Following the retirement of industry stalwart Andrew Gray, Manitowoc Australia announce new recruitments to distribute its products and brands across the country, relying on a wealth of industry experience.
Richard Swaine has taken on responsibility for the Grove all terrain and Manitowoc crawler cranes in Victoria and Billy Rumble is responsible for the Potain tower crane product. Both spoke to Cranes and Lifting about their new roles and expectations.
Richard has been working with the Grove product for over seven years, having joined the Manitowoc dealer for Sub-Saharan Africa as the Sales Manager. He was responsible for growing sales from the middle of Africa starting from the Democratic Republic of Congo down and into South Africa.
“I was completely new to the crane industry but over time I managed to build trust and a rapport with customers, and I gradually developed my knowledge of the Grove and Manitowoc product,” he says.
“This trust connected me with the customers, and they began purchasing cranes. As customers began purchasing cranes, I afforded them the opportunity to witness the building process of their new Grove crane and I was able to take them to the various manufacturing facilities – including Shady Grove in America and Wilhelmshaven in Germany.”
“These visits were important in maintaining and growing strong customer relationships and exposing the customers to the quality processes, engineering and safety steps that Manitowoc was taking when manufacturing and developing our products,” he says.
“This also afforded me the opportunity to meet face to face with the product support and technical teams who I dealt with on the phone or via email. I then got connected with John Stewart and explained my plans to move to Australia and expressed a desire and interest to join Manitowoc Australia, and the move started to happen from there.
Having started with Manitowoc Australia in early July, Richard says he is impressed with what he sees.
“The customers I have spoken to and the Manitowoc organisation have been very receptive,” he says.
“The support internally has been wonderful, and everybody has been very accommodating. The handful of customers I have met have wished me nothing but the best and look forward to having a Manitowoc sales manager present in Melbourne. They’re excited to have somebody local, to attend to their crane requirements,” he said.
Grateful for the welcome, Richard sees opportunity in Victoria.
“There are a number of new and existing loyal customers in Victoria, and I have been rekindling and establishing new relationships with them,” he says.
“As our customers get to know that Manitowoc now has local representation both commercially and technically, it will demonstrate our position in aiming to deliver excellent customer service.”
“Over time I hope customers will feel comfortable enough to pick up the phone and say, ‘Hey, Richard, can you assist?’ Or ‘We need support, please jump in.’ Customers will come to see me as an additional support contact point in Victoria and I believe this approach will definitely be of added value for our customers,” he says.
Technical support, including a new parts team, has been a significant focus for Manitowoc recently. Richard sees this as a key development.
“Our focus on technical support and parts deliverables has always been important. Both our technical and parts teams support is crucial for maintaining customer satisfaction and facilitating new enquiries,” he says.
“We are a strong close team all working towards the same mission. I’m very happy that our parts team has recently expanded with new members in the team to bring a fresh new approach to customer service.”
Richard is also impressed with Manitowoc’s service agent JDM Diesel Services, saying John Mahoney and his team have a passion for cranes.
“I recently visited John in his yard, and I was extremely impressed with his current operational set up, vision and plans for further growth and expansion,” Richard says.
“His team’s knowledge, experience and goal to deliver service are aligned with my mission of delivering excellent customer service. John explained to me that he values his customers, his staff members and his family.”
In a very competitive environment, Richard says Grove and Manitowoc continue to be at the forefront of technological developments with their approach to a sustainable future.
“Customer demands are increasing all the time and we have to be responsive to their requirements,” Richard says.
“A good example of our innovation is Grove Connect. This remote diagnostic technology enables our technicians to log into any Grove crane set up with Connect, remotely, to assist and aid with technical issues.”
“There’s a big push for this level of support and I think it’s a genuine value-added service. The prototype hybrid model displayed at bauma was a real eye opener and cemented Grove’s position as an innovator. When it comes to alternate fuels, I can see more interest growing for this type of product,” he adds.
With various infrastructure projects planned for Melbourne, Richard is excited at the prospects for the Manitowoc crawler range.
“I have heard of talk of infrastructure developments and maintenance over the next decade and I’m very pleased to be working with the Manitowoc crawler range,” he says.
“The Australian market is very different to South Africa in that cranes here are higher specced and innovative improvements are embraced and exploited to gain a competitive advantage over the competition.”
“Our range offers a competitive set of crawler cranes to meet our client’s needs. Operational benefits on our MLC crawler range, like VPC and VPC-MAX, provide improved load chart capabilities and significant benefits for our customers,” he says.
“Manitowoc is a great company to work for and I am delighted to be in Australia and working with the Victorian and South Australian market. I look forward to meeting all the new customers and growing both personal and professional relationships with them. My focus is clear, be honest and strive for customer excellence in whatever I do.”
Wealth of Experience
Billy Rumble has cranes in his genetics. His father, Jeff Rumble, is the owner of Canberra-based RAR Cranes.
“I completed my electrical apprenticeship in Canberra and started my crane career wiring up and fixing cranes for RAR. Then I started with Manitowoc and Potain in 2016 as a technician. I’ve been based in Sydney since,” says Billy.
Billy sees his technical background with Potain tower cranes as being an advantage when it comes to his new sales manager role.
“My time as a technician has certainly provided me great insights into how tower cranes work, which will now help me in terms of the sales process. I understand the technical aspects of the cranes from erection through to troubleshooting, and how all the mechanisms work, so this knowledge will provide me with a pretty good advantage when it comes to sales.”
“My technical knowledge means I can talk to customers in terms of our cranes’ capabilities and make sure my recommendations place the right crane with the right application,” he says.
Billy started his new role in May, formally taking over the tower crane sales for Australia and New Zealand following Andrew Gray’s retirement in July.
The tower crane market is competitive, but Billy is confident that he and the team at Manitowoc can continue to grow market share.
“Obviously the construction sector took a hit during COVID-19 and post pandemic, it has been a little difficult to predict the demand from the industry,” he says.
“But currently, I am handing a lot of enquiries and I’m hoping some of these will follow through and become sales and we can get some significant momentum happening,” he says.
“We have some very loyal customers such Active Crane Hire on the East Coast, and FG Cranes in WA. Perth is basically a ‘Potain City’.”
“I would say Victoria is the only market where we don’t have a strong market share and I see that as a significant opportunity,” Billy says.
Potain’s small hydraulic luffers are among the most popular at the moment, for users across Australia and in New Zealand, he adds.
“They are proving popular on the smaller construction which require a smaller lifting radius and luffers are ideal for this type of application,” he says.
“Our larger capacity cranes are predominantly over in Perth at the moment, and I am hoping to get some over on the East Coast.
“These include the Potain MR 608 and MR 418 which are really popular. As you come down the range, we’ve got the smaller hydraulic luffers and we are about to release a new crane, the MCR 305, which is going to be really popular and cost-effective for the market,” says Billy.
“The MCR 305 will come in two capacities, 20t and 25t and it will be competitive because it features quick erection times, and we’ve also managed to be really competitive on price. We think this will prove to be a popular model,” he says.
As he continues working with the local market, Billy says his role is much more than simply helping with sales.
“I will be using my technical knowledge to help customers when they can’t figure out a problem and they need assistance,” he says.
“That’s where my technical knowledge is going to come in handy. If a technician isn’t available to answer the phone customers will know to call me because I can be a technical advisor as well.
“I’m really keen to rip in and customers will learn that I’m always approachable. If anyone’s has a question, they just need to call me. I’m more than happy to answer and help where I can,” he says.
- Melrose Cranes add new Grove GMK5150L-1 and BDM to the company.
- Industry Profile: Andrew Gray retires.