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Organization and Management of Information

Many material handling dealers are enduring an ever-increasing number on inquiries regarding either:
•Health and Safety Pre-Qualification forms with exceptional documentation and data. (For example OSHA 300 & 300A reporting, EMR rating, Drug Screening information and Background Check procedures, SIC/ NASIC Codes, Dunn’s # and Certificates of Insurance).
•Written Sustainability Plans and Procedures (including details of how our respective dealerships are working to reduce our carbon footprint).
Our challenge as a dealership is that the requested information is held by several different departments throughout our organizations. Any suggestions of how you manage this in your organization?”   
— Jim MacGregor, VP Operations Toyota Forklifts of Atlanta

Jerry Weidmann
Wisconsin Lift Truck Corp.
Brookfield, WI

We receive requests for this type of information on a regular basis. Typically, the requests are associated with a bid process for larger transactions. In our company the requests will come in through our fleet services group or one of our sales managers. The requests frequently differ and as such have to be managed based on the content of the requests. The fleet manager or sales manager acts as the quarterback for a response, but the information for the response is generally routed to specific individuals within our firm based on their area of responsibility.
•Our CFO is responsible for reviewing contracts and terms and conditions. Based on his review, questions are routed to others. Our CFO coordinates the issuance of insurance certificates.
•Human Resources will review information requests for background checks, training history for technicians, special training required of staff to comply with customer requests, drug screening information, etc. If we are awarded the business, compliance for these areas will be managed by our HR personnel.
•Our safety manager reports to HR. Questions on OSHA reporting and EMR rating will generally be managed by our safety manager.
•Sustainability plans are managed by our COO.

Because these requests are not all the same, we coordinate the responses from the managers responsible for each area through our sales managers or fleet services manager.

Mark Milovich
Lift Atlanta, Inc.
Decatur, GA

We are a little fortunate that we are a relatively small dealership. With only two offices, we do not have much of a problem combining this information. Our controller, who oversees our accounting and HR departments, collects and maintains this information for us. When we get these types of requests from customers or potential customers, I know exactly where to go to get the information. Someone needs to take the lead on this, and I would suggest someone like your controller, who is not part of the normal everyday operations affected by OSHA regs, etc. It helps to add a level of integrity to the information if its management is kept outside of the departments that are regulated by OSHA and safety requirements.

Brad Baker
Vice President
Cardinal Carryor, Inc.
Louisville, KY

This trend will continue to grow. Our salesmen do ask as part of trial closing for a list of all required documents for the contract or to be set up and approved as a vendor. Asking may give the salesman some idea of where the order stands and will give the office people more time to gather the information.

Buddy Smith
Carolina Material Handling Services, Inc.
Columbia, SC

Regarding the question concerning health and safety prequalification forms, we manage this information in our Human Resource Department. This information includes OSHA, EMR rating, drug and background checks, certificates of insurance, etc. We have not received any requests regarding sustainability plans and procedures.

Al Boston
AK Material Handling Systems
Maple Grove, MN

Brian Koski, system design specialist at AK Material Handling, is responsible for this. His recommendation is to be proactive in this area. Assign a person/ group to gather and keep the information up to date. In addition, have them create a master document/ location with this information so that all or portions of it can be used in sales proposals and available to all who need it. It will be worth the investment of time and effort.

Doug Carson
VP Marketing/Sales
Fallsway Equipment Company
Akron, OH

At Fallsway Equipment Company our controller has the Human Resources, Accounting, Finance and IT departments reporting through her office. While the responsibilities for instituting the various programs described are spread throughout our other departments, ultimately the reporting requirements roll into one of our controller’s four departments. We do receive a large number of these requests and ultimately our controller ensures responses to the sales personnel or end user requesting the information.