As businesses across the globe are looking to go greener, Woolworths sought an innovative partner to grow and revolutionize their supply chain whilst reducing their carbon footprint. The retail group chose to standardize their warehouse equipment with the global market leader, Toyota Forklift and BT materials handling equipment.

In addition to the existing Toyota forklifts in Woolworths’ fleet, three wheel electric forklifts were supplied as well as IPX4 rated four wheel electric forklifts, which are the world’s first electric forklifts with the ability to operate in the rain. BT Reach trucks, order pickers and LPE power pallet trucks also complemented the supply of the electric counterbalanced trucks.


About 3 years ago, Woolworths was operating 50 units with 5 different vendors over 3 sites. “Our fleet had been purchased on an ad hoc basis and specifications had never been standardized. A renewal program was initiated with the following primary aims in mind; 1 national MHE vendor, standardized national specifications and clear end to end costing. Toyota Forklift offered these as well as a relationship that allowed for mutual growth,” described Michael-John Newham from Woolworths.

“We delivered material handling equipment according to the customer’s specifications which was fitted with world leading and first in the country Trak air system batteries and chargers with Battery WIQ, a wireless monitoring tool for the batteries,” explained Leric Smith, Product Manager for Toyota Forklift.


Woolworths is known for its passion in quality and innovation as well as bringing in new concepts to ensure safety in the warehouse. The retail group introduced Tyri BluePoint LED lights for use in their warehouses. The coloured concentrated light beam displays a large and visible square on the floor in front or behind the machine to alert workers that a machine is approaching. This industry leading concept allows safety to be visual instead of relying solely on sirens and alarms, especially in loud noisy workplaces where hearing is difficult.
Woolworths went on to select Toyota Forklift’s equipment because of their international award winning Toyota I-site fleet management solution which would further increase safety levels in their warehouses.

Toyota I_Site

Toyota I_Site is an advanced fleet management business solution that helps companies optimise their fleet size by increasing safety, reducing cost and improving productivity.

“Continuous customer support for Toyota I_Site is available from trained and certified specialists,” notes Smith. “The various features of this system all help to improve efficiencies and give information to ensure proper and informed central management of the entire fleet,” he adds.

According to Newham, the new machines have improved cross docking efficiencies ensuring product is loaded quickly, safely and on time. The retail giant is now able to move 3 picking bins at a time instead of only one bin with the previous machines.
“Pallet put-aways and retrievals are a lot faster as well as smoother lift speeds, thanks to the modern equipment,” he adds.

“Longer operating times on all equipment also improved with all equipment being AC power and the addition of TRAK Air chargers. The inclusion of the I-site system and access to Toyota Forklift’s well-trained and managed support services has allowed the partnership to grow and enrich both parties,” noted Newham. “The tools available on this system ensure correct spread of equipment is being used to ensure maximum uptime.”

“The pre-check op devices installed on Woolworth’s machines play a big role in assisting a business go green as it saves paper and ensures drivers do their daily checks; a legal requirement, and to make sure the equipment they are about to operate is safe to use. Equipment is thus properly looked after, increasing the life span of the equipment,” advises Smith. “This system helps achieve an initial upfront investment saving and lowers cost of abuse and inefficiency costs over the term,” he concludes.

Note to Editors

As the sole distributors for Toyota Forklifts, BT and Raymond Equipment in Southern Africa, Toyota Forklift is able to meet all customer warehousing and materials handling requirements, offering rental and used equipment, after-market service, operator training as well as a range of other value added services. Distribution and service is carried out through branches in the main centres with depots and dealers complementing the Southern Africa network.

Eqstra Industrial Equipment (“EIE”) provides distribution, leasing, rental and value-added services for industrial, materials handling and agricultural equipment in South Africa, various other African countries, the UK and Ireland. The division is the largest supplier of forklifts to the South African market and has the largest product support infrastructure in the region. EIE is a division of Eqstra Holdings Limited.

For further information contact Leric Smith
Product and Training Manager