An historic move that saw the industry's two leading trade associations share an exhibition stand at IMHX proved highly successful with both parties registering record numbers of visitors and garnering universal praise for the stylish, and versatile two-storey stand.
According to James Clark, Secretary General of BITA (British Industrial Truck Association) "When it was first announced that we were to collaborate so closely with the FLTA (Fork Lift Truck Association) I think there were a few raised eyebrows but it has in fact proved a genuine success.
"For those within our industry it offered an ideal one-stop shop to catch up on recent developments and to meet those people within the associations who they speak to everyday but rarely see. Because of the two-tier design we were able to offer plenty of space for members to meet, entertain visitors and answer questions on host of technical and legislative issues."
In the case of Lee Medway, newly appointed Quality Manager for the FLTA the timing couldn't have been more opportune. Having joined the Association just seven days prior to the show, IMHX presented a unique opportunity to see first-hand, a huge and diverse range of equipment and meet a veritable who's who of the materials handling industry.
For both BITA and the FLTA it also provided a perfect opportunity to showcase to the public the wealth of work that is being done by these leading bodies in the areas of framing and interpretation of new legislation, safety and fork truck inspections.
In fact, this joint venture was the latest in a series that earlier this year saw BITA and the FLTA establish the industry's first dedicated training centre for engineers and apprentices: F-TEC. "We had a high level of interest in the apprenticeship scheme" explains Peter Harvey of the FLTA and were able to introduce them to our colleagues from F-TEC who were represented in the Future Skills Zone".
Joining BITA and the FLTA on stand 11M35 were the two technical managers from CFTS, the accrediting body for the UK's first national scheme for the Thorough Examination of fork lift trucks to incorporate the requirements of both LOLER and PUWER. Formed 10 years ago, appropriately enough as a joint venture between BITA and the FLTA, it already has more than 400 companies accredited to its scheme – with a stream of IMHX visitors visiting the stand to seeking to join.
"Looking ahead, I think there is every likelihood that we will repeat the exercise for the next IMHX in 2019" added Peter Harvey.