January 10, 2019

Toyota bundles two divisions together to create unified material handling unit

Toyota Material Handling Inc. to be formed by combination of Japanese company's Industrial Equipment Manufacturing and Material Handling USA lines.

By DC Velocity Staff

Toyota will bundle two of its divisions together in search of a more unified corporate culture, saying Wednesday it will combine Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing (TIEM) and Toyota Material Handling USA (TMHU) into a single business unit by January 2020.

The new company will be called Toyota Material Handling Inc. (TMH) and will be led by President/CEO Jeff Rufener and Senior Vice President Tony Miller. The move integrates the firm's forklift manufacturing operations with its sales, marketing, and distribution functions and will affect a broad swath of the region's industrial truck business, since the company's Toyota and Raymond brands account for one in three forklifts sold in North America.

The TMH business will remain in Columbus, Ind., and report directly to Toyota Material Handling North America (TMHNA). "Our goal is to have a stronger, more unified, corporate culture around our material handling business," Brett Wood, President and CEO of TMHNA, said in a release. "As one company we will be more efficient and more responsive to our associates, suppliers, dealers and customers." 

According to Toyota, the integration is the next step in a progression of events that started in 2014 when TMHU completed a three-year relocation of its headquarters from California to Indiana. "We successfully combined our service parts business in 2017, and as we considered other synergy opportunities, it became clear that a complete consolidation of the companies was our best next step," Rufener said in a release. "Integrating our teams will improve the flow of information to and from our customers, so we can deliver exactly what they need when they need it."

The reorganization is also Toyota's latest maneuver to position itself to provide material handling equipment and services in an era when many of its customers are being scalded by the red-hot growth of e-commerce retail and omnichannel fulfillment.

In 2017, the firm's umbrella organization, Toyota Industries Corp. (TICO), formed a new division called Toyota Advanced Logistics Solutions (TALS) that was designed to sell integrated automation and productivity solutions to material handling and logistics markets in North America.

Toyota acquired the systems integrator Bastian Solutions LLC to serve as its foundation, and set up TALS to operate alongside its sister division TMHNA, which encompasses TMHU, TIEM, and forklift vendor The Raymond Corp.

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