Critical Impact Factors (CIF)


Material handling professionals must be prepared to address the factors impacting their organizations today and in the coming year. MHEDA’s Board of Directors develops Critical Impact Factors each year and MHEDA creates programming and services around these trends and challenges. Members are encouraged to share and discuss these factors with key managers to develop their own organizational goals and action steps.

The 2016 Critical Impact Factors were defined by MHEDA’s Executive Committee.  They are defined as “critical” in that they are significant challenges or opportunities that have recently emerged or become pervasive and should be considered as members develop their internal business plans.

If you have any questions or comments about this process or what is listed below, please contact the MHEDA office

Click here to view the 2015 Critical Impact Factors



2016 Critical Impact Factors

1.  Members should evaluate their operations to embrace the significant changes in technology and automation as they relate to their customers as well as to their own businesses.

2.  Same day deliveries are creating local distribution points. Omni channel fulfillment is the new norm and as a result, there are opportunities to provide solutions to customers.

3.  Mobile technology is becoming a prominent means for doing business and interacting with customers. Members must embrace this trend.

4.  Third party management companies continue to market to end users for equipment acquisition, service and fleet management.  This can be a channel disrupter and members will either compete with them or cooperate with them.

5.  Consolidation of dealerships and OEMs is accelerating.  Members must have a strategy to deal with this in their market.  

6.  A sales, acquisition and/or succession plan is critical for organizational perpetuity and succession strategies of the principal, key managers and senior executives.

7.  Members must create a culture that recognizes and blends generational differences. It is imperative to understand the millennial’s desire for corporate consciousness and how this will impact their willingness to stay in place long term.

8.  The need for skilled technicians in all segments of the industry continues to escalate and necessitates creative recruitment practices, heightened training and more reliance on diagnostic tools and mobile technologies to augment the workforce.

9.  Members must embrace data mining techniques and predictive analytics to increase revenues, cut costs, improve customer relationships, enhance the sales process and reduce risks.

10.  The economy is improving but members must maintain vigilance and develop a plan for the next downturn.

11.  Government and safety regulations continue to become more stringent and complex.  Members must have a clear understanding of these requirements and recognize both the risks and opportunities.


12.   Members need to take necessary precautions to protect against cyber threats and the security of data.



2015 Critical Impact Factors

1.  Members need to evaluate and potentially modify their business model to address the significant and ongoing growth in automation.

2.  There is a long term trend toward more local and regional distribution centers. This is being driven in large part by evolving consumer demands and expectations for same day delivery. Customers are responding by forcusing on Omni Channel Fulfillment. As a result, there are new and emerging opportunities to provide solutions to the customer.

3.  Members must be committed to embracing a changing work culture, specifically understanding how the younger generation requires more flexibility and is motivated differently.  The workplace culture may impact a younger employee’s willingness to stay in place long term.

4.  The industry is facing a shortage of skilled labor and this trend will continue as existing employees retire.  Additionally, skill sets for the technician in all industry segments are changing with increasing reliance on systems and software diagnostic tools.

5.  Succession planning is critical not only for the dealer principal but also for key managers and senior executives.  Companies adopted lean organizational structures during the recession and as a result, internal successors may not currently be in place.

6.  More so than ever before, it is critical for an organization to retain their top performers.  Processes need to be in place to develop and motivate existing employees.

7.  There is a continued trend toward consolidation including factory-owned distributors as well as the acquisition of systems integrators within the industrial truck industry.

8.  Consultants and third party management companies are continuing to target and market to end users for equipment acquisition, service, maintenance and fleet management.  This is a competitive threat to the traditional distributor.

9.  Safety compliance and government regulations are becoming more complex with stricter enforcement.  This can be very costly and challenging for the member company but can also provide opportunities for distributors to educate and provide services to the end user.

10.  Online sales of material handling equipment has led to commoditization of some distributor offerings.  Therefore, distributors need an even deeper understanding of a customer’s business and need to establish a value-added, ROI, service-focused relationship.

11.  Members need to be better educated on the benefits of digital marketing in particular, the correlation between social media and search engine ranking.

12.  The industry may be facing an inflationary environment within the next 3-5 years and members need to understand and be prepared to operate their businesses during these conditions.

13.  Fluctuating costs and regulatory complexities of health care insurance, especially those related to the ACA, continues to impact member companies and must be closely monitored.