MH Equipment Blog

  • Material Handling: Forklift Slang You May Need to Know

    A forklift by any other name…..would still do the same thing!

    “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" is a popular reference to William Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. The reference is often used to imply that the names of things do not affect what they really are. It's one of the beauties of the English language that different regions have their own vocabularies, but sometimes the differences warrant a "Huh?" In certain parts of the country, you may need to order a Soda, in other parts it could be a Pop and to confuse the matter even further in the South you may need to order a Coke even though you don’t want a Coca-Cola. When it comes to the American lexicon, variety is key, and forklifts are not immune to this issue. However, the terminology people use to refer to forklifts does not vary as much by region but more about what company you work for.

    From its early origins in the late 1800’s as a simple hoist to modern versions of hybrid-powered technology, the forklift was naturally born out of necessity. No matter what you call them, their purpose is simple, move product from point A to point B.

    Forklifts have a long and important history that has significantly impacted supply innovation around the world. During their evolution, they have also been referred to by many different names. In 1923, Yale was the first company to use forks that lifted loads off the ground and an elevated mast that could extend beyond the height of the truck. The Yale truck is considered to be the first forklift. Thus was born the “forklift.” This is the most common term still used today. It is suggested that this has become the most popular name because it is also the most obvious description of the machine.

    However, let’s explore some of the other names the most important and widely used piece of equipment in material handling goes by:

    Lift truck: “Lift Truck” is arguably the second most popular name used to describe these pieces of equipment. Forklift and Lift Truck can be used interchangeably as there is no difference between the two. Other common words that are generically used to describe “forklifts” are fork truck, forklift truck, and lifts. These terms seem relatively obvious since they are different variations that ultimately describe the equipment.

    One lesser known term that is still used today to describe forklifts is “jeep.” To find the origins of this reference we need to go way back to 1907. When the Mercury Company was the first to use the word “jeep” on its forklifts. The use of the name pre-dated the famous Willys Jeep.

    In addition to these general terms there are also other nicknames that are used to describe more specific types of forklifts. There are seven different classifications of lift trucks. Classifications depend on factors such as applications, fuel options, and features of the forklift. Over the years different names have been used when describing certain types of forklifts within a class.

    For example, order pickers are a type of Class II electric motor narrow aisle truck. These trucks are designed to lift the operator to retrieve items. Order pickers are specialized forklifts for selecting items from elevated heights in warehouse racking. Although “Order picker” is their common name they are also referred to as cherry pickers because of there ability to lift an operator high into the rack to “cherry pick” items. The term “cherry picker” is also used for other types of material handling equipment that have a railed platform at the end for raising and lowering people.

    Another name used in the Class II family is a “turret truck.” This truck is specifically designed to do one task: operate in very narrow aisles. The turret truck is often abbreviated to VNA standing for a very narrow aisle truck. It is also often referred to as a “swing reach truck.” Turret Trucks are a battery-operated machine that uses both the electric engine, battery, and operator compartment to counterweight heavy loads.

    Today we have a whole new type of forklift that also comes along with a few different names. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) are forklifts that are designed to operate autonomously. These forklifts use guidance systems to maneuver themselves through a warehouse or building and pick up and drop off loads automatically. These vehicles are also known by other names such as LGV (Laser-Guided Vehicle), Mobile Robots, SGV (Self-Guided Vehicle), Guided Carts, Autonomous Vehicles, and Driverless Vehicles.

    To confuse matters even worse, many organizations have their own unique nicknames for their forklifts. Comment below with some of the unique names you have heard them called.

    No matter what you call them, there is no dispute that forklifts are the backbone of the supply chain. Without them, workdays would be longer and more strenuous and less efficient. History would have to be rewritten, as we would not have been able to achieve the extraordinary innovations that we all enjoy today.

  • 3 Ways to Maximize the Life of Your Railcar Mover

    Railcar movers are built to withstand decades of use as they contribute to keeping supply chains moving. To realize the full potential of your railcar mover, keeping your machine well-maintained becomes a priority to avoid breakdowns that can create costly downtime for your business.

    Downtime is expensive, time-consuming, and interruptive to your operations. It is also often the repercussion of not effectively maintaining your railcar mover over time. In an effort to save you money, time, and other resources, here are three recommendations that can help maximize the usable life of your railcar mover:

    1. Be diligent with your recommended maintenance schedule.

    One of the best ways to protect your investment in your railcar mover is to be mindful of your operational hours and to follow the machine’s recommended maintenance schedule.

