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New FMI, NAPAR, LiftExchange Program Slashes Equipment Costs

WASHINGTON -- Food retailers, wholesalers, and suppliers can significantly reduce equipment costs and boost management efficiency through LiftExchange, a new program from the Food Marketing Institute, North American Perishable Agricultural Receivers (NAPAR), and LiftExchange Group, Inc.

FMI and NAPAR members who wish to join the program will have no startup costs or participation fees. LiftExchange covers all of equipment and supplies employed in warehouse distribution, such lift trucks, pallet jacks, forks, tires, seats, lights, batteries and chargers, battery-handling equipment, propane, shrink wrap, and racking systems. The program additionally offers members considerable discounts from the top suppliers of these items.

"Most important, LiftExchange enables companies to assess their equipment needs and use based on accurate, real-time data and management reports," noted FMI president and c.e.o. Tim Hammonds in a statement. "Members can perform cost-benefit analyses on equipment that will save them thousands and, in some cases millions, of dollars."

Added LiftExchange Group president and c.e.o. Joe Ciolino: "FMI and NAPAR members have some of the largest materials-handling fleets in the country. Their participation in this robust purchasing program will greatly enhance its aggregated buying power. Our business model shows savings from 15 percent to 45 percent--primarily through more efficient equipment management."

Program features include:

--Alerting retailers when systems surpass their useful life, which decreases productivity, generates excessive maintenance costs and reduces emergency repairs.

--Ensuring that companies take full advantage of product warranties.

--Calculating how much equipment companies need so they do not overspend.

--Helping companies use the best and most cost-effective system for the job.

--Benchmarking the cost of equipment per hour of operation.

--Checking every invoice to ensure the amount charged is correct and companies are not double-billed.

--Providing optimal pricing on quality-assured parts and materials-handling equipment models.

According to NAPAR president Patrick Davis, "Through LiftExchange, FMI and NAPAR members who maintain fleets of materials-handling equipment can take better control of their rolling stock, understand the true costs of each piece of equipment, and ultimately reduce the money they spend in this area. Whether the equipment is deployed in stores, distribution centers, terminal markets or manufacturing plants, our members will be able to save money by making more informed maintenance and lifecycle decisions."

The program offers services in a menu format, since companies have varying needs and priorities. Participants can select those features that fit their operations, such as outsourcing maintenance to a third party.

Because a broad assortment of manufacturer brands are represented in the program, members can research and buy equipment tailored to their particular needs without the choice limitations of single-brand dealerships.

LiftExchange complements FMI's FoodFleetXchange buying program for commercial trucking.

Such firms as the Kellogg Co., ProPak Logistics, Source Interlink Cos., and Keebler Co. are already program participants.

To participate in LiftExchange, FMI and NAPAR members should visit the Web site. For additional information, they can e-mail Patrick Davis ([email protected]) or Joe Ciolino ([email protected]).
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