The ultimate experience
15 February 2019
Stewart Gosling of Red Diamond Distribution, exclusive importers of Mitsubishi forklift trucks in the UK, looks at how the designers of its EDiA EM 48-volt electrics put operators and employer ‘behind the wheel’ from the start… virtually.
Whatever your business, how much do you *really* think about how the product or service you deliver is used by your customers? How about what they’re feeling as they’re using it?
More than a decade ago, our designers challenged the conventional approach to lift truck design by thinking about the science of user experience (UX).
Adopting a UX design approach means looking at the entire process of acquiring and using a product – including aspects of branding, design, usability and function.
And, for us, it’s a story that begins long before a lift truck leaves the factory.
What is user experience?
Don Norman, who is credited with inventing the phrase, explains:
“No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service – from initial intentions through (to) final reflections, from first usage to help, service and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.”
As we’ve seen in our domestic lives, products that offer great user experiences, such as the iPhone, are designed not only with the product’s use in mind, but the whole process from buying it to using it, and troubleshooting it, too.
Importantly, there isn’t a single definition for what makes a good user experience. For Mitsubishi, our aim is to meet the needs of operators and businesses – whatever their industry.
But that’s just not possible if you’re only looking at the logic and data. That’s why, in developing new products, our designers consider what ownership and use will be like among our customer’s businesses.
A driver-driven approach?
Just as one might study various construction methods for design, our team studied operations at a range of sites and spoke with managers and drivers at companies across eight different countries. They revealed something very crucial.
Drivers are the machine’s partner in performance. Companies have invested heavily in skilled operators and, to protect that investment, managers do everything they can to eliminate the mental and physical stresses of the job.
This discovery has changed the way Mitsubishi thinks and works. What’s more, it’s allowed them to tap into this unlocked potential and transform it into innovation, renewal and competitive advantages.
Without this approach, it just wouldn’t have been possible for our latest range of EDiA EM three- and four-wheel electrics to have achieved so much. They are the most intelligent and agile trucks in their class and among the most durable, too.
A new breed of truck?
Capable of working indoors or out, this is a new breed of truck. After all, EDiA EM’s go-anywhere performance would be wasted without water ingress protection. It makes it possible for EDiA to work in heavy rain or in environments where trucks need to be hosed down at the end of shifts. Models are also protected against dust to keep maintenance to a minimum.
A >100-degree steering angle means EDiA EM leads the market on manoeuvrability In fact, its four-wheel models offer the turning power of three-wheelers, helped with its unique four-wheel steering. .
No pause 360-degree steering
But, if you’re a three-wheeler owner, don’t despair. Mitsubishi hasn’t forgotten you.
The three-wheel EDiA EM can be set so that its steer wheel turns through a full 360-degrees – without pausing.
This eliminates the need for (and risks associated with) three-point turns and the stops required on each turn. Instead, the truck is in constant motion making an ‘orbital’ turn and ensures the load is more secure.
For businesses, this shaves around two seconds every time the truck changes direction. What’s more it quickens turnaround times for lorries and loads, which reduces energy consumption in the process. It also makes it even easier for manoeuvres in tight aisles.
An individual drive motor, fitted to each of the truck’s front wheels, gives the precision necessary to work in confined spaces, while keeping the risk of damage to trucks, stock and racking to a minimum.
Stability is fundamental to the truck’s design. EDiA EM’s dual drive motors offer better grip on slippery surfaces for enhanced safety. In addition, mast movement, which can delay operations and cause fatigue in drivers, is minimised, thanks to a passive sway control system.
A responsive truck
Most impressively, EDiA EM automatically finetunes its performance to your drivers. The Mitsubishi SDS (Sensitive Drive System) uses sophisticated software to analyse how people drive and using real-use data, it adjusts its parameters for safety and productivity.
For operators, this advanced system means that regardless of the load weight they are carrying, they can expect a consistent and predictable response. Further still, it automatically smooths starts and stops for greater comfort, while increasing the truck’s agility and adapting performance to the speed of the driver’s foot movements.
Your forklift’s most important component
A forklift’s most important component is its operator. And drivers are most productive when they stop worrying about the truck, as it allows them to focus on the task at hand.
EDiA’s spacious compartment gives your drivers the room, visibility and instinctive driveability they need to work safely in comfort.
Take cornering for example. EDiA’s intelligent curve control senses sharp turns early on and responds by limiting speed early – not halfway round. What’s more, it’s so natural you won’t even feel it happening. But it is and it’s ensuring maximum stability and accurate, positive cornering.
In the Nineties, we pioneered fingertip control technology and our latest option raises that bar again by delivering versatility, sensitivity and ease. Uniquely, it supports the palm and forearm to protect operators’ elbows from strain and injury.
And, of course, Mitsubishi hasn’t overlooked the basics. EDiA features easy-to-use automotive-style pedals and its cabin is roomy and uncluttered.
It’s little touches like this which transform productivity and it’s something which has been overlooked by less experienced forklift makers.
We’ve engineered EDiA to give businesses the agility, performance and reliability they’ve grown to expect from a Mitsubishi gas or diesel truck. But, in electric. It’s a real alternative.
But, what about cost?
With electric trucks, it pays to look at the bigger picture. While your initial outlay will be higher, that’s because you’re investing in your truck’s fuel for the next five years.
They may appear cost-prohibitive and that’s why it pays to do your homework. By looking at whole life costs, you’ll quickly discover that electrics nearly always come out on top.
Let’s say you are running an electric truck in a challenging environment. Because you’ll be using far less fuel and your forklift will require much less maintenance, you can expect to spend as much as 25 per cent less. That means making the switch could save you up to £13,000 per machine.
And when you factor in that, with EDiA you get compromise-free lean performance, you can be sure your operation will be coming out on top, too.
Find out more
The Mitsubishi EDiA range brings you all the reliability, power and performance you expect from an IC, with the manoeuvrability, flexibility and efficiency of an electric.
Discover what EDiA can do for your operations. Visit www.mitsubishi-forklifts.co.uk or call the Mitsubishi Greenline on 0845 3713048 today.