When it comes to life choices, some people are guided by the adage ‘never go back’. Hannah Wishart – who has just returned to Toyota Material Handling after two and a half years away -clearly isn’t one of those people.
“I’m really happy to be back at this great company again at such an exciting time for the business and at a period when the logistics industry’s public profile has never been higher,” she enthuses.
Hannah has taken up the role of Senior Marketing Executive and joins a marketing team whose remit is to bring some fresh thinking and added creativity to Toyota’s communication processes.
“The logistics industry is going through an era of unprecedented and rapid change and the materials handling sector has got to keep up – both in terms of technological developments and in the ways that it markets its products and services to an increasingly sophisticated client base.”
“A big part of the marketing team’s focus this year will be on promoting the automated intralogistics solutions that Toyota offer. Once strictly for the biggest sites only, automation has become flexible and scalable and is now within reach of every warehouse operator: it is a realistic and cost-efficient option for third party logistics firms of all sizes as well as those retailers and manufacturers who manage their own storage sites.”
Hannah continues: “And, with the logistics industry struggling to recruit and retain warehouse staff in certain parts of the country, developments such as Toyota’s Autopilot technology – which allows a range of warehouse trucks and stackers to perform routine tasks without an operator – can help overcome workforce issues and, of course, reduce operational costs.”
Environmental concerns will also be to the fore in the marketing department’s plans in the months ahead. Hannah feels that Toyota has, to some extent, undersold its ‘green’ credentials in the past and that is something she and the team are keen to address.
“More and more customers are targeting zero emissions across their operations and Toyota has the products to help them. We will have electric and/or fuel cell options available across our entire product range by 2030 and Li-ion batteries are already available on 90 per cent of our product families. This is a core message for us.”
Hannah joined Toyota Material Handling in 2016. Her first spell with the company lasted over two years before an opportunity arose to develop her skills and experience with another materials handling equipment supplier.
Now Hannah’s back at Toyota she feels that her time away not only helped her to develop a greater understanding of the supply chain sector, but also shaped a sense of pride in being part of an industry that plays such a pivotal role in modern society.
“Logistics is a really exciting industry to work in and, as we saw at the height of the Covid crisis, all of us rely on efficient supply chains and the materials handling equipment at the heart of them, for everything that we eat, drink and wear - as well as all the daft things we order online, then immediately regret buying!” she says.
Hannah continues: “The logistics sector has a reputation for being a very male-dominated industry and, to some extent, that is the case. But in the six years or so that I have worked in it, I think that is changing and there are plenty of women in very senior positions now. I would certainly encourage females to consider a logistics-related career – especially with Toyota!”