    Having a periodic maintenance (PM) agreement with MH Equipment that aligns with your railcar mover’s recommended maintenance schedule can minimize any surprise breakdown costs that immediately halt your operations. In MH’s railcar mover PM agreements, our factory-certified technicians can complete a comprehensive maintenance check every 250, 500, 750, 1000, and 2000 hours, checking components like oils, filters, lines and fittings, couplers, and more.

    Sometimes, however, maintenance emergencies happen on the clock, and you need to get back up and running. At MH Equipment, we understand the urgency of every service call because we know the importance of the railcar mover to your business. That’s why we offer 24/7 onsite service* options with our skilled technicians, backed with a vast parts inventory.

    We know your time is valuable, and we understand you can’t always wait for repairs. MH Equipment also offers short- and long-term rental agreements to help you keep moving forward with your business.

    2. Have your operators take a minute to visually inspect the railcar mover before operation.

    Your operators play a crucial role in the life of your railcar mover – they are the eyes and feet on the ground that can identify any issues before they become a significant safety or maintenance problem. Here are a few items operators can easily inspect before operation:

    • Inspect wheel and tire condition
    • Check fluid levels
    • Test horn and lights
    • Refill sandboxes, if needed

    While this is not a complete list, it is best to have your operators perform a “daily inspection checklist” before they start their shift. A visual inspection can indicate obvious maintenance issues, but following the recommended maintenance schedule will ensure you’re getting the most out of your railcar mover for as long as possible.

    3. Empower your operators with the knowledge and skills to be successful.

    One of the best things you can do to keep your railcar mover up and running is having trained operators at the helm. Proper training gives your staff a well-rounded view of all operational aspects, from safety best practices and troubleshooting and maintenance when something is not running as it should.

    It is also important to offer refresher training to your employees. Over time, operators may develop bad habits, such as taking safety shortcuts – these bad habits can create productivity and safety issues, or even unnecessary maintenance costs, for your business. A trained operator will be a safer operator, which minimizes excessive wear and tear to the machine and keeps productivity high.

    At the end of the day, your company is losing money if your equipment is not up and running. MH Equipment’s team of railcar mover specialists can assist you in finding effective solutions to your downtime and maintenance issues – visit or call your nearest MH Equipment location to get in contact with one of them today.

    *Available for Rail King, Trackmobile, and Shuttlewagon models.

  • August 2020 Employee Health Newsletter

    At MH Equipment, we believe People Matter and that is why we partner with Gallagher to share helpful tips and tricks for staying healthy. This month, we look at taking control of your health with several easy tips. First – everyone should know their numbers – Weight, Blood Pressure, Cholesterol, and Blood Sugar. There is a helpful page on Eat This, Not That, and the benefits of swapping out certain foods. Lastly, we look at some key strategies for cancer prevention. We hope these tips have some value for you and your family!

    Learn More: August 2020 Employee Health Newsletter

  • Take Your Facility to the Next Level - Keep It Clean

    Most often, warehouses and manufacturing operations are known for the abundance of dirt, grease, and grime that comes with the territory of working in an industrial environment. Keeping your facility clean is an important, and at times lofty task, but with recent updates and innovations in industrial cleaning equipment there is an abundance of cleaning solutions readily available for almost any cleaning need.

    As our world continues to be impacted with things such as the Coronavirus, there is no more important time than now to ensure you are putting in place policies and procedures to keep your facility clean and sanitized and using the most effective cleaning equipment available.

    Most Importantly: Clean Everything

    Just like spring cleaning at home, do not miss the hard to reach spots. Clean every area in your facility from indoor offices to loading docks to parking lots. There is cleaning equipment that can wash and sanitize multiple types of surfaces. Do not only focus on high trafficked areas. Due to pandemics like COVID-19, it is important to sanitize every space to protect you, your workers, and your customers.

    Service Areas

    Service areas are the heart of many operations and require cleanliness to keep business moving and your employees safe. For service or in-door vehicle areas, a washer, like the Kärcher B 60 W Bp, is ideal for any shop area that requires maneuverability and even safeguards against incorrect operation. A scrubber like the PowerBoss Phoenix 3030, is great at cleaning those persistent and frustrating grease stains from shop floors using a scrub deck made of corrosion-resistant aluminum casting leaving a professional clean. The tested technology also conserves 20% of the water and chemicals compared to standard disc brushes helping your bottom line.


