Shaun Simmonds, who joined Toyota Material Handling’s dedicated national team of Hand Pallet Truck (HPT) Specialists in the summer of 2022, discusses his day-to-day routine and the increasingly important role that IT plays when it comes to ensuring that we consistently deliver the highest possible levels of customer service.
What training did you undertake to prepare you for the role?
All Toyota’s Hand Pallet Truck (HPT) Specialists undergo stringent HPT foundation training, and we are trained to work on any make of hand pallet truck – not just Toyota models – which is essential for those customers that operate mixed fleets.
Thanks to the thorough training Toyota HPT Specialists receive we are familiar with most of the main HPT brands that we come across. But sometimes it’s quite nice to be faced with a product that you haven’t worked on before as I quite enjoy a challenge!
What tools are issued as an HPT Specialist?
These days IT is at the heart of the way technicians operate and we are equipped with all sorts of hi-tech equipment that ensures we deliver the best possible level of service to our customers. For example, each Toyota service technician is supplied with an impact resistant laptop that runs T-Stream, Toyota’s service software. We are also provided with a complete set of hand tools required to do the job ranging from punches to reciprocating saws.
What software packages do you use in the field and what are the key features/ benefits of the software?
Toyota’s T-Stream service software delivers all the right information - whether it’s an overview of service tasks or technical data - at the right time, wherever I am. It’s great that technicians no longer have to carry around and consult printed lift truck repair guides and spare parts manuals as thick as a telephone directory!
What is the structure of your typical day and key tasks performed?
A typical day starts at around 08.00 and I aim to have my last job completed by around 16.30. To keep downtime - as well as a client’s costs - to a minimum Toyota’s HPT Specialists carry out maintenance work on site at a customer’s premises so the number of miles I clock-up travelling between the different facilities within my allocated service area varies from day to day.
I carry out preventative maintenance, safety inspections and hand pallet truck repairs to keep our clients’ HPT equipment safe and performing to the highest standards at all times.
But, as well as arranging and undertaking regular servicing and maintenance, Toyota HPT specialists also make sure that customers are operating in accordance with all the relevant regulations, including the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER 98).
Another aspect of the role involves completing site surveys and quoting customers for new or additional hand pallet trucks.
What do you enjoy the most about the role?
Models in the BT Lifter hand pallet truck range set the highest standards in hand pallet truck durability, strength and performance and are a joy to work with. The build quality of the products and the comprehensive training that we receive, along with the tools we are provided with, makes the work hugely enjoyable.
It’s great to be a part of a fantastic, well trained and highly motivated team and once I arrive on site the different people I meet is another thoroughly enjoyable aspect of my role. You come across some terrific characters and they all appreciate the service that we provide.
What originally attracted you to the role?
The vacancy was brought to my attention by a friend who was already working as a Toyota HPT Specialist. It sounded great, so I didn’t hesitate to apply. I had heard Toyota’s reputation in the material handling industry and knew they offered job security and opportunities to grow within the company.
What benefits do customers get from regularly maintaining their hand pallet truck fleet to a high standard?
While a strict servicing and maintenance regime is the best way of preventing significant downtime, hand pallet trucks must be routinely inspected and maintained to comply with a number of health and safety regulations.
Regular maintenance is also essential for the safety of your workforce. A robust service programme will identify any potential issues that may compromise the safety of the hand pallet truck and its operators. It will also reassure workers that the equipment they are using is in the best possible condition.
Taking truck maintenance seriously means that any potential problems can be identified before they become more serious and, over time, this not only helps to extend the performance and life of a hand pallet truck, but also protects the well being of staff.
What are your interests outside work?
I must be one of the few people who actually enjoy painting and decorating but when I’m not up a ladder with a paint roller and a tin of emulsion most of my spare time is taken up with family activities. I also like to get involved with various community projects – particularly those that support vulnerable older local people.