Joe Neumann started his career in the material handling industry in July, 1973, working for a large Caterpillar dealership. Joe worked for FMH Material Handling starting in 1998, the material handling company previously owned by John Faulkner, and who now owns Industrial Forklifts.
Joe has been involved with the Heli products since 2006 as an extension of FMH and Industrial Forklifts. He shares the same hands-on knowledge he’s accumulated over the past 50 years.
We asked Joe to share his thoughts on the company, the industry, and the future.
“What’s your primary responsibility on the Industrial Forklifts team?”
As the Technical Manager, it’s my responsibility to assist and support our dealers and their technicians with service technical issues.
I also oversee warranty issues with our Industrial Forklift dealers, providing guidelines for processing warranty claims.
“How would you frame your experience in the industry?”
I’ve worked in the industry for 50 years now. I started as a shop mechanic at a large dealership which included body and paint. Over time I added welding, tire pressing, transport driving, and moved up to field service mechanic, shop foreman, field service manager, and warranty manager.
I’ve been on both sides of the business, serving as a union shop steward, representing the technicians, and working as a manager.
Along the way, I attended numerous service-related classes and became a certified trainer & service instructor. I’ve also served as a Judge for the Vocational Industry Club of America Olympics.
One of my most important roles was as a technical communicator for all the manufacturers my dealership represented. This role handles the “first contact” of communication between the manufacturers and the dealership, using one point of contact to solve technical issues efficiently.
In 2015 I was named Western Region Service Manager of the Year by one of our manufacturers.
“What’s one thing dealers working with Industrial Forklifts should know about you?”
You’re working with someone who searches for the root cause of the problem.
Anyone can replace a part and get the machine back in service, but I want to know what caused the part to fail. Oftentimes something else caused the part to fail and if you don’t find the “root cause” & fix that, the problem will come back.
“Why did this issue come about?” That’s what I ask myself every time a customer calls for service. Spending the extra time to dig into the problem could make the difference between a permanent fix, and the issue resurfacing at a later date.
“In your opinion, what’s the future of material handling look like? Should we keep an eye out for certain products or trends?”
The future trend of the industry is moving towards electric forklifts. Focus on gasoline, LPG, and diesel forklifts is going down. However, companies still need support for IC forklifts as the industry trend moves toward electric forklifts.
Electric forklift technology has been around for decades, but the technology has rapidly improved in recent years. We’re now seeing more efficient operation with self-contained controllers, smart displays, safety features, AC motors, and lithium-ion battery technology.
“What do you like to do when not working?”
I like to stay active!
Skiing, hiking, cycling, working out, home improvement renovations, local events, car shows…you’re not liable to see me sitting down for more than a minute. Keeping up with 5 grandkids keeps me plenty busy too.
For technical assistance, please contact email@example.com
For warranty issues, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For parts issues, please contact email@example.com