    Many facilities have office spaces like conference rooms, bathrooms, and desk spaces that tend to be high traffic areas. When meeting with customers, conference rooms and bathrooms may be spaces they spend a lot of time in. Dress to impress by keeping your offices spotless. Go above and beyond just your standard vacuuming routine. Floor scrubbers are easy to operate and give your office space a deep clean removing set-in stains. Sprayers, like the Minuteman DS2 100 PSI Pump Powered Applicator, are great for bathrooms and tiled areas that need disinfecting quickly and need to be sanitized regularly. The DS2 provides a pulse-free spray ensuring a consistent application effectively leading to a more-uniform coverage than standard wiping methods.

    Processing Centers

    Dust can accumulate quickly in Processing Centers due to spills and hard to reach areas. This is another area you will want to focus on cleaning expertly and efficiently to keep your business moving. Keep your workforce safe with a clean space by using a scrubber like the Kärcher B 150 R Bp SB to stay on track. The B 150 cleans floors quickly and safely with operators in mind. The machine is easy to use and great for narrow aisles.

    Exteriors and Loading Docks

    One area many businesses and operations seem to overlook in their cleaning routine is their facility’s exterior. Even though these spaces may not seem like the highest priority, they can show that your business is there to improve the community where you do business. Make cleaning platforms, ramps, parking lots, sidewalks, dock doors, and other exterior surfaces a must-do on your list. A good choice for exteriors is rider sweepers like PowerBoss’ Armadillo series. A sweeper like the PowerBoss Armadillo 9X is a cost-effective option for cleaning out-doors and is consistently reliable in parking lots and sidewalks.

    Industrial Cleaning Helps You and the Community

    Keeping warehouse and manufacturing operations clean is key to daily production and avoiding workforce injury or illness. In this day and age, the challenge of keeping facilities clean and disinfected is made easier with industrial cleaning equipment like sweepers, scrubbers, and sprayers that can complete the job quickly and efficiently. Take your facility to the next level of clean today!

  • Dear Technicians: Old Habits Die Hard

    Special Post from Grant Wilkerson, MH Equipment Director of Safety and Loss Control

    You have most likely heard the expression, “Old habits die hard.” If you don’t believe it, just move your silverware to a different drawer and see how many times you keep going to the original drawer to get a fork. At my home, we remodeled our kitchen more than two years ago, and I still can’t consistently find my favorite popcorn bowl.

    Old habits are a key factor that continually leads to avoidable injuries. We tend to do things the way we’ve always done them, especially if there were no negative consequences.

    For example, if you’ve worked on an engine while it’s running and weren’t cut by the fan blade, you often tend to go about it the same way the next time. You assume you will avoid the fan blade again. Just because we avoided an injury in the past by not controlling obvious hazards doesn’t mean we’ll avoid an injury in the future by not controlling those hazards.

    Grab the Moment, MH Equipment's safety philosophy is specifically designed to help us interrupt and break our bad habits and keep ourselves safe. It isn’t hard, it doesn’t take much time, and it definitely works. By stopping for just a moment to ask ourselves, “What could go wrong or possibly injure me?” we identifying potential hazards. We get a safe start before performing the task at hand. That, however, is not enough to stay safe.

    To better ensure our safety, we must stop, Grab the Moment, and identify any potential hazards. It is of great importance that we take steps to eliminate or control any hazards. For example:

    • Slow down. The customer would rather you stay safe than hurry and injure yourself.
    • Make time to get your gloves if cut hazards are present.
    • Clean up any spills you encounter rather than just walking past them.
    • Always secure hoods, gates, masts, ladders, etc.
    • Walk around the lift truck to get a part or tool that is out of reach rather than reaching over the truck.
    • Always wear approved safety glasses and goggles.
    • Ask a more experienced technician for ideas on how to do the job in a safer manner.
    • Never reach into blind spots without protective gloves.

    Your personal safety is determined by the amount of time you take to identify potential hazards and the effort you put into controlling or eliminating them. It is imperative you make a deliberate effort each and every day because, after all, “our old habits die hard.”

    Grab the Moment!

    Stay Safe in the Moment!

  • July 2020 Employee Health Newsletter

    At MH Equipment, we believe People Matter and that is why we partner with Gallagher to share helpful tips and tricks for staying healthy. This month, we discuss self-care and how it is not selfish! We talk about ways that you can show gratitude, which can actually make you happier. Learn how to care for your finances in order to care for your health. And we learn how active days equal a healthy life, which equals a happy you! We hope these helpful tips have some value for you and your family!

