Hyster is now a world leader in lift trucks as well as warehousing solutions. However, it began as a producer of lifting equipment and winches. Most of its production was concentrated in the Pacific Northwest and dealt primarily with the timber and logging industry. A couple years after the 1st forklift trucks were invented Hyster became synonymous with quality manufacturing. Over the last 80 years Hyster has continued to get bigger and increase 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 at the moment.
Some of the key inflection points in Hyster's history occurred between the 1940's and the 1960's. In 1946, Hyster opened a plant in Illinois that was completely devoted to bulk manufacturing trucks. This allowed Hyster to force its expenses down and, at the same time, offer a better quality product at industry aggressive 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.
Between the late 50's through the 60's, Hyster continued to expand into new markets. They started constructing container handlers in the United states in 1959 to meet with the ever growing demand for transportation goods. In 1966, Hyster developed a method for allowing a lift truck to go both ahead and backwards using the same pedal. This pedal was termed the Monotrol pedal, which revolutionized the industry. Later in the decade Hyster opened a R&D centre in Oregon that was focused on enhancing the design and performance 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 swiftly during the sixties, Hyster needed to reorient its focus towards these new mass markets. Accordingly, in 1970, the XL design philosophy was born. The XL design philosophy allowed Hyster to offer superior quality at a more inexpensive price. 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 80's Hyster continued to focus on developing industry leading lift trucks. The Hyster brand name was known throughout the globe for its commitment towards superiority. This attention to quality produced many suitors for the company. In 1989, a large multinational company based in Ohio called NACCO Industries purchased Hyster and began an aggressive growth plan. NACCO rapidly replaced the XL philosophy with a more driver oriented truck 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 approach has meant that Hyster has had to continually invest in new technology. Acquisitions and investments were made in the US, Italy, Netherlands, and various other places all over the globe. All of these investments have made Hyster a global leader in the lift truck market. Recently, Hyster celebrated its eightieth anniversary as an industry leader of materials handling equipment, which comprises more than 300 various versions of forklift trucks.
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