Already owning over 90 per cent of the Pick and Carry market in Australia, Franna is looking to expand its operations with the Terex Rough Terrain series. Sales Director Andrew Pritchard discusses key points of difference within the Franna/Terex brand – including new technology, international collaboration, and after-sale support.
Commencing its operations in the 1970s, Franna is a well-known Australian brand and a dominant player in the Australian crane market.
On any given day, there are 10,000 cranes operating throughout Australia, and 5,000 of those are Franna cranes. With their articulated Pick & Carry comprising over 90 per cent of the market, every crane yard, operator, and distributor is familiar with the name that was conceived by Dave Francis and his wife Anna in 1978, as well as the capabilities of their machines.
However, as Andrew Pritchard, the Sales Director at the Queensland-based company, points out, they are now seeking to expand.
Considering that the Franna product already occupies a significant portion of the Pick & Carry market, one might wonder how they plan to achieve further expansion. The answer lies overseas.
Acquired by Terex, a global manufacturer of heavy machinery based in the United States in 1999, Franna’s portfolio expanded to include the Terex Rough Terrain and Terex Tower Crane brands. It is within the rough terrain category that Andrew sees an opportunity to advance the Franna brand.
“We currently have 35-tonne, 65-tonne, 80-tonne, and 90-tonne rough terrain cranes,” he says. “Within the next 18 to 24 months, we will also acquire a 110-tonner.”
Andrew emphasises the importance of the 90-tonner due to the existing demand, but he also acknowledges that other companies are becoming competitors to Franna. He believes that the rough-terrain series from Terex provides an excellent opportunity to expand market share in Australia.
“We are refocusing attention on the rough terrains and utilising the Terex perspective,” he explains. “While these cranes have always been available, there has been no specific focus on them within Australia, and that’s what we aim to tap into.”
As a fully qualified engineer now working in sales, Andrew is knowledgeable about Terex’s products and is determined to provide Franna’s customer base with quality equipment. He understands that customers may initially be sceptical of the rough-terrain cranes as they are relatively unknown in Australia. However, having witnessed their performance in the harsh environments of the Middle East, he is confident that they will thrive in Australia’s diverse operating climate, including mines, wharves and construction sites.
“In the Middle East, there are thousands of Terex rough terrain cranes,” he explains. “It’s an environment similar to Australia, with high temperatures, dust, wind, and challenging conditions.”
“We need to ensure that the product aligns with Australia’s requirements because we wouldn’t consider bringing it in otherwise.”
There’s no hesitation in discussing the relationship between Franna and the Terex Rough Terrain group, Andrew says, with all team members happy to have those challenging conversations about whether a product will perform well in a given environment. He believes that the Rough Terrain series can help Franna expand its market share in Australia, but it also holds potential for success overseas. The key lies in upfront discussions with the right people who have the necessary experience to determine the market in which the product will excel.
“We have a close-knit group. Even before we decided to bring the product here, I was in regular contact with the Terex Rough Terrain team because we are considering forming a global network,” he says.
“Currently, the Franna brand is primarily known locally, but we aim to take it international, just as Terex Rough Terrain is undergoing the same process. For example, they hold over 80 per cent market share in Italy. We each have our strengths, and it makes sense for us to collaborate and leverage off each other.”
With his engineering background and experience in the crane industry, Andrew understands the functional requirements that crane operators have. He highlights two features of the Terex Rough Terrain series that he believes set it apart from other products in the market: TEOS (Terex Operating System) and the inbuilt telematics system.
TEOS is a 10-inch full-colour touch screen that provides intuitive icons and self-explanatory safety messages for the crane. It offers a complete 360-degree view of the crane at any time, enhancing safety and operational efficiency. Andrew describes it as a system that operators can familiarise themselves with in just an hour.
“One of the main benefits of the Terex Rough Terrain series is its intuitiveness,” he explains. “Operators familiar with other Rough Terrains can easily jump into one of our cranes. They will grasp its operation within 30 minutes.”
Regarding the telematics system, known as the T-Link Platform, Andrew underscores the increasing role of technology in advancing cranes. The system provides real-time access to various data points, such as engine temperatures, oil pressures, and other performance indicators. This data enhances safety and productivity. Since a third party monitors any mechanical or technological issues remotely, the operator can focus solely on operating the crane—a concept that Andrew sees as the future of technology: advanced, yet practical.
“Technology is one of the main ways OEMs can improve their cranes currently,” he notes. “Our goal is to make it user-friendly. With some of the latest cranes, you sit down and look at the technology within them, which is fantastic. However, understanding it quickly can be challenging for operators. We purposely simplified it.”
From Franna’s perspective, ensuring that there are not too many alarms and distractions for the operator is a key feature. Andrew highlights that Terex’s values are centred around safety, and its stance on technology is emblematic of that value.
Another significant selling point is Franna’s strong support infrastructure. With four storage, servicing and parts facilities in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, as well as an expanded servicing and support team, Franna is committed to providing excellent follow-up service and immediate access to any required parts. This commitment sets the company apart as they expand into the rough-terrain crane market.
“I can talk about simplicity, practicality, versatility, and other aspects,” he states. “But the real focus is on how we support the product once it enters the market.”
“We are the only pick & carry company with four dedicated facilities, not to mention our remote service fleet. From Franna’s perspective, we needed to ensure that the product can withstand the environment and that we can provide ongoing support.”
“If we didn’t believe that the Terex Rough Terrain series would meet our standards, we would not introduce it, as it could tarnish the Franna brand. However, we have done our due diligence, and we are confident that the Rough Terrain series will thrive in Australia.”