    Learn More: July 2020 Employee Health Newsletter

  • MH Equipment’s Decatur branch moves to new facility


    New location offers room to grow, expanded service

    After outgrowing our old facility, MH Equipment’s Decatur branch has upgraded to a larger space! You can find us at our new address:

    MH Equipment
    2440 N Woodford Street
    Decatur, IL 62526

    The facility features a larger shop area to accommodate more service and repair work, as well as a new showroom to showcase new, used, and rental equipment. With some much-needed room to grow, the MH Equipment Decatur branch is looking forward to increasing our staff of qualified technicians, adding additional equipment to our rental fleet, as well as housing an even larger parts inventory.

    “We are very excited to expand our material handling operations in the Decatur area,” said Amy Bailey, Director of Operations for MH Equipment’s Central region. “We believe the additional space in our new facility will give us more room to grow our services while helping us meet our customers’ equipment and service needs more effectively. This move was made possible because of the hard work and dedication of our Decatur branch team members, as well as the continued support of MH Equipment’s leadership team.”

    MH Equipment is a full-service material handling dealership. In addition to providing the highest quality equipment from many of the industry’s top brands, MH Equipment offers a variety of comprehensive solutions, from simple routine maintenance to all-inclusive fleet management programs. At MH Equipment, it’s our belief our customers’ focus should be on their core business. Our team stands ready to deliver unparalleled value and service so you do what you do best.

    We are excited to continue offering full-service material handling solutions to our customers in the Decatur area from our new location!

  • Happy National Forklift Safety Day

    National Forklift Safety Day is June 9th, 2020. To celebrate our CEO, John Wieland, and COO, Coit Edison, wanted to share the value our employees bring to MH Equipment and how we make it our goal for every employee to go home safely at the end of every day. Safety is important to think about every day - Do your part to Stay Safe in the Moment!

  • June 2020 Employee Health Newsletter

    At MH Equipment, we believe People Matter and that is why we partner with Gallagher to share helpful tips and tricks for staying healthy. This month, we discuss cross-generational differences, both at home and at work. We also give you some tips on how to be a good listener and ways to help you build a support system. With some people still social distancing, these can be great things to focus on and improve upon. We hope these helpful tips have some value for you and your family!

    Learn More: June 2020 Employee Health Newsletter

  • MH Equipment, Nebraska National Guard Work Together to Help Local Food Bank


    Local material handling equipment company, National Guard to have a friendly competition on May 15

    On May 15, employees from MH Equipment, a material handling equipment dealer, plan to go head-to-head with members of the National Guard in a friendly competition for a good cause. This competition is a race against the clock to break the record of packaging and loading 30,000 pounds of food in one day for Food Bank for the Heartland.

    Since early April, a few employees from the MH Equipment Omaha branch have been helping package, palletize, and load food into trucks for delivery to local food drives.

    With the COVID-19 pandemic, MH Equipment recognized two needs: The need for less-demanded departments to continue working, and the need to support local food systems. With the help of the company-funded His First Foundation charitable program, MH Equipment is able to pay employees who would otherwise be without work to give back to their communities.

    “One of the pillars of MH Equipment is ‘People Matter,’” said John Wieland, MH Equipment CEO. “Our employees have worked hard over the years to build a successful company, and it is only natural for the company to stand by our employees during this unique economy. The current climate was a perfect way to bring these two beliefs together — keeping our employees fully employed, and serving our communities.”

    This volunteer effort comes at a necessary time, as food banks across the nation are facing volunteer and donation shortages, as well as skyrocketing numbers of families and individuals experiencing hardship and relying on this food being accessible.

    “The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting us all,” said Brian Barks, President, and CEO of Food Bank for the Heartland. “But for thousands of our food-insecure neighbors across Nebraska and western Iowa, this is an especially scary time. The need for emergency meals is greater than ever while food donations are down by nearly 50 percent. We estimate the number of clients being served has increased by 38 percent compared to a year ago.”

    Despite the hardship and uncertainty of these unique times, MH’s volunteers wanted to bring a light-hearted, competitive spirit to their volunteer work after serving with a group from the National Guard one day – as a group, it was discovered they broke every record at the Food Bank for the Heartland for packaging and palletizing food in a single day.

    Now, both the Guard and MH Equipment want to see what impact they can make when they go head-to-head with one another against the clock on May 15.

    “We are grateful for the support,” Barks said. “[This work is] impacting the Food Bank’s operations and helping Heartland children, families, and seniors in need.”

