WASHINGTON, DC — June 15, 2006 — Food retailers, wholesalers and suppliers can dramatically reduce equipment costs and improve management efficiency through LiftExchange, a new program announced today by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), North American Perishable Agricultural Receivers (NAPAR) and LiftExchange Group, Inc.

There are no startup costs or participation fees for FMI and NAPAR members. The program covers the full range of equipment and supplies used in warehouse distribution, including lift trucks, pallet jacks, forks, tires, seats, lights, batteries and chargers, battery-handling equipment, propane, shrink wrap and racking systems. It offers members substantial discounts from the leading suppliers of these products.

“Most important, LiftExchange enables companies to assess their equipment needs and use based on accurate, real-time data and management reports,” said FMI President and CEO Tim Hammonds. “Members can perform cost-benefit analyses on equipment that will save them thousands and, in some cases, millions of dollars.”

Joe Ciolino, president and CEO, LiftExchange Group, Inc., said, “FMI and NAPAR members have some of the largest materials-handling fleets in the country. Their participation in this robust purchasing program will greatly enhance its aggregated buying power. Our business model shows savings from 15 percent to 45 percent — primarily through more efficient equipment management.” For example, the program:

  • Alerts retailers when systems surpass their useful life, which decreases productivity, generates excessive maintenance costs and reduces emergency repairs.
  • Ensures that companies take full advantage of product warranties.
  • Calculates how much equipment companies need so they do not overspend.
  • Helps companies use the best and most cost-effective system for the job.
  • Benchmarks the cost of equipment per hour of operation.
  • Checks every invoice to ensure the amount charged is correct and companies are not double-billed.
  • Provides optimal pricing on quality-assured parts and materials-handling equipment models.

Firms including the Kellogg Company, ProPak Logistics, Source Interlink Companies and Keebler Company are already benefiting from LiftExchange as program participants.

“Through LiftExchange, FMI and NAPAR members who maintain fleets of materials-handling equipment can take better control of their rolling stock, understand the true costs of each piece of equipment and ultimately reduce the money they spend in this area. Whether the equipment is deployed in stores, distribution centers, terminal markets or manufacturing plants, our members will be able to save money by making more informed maintenance and lifecycle decisions,” said Patrick Davis, NAPAR President.

LiftExchange offers services in a menu format, recognizing that companies have different needs and priorities. Participants simply select those features that fit their operations. The program, for example, can accommodate companies that outsource their maintenance to a third party.

Because a wide selection of manufacturer brands are represented in the program, members can research and buy equipment suited to their specific needs without the selection limitations of single-brand dealerships.

LiftExchange complements FMI’s highly regarded FoodFleetXchange buying program for commercial trucking.

To participate in LiftExchange, FMI and NAPAR members should visit the website www.LiftExchange.com. For more information, contact Patrick Davis (pdavis@fmi.org) or Joe Ciolino (joeciolino@comcast.net).