France – tailor-made service contracts and robotics pioneer
Offering such wide cultural and scenic diversity, it is really no surprise that every year France welcomes more tourists than any other country in the world. At the same time, the world’s sixth largest economy is the most important industrialised country in Europe, alongside Germany. The demand for industrial trucks is correspondingly great: 2015 saw a total of 59,254 machines sold in France, of which 13% were electric and 15% internal combustion forklifts. At 72%, warehouse trucks accounted for by far the largest share, which makes France number one in Europe in this segment. The main reason for the high proportion of warehouse trucks is the fact that many leading food retailers are based in France and these typically have a high demand for this kind of equipment.
- In 2014 the unemployment rate was 10% (not including overseas territories).
- The budget deficit in 2014 was 3.9% of GDP.
- The national debt amounted to 95% of GDP in 2014.
(Source: German Foreign Ministry)
Linde Material Handling operates in France under the name Fenwick-Linde S.A.R.L. France is Europe’s second largest market for industrial trucks and therefore also an important sales market for Linde Material Handling. The country’s most important sectors include trade, logistics, the steel industry and agriculture as well as the chemicals, food and car industries.
Focus on services and automation
The Fenwick brand has existed in the forklift industry over 100 years and maintains long-term relationships with its customers, which include XPO, Géodis, Pomona, St-Gobain and Volvo trucks. Fenwick-Linde has a wide-ranging service portfolio oriented towards the specific needs of its customers. Maintenance contracts in particular are an area that has enjoyed steady growth. Approximately 70% of all sales currently include maintenance contracts, and roughly 54,000 vehicles are operated with a maintenance contract.
Fenwick-Linde maintenance contracts include four service elements for smooth fleet operation. When it comes to prevention, Fenwick-Linde agrees maintenance intervals that ensure reliable functionality and a high level of operational safety. The contracts also contain additional agreements on the proactive maintenance of wear parts to ensure continuous functionality. The third element covered by maintenance contracts is vehicle availability. Full-service contracts guarantee the exchange or repair of spare parts within 48 hours. The fourth element is a fleet development package that also offers customers tailor-made solutions for regular inspections, complete or partial on-site support by a service engineer and energy management.
In addition to its pioneering role with regard to maintenance contracts, Fenwick-Linde is also a leader in the field of automation, where it currently works with companies such as SMAD, ALIGRAIN, ATLANTIC and VALRONHA. On the one hand, this development is being driven by increasing competitive pressure within the industry as a result of ever shorter delivery times and the need to increase efficiency. On the other, however, the demand for more automated solutions is also being driven by high labour costs and the resulting cost pressures as well as the increasing need for operational safety.
One customer example
The example of Massilly France, the French manufacturer of metal packaging, demonstrates how Fenwick-Linde robotic solutions can be successfully deployed in the metalworking sector. The company has grown considerably in recent years, and it therefore sought a better means of coping with the additional logistics costs arising out of its increased production volumes. A solution of this kind was found in the shape of the Linde-MATIC robotic models, which offer the greatest benefits when dealing with repetitive processes over long distances. The ease with which these automated vehicles could be integrated into existing infrastructures turned out to be especially advantageous. Above all, the integrated trucks made it possible to immediately automate low value-added load-handling processes and carry them out in a cost-efficient way.