Setting the standards
14th July, 2008
New FLTA Chairman and Vice-Chairman aim high
They may have had a little while now to settle into their new posts, but Fork Lift Truck settling for second-best.
The new men at the top: FLTA Chairman John Chappell (centre) and Vice-Chairman Martyn Fletcher (right) are pictured with outgoing Chairman (and now President) Paul Nichol (left).
Sharing over 50 years’ experience of the fork lift world, John and Martyn hope to help the FLTA achieve a number of important goals which will benefit its members during their two-year-term and beyond.
John Chappell first entered the fork lift trade 30 years ago as a graduate trainee at Lex Service Group. With this background, as well as an in-depth knowledge of the industry, he understands the need to provide opportunities for young people to enter the trade.
“As well as trying to strengthen membership throughout the Association, one of my principal aims is to encourage new talent through apprenticeships. The industry is suffering a serious shortage of skilled service engineers. By working with young people and employers, the FLTA can make a real difference to the future of our industry,” explains John.
Following his year-long traineeship, John became a Territory Sales Rep for Harvey Plant in Hinckley. Within just a few years, he was promoted to Regional Sales Manager South West and the company’s Leeds General Manager. In 1988, John took up a motor trade post at Lex Automotive. However, that break from the fork lift world lasted just two years as John returned as North West Regional Manager for Lex Harvey.
New opportunities cropped up for John in 2002 as he joined forces with a former Lex co-worker, Peter Cosgrove, to buy Rushlift from Bill Moody. Under their direction, Rushlift has expanded rapidly. Buying eight companies – including two crane firms – has made Rushlift the fourth-fastest-growing company in the North East.
Like John, Vice-Chairman Martyn Fletcher has a career which has touched upon a number of industries. Fresh from his school exams, he began working in the banking field, but soon swapped it for a sales career at Scottish Road Haulage Company. A promotion to Business Development Manager allowed Martyn to establish depots for the firm at Grangemouth, Leeds, Swindon and finally Greenford, West London.
Martyn developed the Greenford depot into a large warehousing and general storage business. A large number of fork lifts were required – some of which were supplied by Forkway, an Amersham company. Knowing the company’s owners as both a customer and a friend, Martyn was invited to join Forkway as Sales Director.
Since then the company has gone from strength to strength. In 1992, Forkway expanded into Yorkshire. Just three years later, Martyn was appointed Managing Director. He led a successful management buyout in 1996 and acquired Solent Forklift Trucks the following year.
The post has enabled him to build relationships with many transport and distribution businesses – both nationally and locally. This, he believes, is the key to success. “In the forklift industry, striving for long-term satisfaction through consistently providing reliable service is the only morally acceptable way to develop a business,” explains Martyn.
“To do this while remaining profitable requires a thorough knowledge of the true costs of running a business; controlling those costs and having the courage to justify to customers a fair profit above those costs. Ensuring that this sentiment is present throughout the industry is something that we aim for as it allows for growth.”
Earlier this year, John and Martyn made their public debut as Chairman and Vice-Chairman when they co-hosted the FLTA Awards for Excellence – the annual showcase which highlights and rewards those who set the highest of standards in materials handling.