The best lift truck operators from across the UK and Ireland proved their skills at the Forklift Operator of the Year competition 2018, sponsored by UniCarriers.
Dale Smith from Wilko Retail Ltd took home the esteemed title following a day of heated competition on Thursday 21st June 2018 at the Talent in Logistics Conference in Telford, West Midlands. To be crowned Forklift Operator of the Year, Dale had to demonstrate his talent to expert judges during a series of tough practical, pre-use and theory-based challenges.
“We at UCUK believe it is important to support operator competitions for two fundamental reasons,” says Chris Bates, Sales Director for UniCarriers UK Ltd. “Firstly, as a complete engagement piece, demonstrating the relevance of all business members being involved in an event with national scope. Secondly, to support the identification of high performers – who actually use the equipment we manufacture.”
The contest rewards those operators who can demonstrate the broad range of professional skills needed to use materials handling equipment safely and efficiently and recognises employers for excellence in forklift training. Hundreds of visitors to the Talent in Logistics Conference throughout the action-packed day watched the entertaining, themed tests, which used the UniCarriers TX model counterbalance truck, were specially designed to test the core abilities needed in real logistics and warehousing operations.
For instance, the ‘Surf’s up’ challenge tested skilled and safe operation when working with industrial racking and the rugby themed ‘Scrum’ test required careful and precise use of controls, and safe attachment usage. Knowledge of theory and the ability to correctly conduct a pre-use forklift check were also put to the test in the ‘Jigsaw’ and ‘Blockbuster’ rounds, while ‘The Wizard of Oz’ challenge saw operators demonstrate the proficiencies required for accurate vehicle loading and unloading.
“Throughout the test exercises, the UniCarriers TX model counterbalance was used because it provides the pinnacle of safety in design for counterbalance trucks,” says Chris. “The TX ‘Provision’ concept provides exceptional all-round visibility while automatic travel and tilt reduction ensures that all loads are being handled appropriately.
“The test drivers also enjoyed the benefit of an automatic parking break (although they didn’t require the anti-rollback capability) and the intuitive driving experience provided by the Steering Force System,” Chris continues. “Businesses are forever looking for efficiency gains and increased through-put speeds – it is vital that safety is not compromised in this process – The UniCarriers TX provides speed without compromising safety or energy consumption.”
And the winner is….
Following a busy day of competition, the 20 finalists headed to the Talent in Logistics Awards to await the final results and hear who would be taking home the prestigious accolade. Competitors enjoyed a black-tie awards event with drinks reception and three-course meal before celebrity host, Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling, revealed Dale Smith as the winner.
On stage, the trophy was presented to Dale by Chris Bates, Sales Director for UniCarriers UK Ltd, sponsor of Forklift Operator of the Year for the second year running.
Winners of all the Talent in Logistics Awards categories were announced during the same evening. Details of the winners can be found at www.talentinlogistics.co.uk.
Forklift Operator of the Year 2019 will return as part of next year’s Talent in Logistics event, which takes place on Thursday 27th June 2019 at Arena MK in Milton Keynes.