Hyster is an industry leader in the materials handling industry that has been in business for over eighty years. However, it started as a manufacturer of lifting machines and winches. Most of its production was focused in the Pacific Northwest and dealt primarily with the lumber and logging industry. A couple years after the first forklift trucks were invented Hyster became synonymous with quality manufacturing. Over the previous 80 years Hyster has continued to get bigger and grow its product line. The growth of its products coupled with its want to stay service oriented has allowed Hyster to mature into the worldwide player it is today.
Some of the major inflection points in Hyster's past occurred between the 1940's and the 1960's. In 1946, Hyster opened a plant in Illinois that was fully dedicated to mass producing trucks. This allowed Hyster to drive its costs down and, simultaneously, offer a better quality product at industry competitive prices. In 1952, Hyster began its first foray in to the international production market through opening its first plant in the Netherlands. The Netherlands plant was originally designed to produce two products: Hyster 40" and the Karry Kranes.
The forever varying needs of Hyster clients and Hyster's aptitude to continue to innovate led to rapid development throughout the 50's and 1960's. They started building container handlers in the United states in 1959 to satisfy the ever expanding demand for transportation goods. In 1966, Hyster developed a process for allowing a lift truck to go both forward and backwards using the same pedal. This pedal was termed the Monotrol pedal, which revolutionized the industry. Later on in the decade Hyster opened a R and D centre in Oregon that was focused on enhancing the design and functionality of forklifts. The centre is still one of the world's greatest testing facilities in the materials handling industry.
As demand for materials handling equipment continued to expand rapidly through the 60's, Hyster considered it necessary to reorient its focus towards these new mass markets. Thus, in 1970, the XL design philosophy was born. The XL design philosophy allowed Hyster to offer better quality at a more affordable cost. A further expansion in manufacturing capabilities was necessitated by the need in Europe for Internal Combustion Engine Trucks. To plug this gap, a plant in Craigavon, Ireland was opened in 1980. Through the 1980's Hyster continued to focus on developing industry leading forklifts. The Hyster company name was known throughout the globe for its dedication towards quality. This attention to quality brought numerous suitors for the enterprise. In 1989, a large multinational company based in Ohio called NACCO Industries purchased Hyster and began an aggressive expansion strategy. NACCO promptly replaced the XL philosophy with a more driver oriented forklift that concentrated on operator comfort, which is well-known as the XM generation of trucks.
The shift in supply change management to a much more just-in-time focused structure has meant that Hyster has had to continually invest in new-found technologies. Acquisitions and investments were made in the United States, Italy, Netherlands, and various other places throughout the world. All of these investments have made Hyster a international leader in the lift truck market. Recently, Hyster celebrated its eightieth anniversary as an industry leader of materials handling equipment, which comprises more than three hundred different types of lift trucks.
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