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Editor's Pick - Materials Handling


Expert approved: Why awards can help you make better-informed decisions

25 June 2023

Having seen the EDiA XL electric counterbalance truck scoop two top international awards, Ben Haseley of Red Diamond Distribution — a distributor for Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks UK — explains why awards matter and why the entire EDiA range has proved so successful.

IT’S HARD to beat a personal recommendation when you’ve a major purchase to make. But if that’s not forthcoming, what’s the next best option?  

For smaller items you can look at online reviews, but many of these have been discredited by consumer watchdogs such as Which.

The other — and almost certainly best — option is to check out award winners.

And the good news is that the materials handling sector is well served in that respect, with authoritative bodies using their skill and wisdom to point you to exceptional products, brands, or services.

These trusted awards, backed by a history of objectivity and credibility, provide a reliable metric for identifying outstanding products and features.

The organisations involved have already invested significant time and resources in defining and refining their criteria, ensuring that the assessment process is thorough and comprehensive. As a result, relying on their judgment and expertise can significantly reduce the pain of evaluating equipment when you’re starting from a blank slate.

Experience and insight

Based in Germany, Red Dot is very much design-oriented and embraces a great many different sectors with previous winners including famous brands such as BMW, Apple, and Porsche.

Since 1954 it has grown to become an internationally recognised mark of design excellence, highlighting those deemed to have excelled in product design, brand design, or concept design.

Run by the UK Material Handling Association (UKMHA), the Archies (previously known as the FLTA Annual Awards for Excellence) recently celebrated its 27th anniversary. The event – which has long been supported by this publication – focuses exclusively on the materials handling industry, putting equipment, services, and ancillary products under the microscope. With no cost to enter, it means even the smallest company can participate and compete against the largest international manufacturer.

Why awards matter

What does it take to win an award and what does it say about the winners?

Winning an award is testimony to innovation and enterprise… but winning multiple awards is, in my opinion, an indication of something bigger and more substantial. It demonstrates a deep understanding of what users need and a commitment to the necessary R&D and engineering excellence.

It’s no coincidence that Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks has taken home an Archie on ten separate occasions and was the first manufacturer to walk away with the top honours in every one of the "big four" categories: Safety, Environment, Ergonomics, and Innovation.

Its total of five Red Dot Design Awards is the highest for any forklift truck manufacture outside of Germany.

Award-winning criteria

It may sound obvious, but depending on the product category, there must be evidence that the equipment is fit for purpose, environmentally friendly, and improves safety, operator welfare, and productivity. 

For example, when EDiA EX electric counterbalance truck won its Red Dot awards for Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks, the jury noted: “…the forklift fulfils high demands of ergonomics and functionality and thus facilitates intuitive, fluid operation".

In short, the product is both easy to operate and does exactly what the operator expects. Indeed, after testing literally hundreds of different trucks, leading independent researcher Theo Egberts identified predictability as the single most important factor in maximising both productivity and safety. Qualities he found in abundance on the SENSiA EM reach truck.

That model went on to win Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks a Red Dot award for the way it “…incorporates innovative technologies in order to further optimise operating convenience".  In this case it was a combination of the Sensitive Drive System and Active Sway Control.

An award-winning feature itself, Active Sway Control eliminates mast sway to make operations smoother and more stable. Sensitive Drive System manages performance according to steer angle and the velocity of foot and finger controls for total accuracy and greatly enhanced safety. 

Mitsubishi Forklift Trucks’ most recent accolades were for the powerful EDiA XL 4.0–5.5-tonne electric counterbalance. In October 2022 it claimed the Environment Award at the Archies for its go-anywhere performance and innovative features which actively encourage companies to transition from IC engine to electric. In particular, the jury was impressed by the AutoBoost facility which automatically delivers additional torque and acceleration when it’s needed, such as on inclines.

And thanks to its exceptional ergonomics and next-generation design EDiA XL has been recognised again this year as part of Red Dot’s 2023 awards, meaning every current EDiA model has been granted use of that prestigious mark, a testament to the consistently high standards across the range.

Clearly, every awarding body will use different criteria, but well-established and demonstrably impartial awards will certainly offer you an efficient way to shortlist potential candidates.

For more information, visit www.mitsubishi-forklift.co.uk