in June, with some of their new Toyota forklifts


When they’re in full swing, the Sydney Markets are action-packed and bustling, and the eye-catching pink forklifts used by fruit and vegetable wholesaler Grech & Borg are seldom left idle. 

Founded by migrants Joseph Grech and Victor Borg in 1967, and today operated by Joseph’s daughter Joanne Stone, the wholesaler sources produce from New South Wales’ Hawkesbury region for sale in the city. 

Stone says the company has grown its Toyota fleet from two to five over a 12-year period, adding that she had been able to add her own special touch, thanks in part to Toyota’s in-house paint shop at its Moorebank headquarters. 

"For years, I wanted to complete the new company branding by making our forklifts pink, but I always had pushback from staff." 

But, with the most recent purchase, Toyota Material Handling Australia area sales manager Michael Tsougranis was able to make the appropriate changes. 

"So now, I have my pink label out there and it says: ‘Here I am!’ she says. 

For the record, though, Stone’s preference for Toyotas goes well beyond the aesthetic, saying the company’s switchover to another brand roughly 10 years prior had ended poorly, with the machines often needing maintenance. 

"Some of our Toyota forklifts have built-in scales and they have 

 front-and-rear glass screens to provide more protection for our operators from the weather, but other than that they’re all the same and standard," she says. 

"We haven’t had to spend any money fixing them, just the Toyota servicing, which obviously keeps them in good condition. We also turn them over every five years or so, which seems to be a good interval for ensuring our forklifts are doing what we need them to, namely working. 

"We have definitely found that our Toyota forklifts have more up-time than the other brand that we tried. When it comes time for servicing, they arrive at our warehouse when our operators are finished and always do the service on the same day," she adds. 

Company operations manager Brendan Stone says the fleet of five Toyota forklifts are active all throughout their daily shifts. 

"In terms of duties they have a pretty hard-working life," he says. 

"The Sydney Markets are kind-of-like a mini suburb. Where we are based is about a six- or seven-minute drive on the forklift to the dispatch area where we collect or deliver at the loading dock. 

"Our forklifts operate as such for eight hours a day. So, they get worked pretty hard. Also, being an outdoor area, the market has an impact on the forklifts in terms of the weather and road conditions." 

Tsougranis says he estimates about 85 per cent of all forklifts at the Sydney Markets are from Toyota, with the company employing service technicians on-site. 

He adds that the company’s System of Active Stability (SAS) package adds to Toyota’s reputation for safety. 

"It’s the first system in the world to monitor and control forklifts through a combination of advanced sensors linked to an on-board controller, enabling assured load-handling performance and, therefore, safety," he says. 

"The SAS computer constantly analyses the potential for a tip-over. If the SAS computer finds tip-over potential, it sends a signal to the Toyota forklift actuators, which then minimise tip-over potential." 

For Brendan, who manages health and safety for Grech & Borg, it’s the Toyota’s safety features that are the most important. 

"I like that they have a speed limiter and won’t start without the seatbelt being on," he says. 

"I don’t know too much about the technicalities of the stability system, but I always jump on the new one to put it through its paces and I am always impressed by how stable they feel. It’s a very assured driving experience." 

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