A Growing Industry
The material handling, logistics, and manufacturing industries are a source of continuous innovation, backed by a workforce just as powerful as the products and solutions they pioneer.
Groups like MHEDA’s Women in Industry, collegiate women-in-business groups, and Toyota Material Handling’s own women in industry group seek to inspire women to take a leading role in the realm of material handling.
Everyone has a story to share about how they got into this business. A few of the women here at Toyota Material Handling USA (TMHU) shared the stories about how they got their start in the industry.
A New Start
Tricia had no experience working with forklifts before starting her career with Toyota. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, Tricia started with TMHU and has been here ever since. She now serves an integral role in the Customer Center and Training Department.
“After being here for almost 17 years, I have enjoyed the people I have met and worked with. The culture of Toyota. The hard work people put into the quality of the forklifts they build. The Kaizan approach to always improve, to always think,” said Tricia. “Knowledge is power. The more you can learn, understand, ask questions, and observe all the moving parts the better you will be in your job.”
“KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. THE MORE YOU CAN LEARN, UNDERSTAND, ASK QUESTIONS, AND OBSERVE ALL THE MOVING PARTS THE BETTER YOU WILL BE IN YOUR JOB.”
Keeping Up with the Trends
As the industry evolves, so does the technology that supports it. Data, automation, and IoT are shaping the way we work, and being a part of this new frontier is sure to be an exciting ride.
Before joining TMHU’s Telematics team, Linley served in the military, working in the Material Management field for the United States Air Force. She’d never worked with a telemetry product before coming to Toyota and, though she’s had to learn quite a bit of new lingo and business practices along the way, her experience learning a new product and new industry has been rewarding.
“Don’t limit yourself, and always keep the door of opportunity open,” advised Linley. “Strive to do what you love within your career and take control over your own future.”
The Forklift Footprint
For Sarah, it was a family connection that first sparked her interest in the industry, as her father used a forklift on their family farm when she was growing up. She learned about Toyota Forklifts through her father-in-law, who worked at Toyota Industrial Equipment Manufacturing for several years before retiring.
“For one internship, I was actually asked to obtain my forklift operator license,” said Sarah. “Never at that time did I realize the footprint that the material handling industry has on our economy.”
Sarah admires the material handling industry for its commitment to innovation and willingness to take on just about any challenge it is presented.
“NEVER AT THAT TIME DID I REALIZE THE FOOTPRINT THAT THE MATERIAL HANDLING INDUSTRY HAS ON OUR ECONOMY.”
The Perfect Fit
Oftentimes, individuals are likely to stumble upon this industry by chance. “I got into the material handling industry by accident,” said Jena-Christine, who discovered Toyota forklifts after relocating to the area. But as is turned out, Jena was well prepared for a transition into the industry. “I came to Toyota with 10 years of technical automotive background, which gave me quite a bit of ‘groundwork’ to understanding more of how forklifts work.”
Jena now works on the product planning team, working to understand the future needs of the industry and implement the changes that will keep Toyota on the right track. “Know your worth, be passionate about your work, and don’t lose sight of what you love about your work,” advised Jena.
Shana encouraged women not to be put off by the perception of the material handling industry. “It’s not so different from other industries. It’s business.” Shana hadn’t heard of TMHU before discovering it on LinkedIn, a prominent professional networking site. “You shouldn’t back down from any challenge, regardless of the industry.”
“YOU SHOULDN’T BACK DOWN FROM ANY CHALLENGE, REGARDLESS OF THE INDUSTRY.”
Shana works hard to be a leader by inspiring her team and motivating those around her to do their best work.
Building a Career
Jewell joined Toyota Material Handling USA from the retail industry, bringing with her a passion for customer satisfaction. She started off in a dealer support role in TMHU’s parts department and now serves as a strategic account executive.
“Throughout my career here, I can definitely say that I’ve had some really fantastic mentors that have really nurtured me and lead me through my career path,” said Jewell. She has found TMHU to be a place she can thrive with her entrepreneurial spirit and advises women interested in this industry to trust themselves and to not hold back. “Don’t hold your thoughts and ideas in,” she said. “It’s okay to trust yourself!”
Happy International Women's Day!
You can find a group of Toyota Material Handling Associates at this year’s Women in Material Handling Conference hosted by MHEDA. Interested in joining Toyota Forklifts’ growing team? We encourage you to check out our careers page.
Happy International Women’s Day!