  • 2020 Purpose Unites Food Bank Donations

    Across the Midwest, MH Equipment, a material handling equipment dealer, is doing its part to help not only their employees, but also their local communities, during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

    One of the company’s values is investing in communities for a positive impact by coming alongside employees’ passions with support and financial assistance through the company’s His First Foundation charitable program.

    As a steward of the community, MH Equipment recognized the food shortages community food banks and pantries faced and continue to face in light of the pandemic. In answer to this hardship, the company launched the “Purpose Unites” campaign, providing employees the opportunity to automatically deduct part of their paycheck to provide needed support to local food banks.

    In just four days, MH Equipment employees across the company’s 33 locations raised nearly $187,000 with the Foundation’s help. All money raised is being distributed to local food banks and pantries in each of the MH Equipment locations.

    The pandemic has also forced many companies to reduce employees’ hours and pay, if not furlough or lay off staff. With many customers pausing or decreasing their operations, some of MH Equipment’s services are experiencing less demand in certain locations. MH Equipment, however, has found a unique way to keep those departments employed while simultaneously giving back to the local community.

    “One of the pillars of MH Equipment is ‘People Matter,’” says John Wieland, MH Equipment CEO. “Our employees have worked hard over the years to build a successful company, and it is only natural for the company to stand by our employees during this unique economy and not lay off any employee due to COVID-19.”

    Throughout the month of April, MH Equipment saw more than 4,000 hours of paid, volunteer community service time across the Midwest states the company serves. This time was paid by MH Equipment’s His First Foundation charitable program.

    These employees have helped out in a variety of ways, such as helping food banks with loading/unloading trucks, meal delivery, and packaging; making masks; mowing yards for the elderly and non-profit organizations; as well as using their technical skills to assist with light mechanical work on fire engines at volunteer fire departments.

    “The current climate was a perfect way to bring these two beliefs together — keeping our employees fully employed, and serving our communities,” Wieland said.

  • May 2020 Employee Health Newsletter

    At MH Equipment, we believe People Matter and that is why we partner with Gallagher to share helpful tips and tricks for staying healthy. This month, we’re focusing on Screen-Free Connections! We focus on Team Sports and Exercise Classes, Fun in the Sun – Without the Sunburn and Tips on Four Weeks to Smartphone Freedom! With the weather warming up and people eager to be outside during the pandemic, we hope these tips will be of value to everyone.

    Learn More: May 2020 Employee Health Newsletter

  • Video: Mountain Mission delivers emergency food boxes to seniors

    There is no more important time than now to help support our local communities. Food banks are in need of volunteers and financial and food donations to help serve those in need. Find your local food bank to help today:

  • April 2020 Employee Health Newsletter

    At MH Equipment, we believe People Matter and that is why we partner with Gallagher to share helpful tips and tricks for staying healthy. This month, we’re focusing on Defeating Your Diet Killers, Exploring the Great Outdoors, and Staying Motivated and Beating Your Boredom. There is a lot going on in the world right now and hopefully, these articles will give you some tips to help get through this crisis – from beating the boredom to getting outdoors! We hope that these articles have something to offer for everyone!

    Learn More: April 2020 Employee Health Newsletter

  • MH Equipment Awarded Prestigious Dealer Awards by Hyster-Yale Group


    MH Equipment received two major recognitions from Hyster-Yale Group for its focused leadership and success in the industry – the 2019 Hyster Dealer of Distinction and 2019 Yale Dealer of Excellence awards.

    MH Equipment’s Illinois, Iowa, and Ohio South regions were awarded the 2019 Hyster Dealer of Distinction recognition, and the Iowa and Ohio North regions earned the 2019 Yale Dealer of Excellence Award.

    These awards recognize the most elite Hyster and Yale dealers who have driven their companies to the highest level of sales and service performance. Moreover, criteria for these awards is constantly evolving to ensure recognized dealers are adapting to and aligning with changing industry demands and customer expectations.

    To achieve these elite recognitions, dealers must demonstrate excellence in customer satisfaction, service, rental, new unit sales, aftermarket, training, engineered products, as well as general management.

    To make those accomplishments in 2019 more significant, MH Equipment is one of only four companies to have received both a Hyster Dealer of Distinction recognition and a Yale Dealer of Excellence award for its work in the previous year.

    “Every year, recipients demonstrate their willingness to enhance capabilities and commitment to the safety of their associates, while meeting the increasingly demanding recognition criteria,” said Bob Sattler, Vice President of Dealer Business Development at Hyster-Yale Group. “The consistency in which they stand out amongst a talented network of dealers is remarkable.”