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Manitowoc service and support bolstered by industry stalwart

Manitowoc Service and support has recently been boosted for its Grove, Manitowoc, and Potain brands.

Manitowoc recently confirmed a renewed focus on the Manitowoc service and support with the appointment of industry stalwart Paul Churchill. Paul has come out of an early retirement to join the Manitowoc team as Customer Service Director. 

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“I started the role at the end of last year and my main focus will be to oversee the service, support and parts availability for the business, basically I will be working on everything involved in after sales support. I will be working with the service department with a special focus on technical support. 

“I’ve come out of retirement for this position. I had a couple of interesting offers during the retirement, and I did some consulting, but the way this role was presented to me made it a hard one to pass up. Garry Barker, who held the role for a number of years, has moved to a new business development position with a focus on used cranes.

“I now find myself working with a good bunch of people in a very family-orientated business. The team features a number of different nationalities, so culturally it’s an interesting but great place to work. From what I have seen during my time in the industry, Manitowoc service and support is way up there but like any business these days, there is still plenty to work on and improve,” said Paul.

Ryan Galea is the National Parts Manager for Manitowoc Cranes Australia, and he started with the business in March 2023. Previously he had been managing parts for construction equipment suppliers for over a decade. Ryan explains his objectives in terms of parts availability, service and support.

“Since joining Manitowoc, the Parts Department has grown significantly, and we’ve reconfigured our warehouse adding new racking – enabling us to hold considerably more stock. This year we are focused on holding more parts so when our customers call, we can be confident that we have the part on the shelf,” said Ryan.

“We are working with recommended parts lists for the population of cranes that are working today. We have been researching the models and where the cranes are operating and we are using this information to ensure we have the right parts on the shelf in the right areas,” he said. “Prior to COVID-19 and the logistics issues, we consistently had 90 per cent plus “off the shelf” availability. It is our goal to improve on that number in 2024.”

Ryan goes on to discuss how Manitowoc’s Parts Teamwork with agents and distributors like TRT Australia in Queensland and New Zealand, WATM Cranes Sales in Western Australia, and service agent JDM in Victoria.

“Our dealer network is excellent. I’ve been working closely with TRT ensuring they have enough parts on their shelves, and they are expanding their holding. The teams at TRT and WATM are very flexible and also want the best outcome for the customer,” he said.

“We hold significant amounts of stock here in Blacktown and this holding includes tele-cylinders for all the major cranes and also transmission systems. Customers don’t want to be waiting 8 to 12 weeks for these significant parts, so we try to have them in stock,” said Ryan

Paul explains how the team intends to take the Manitowoc service and support to the next level. 

“I probably have a significant advantage in that during my roles over the years, I have experienced the customer service from Manitowoc and the other crane OEMs as a customer. There are different ways to improve on customer service, but for me, the improvements come from the people in the organisation. If the people are happy, well-resourced and supported every step of the way with logical processes, this will show at the customer service level.

“As Ryan has said, it is important to have good relationships. I’ve known many of the key stakeholders within our distributor network for many years and I want to take advantage of these relationships. Our agents are important to us, especially when it comes to customer service, because they are closer to the customer, in many respects, than we are. The improvements will come as we develop these relationships and further enhance the “network”.

“We understand that everybody has got to up their game because this market is getting increasingly competitive and there is a definite commitment from Manitowoc Cranes Australia to improve the Manitowoc service and support. The fact is, you can’t keep every part on the shelf, but you can certainly strive to keep the most common parts, and structure your network in a way that you can get what you need quickly” said Paul.

Andrew Buchanan is Manitowoc’s Service Manager and has been with the organisation for six years. He explains how he approaches the critical discipline of service.

“We support our dealer network nationally where we have TRTA in Queensland, TRT in New Zealand, JDM in Victoria and WATM in Western Australia, we also operate nine technicians across the Manitowoc Product lines, covering New South Wales and supplementing Australia wide when required. We have a technician based in Tasmania, one based in Victoria and another in Queensland covering our key accounts and supporting our network.

“In terms of product support, we diagnose issues quickly and identify which parts might be needed and we’re able to take those parts with us. With our telematics system, Grove Connect, we can look at the crane online if it’s one of our newer CCS models cranes, and we can see what it’s been doing, understand the history of the machine and what it is displaying in real time. We’re not just relying on conversations with customers and their operators, we can see the data live, which narrows the issues down for us,” he said.

Andrew explains how Manitowoc manages major inspections and how Grove Connect’s telematics is streamlining this process.

“In terms of major inspections, we work with certified partners with a system in place that manages the process from start to finish. We have designed the process to provide customers with a more streamlined and informed approach to major inspections. The program provides us with an option to enable the customer to keep using their crane for longer and not having to do the full strip down if it’s not required,” said Andrew. 

“Morale is high in the parts team”, says Ryan.

“Our parts team has been getting excellent feedback from our customers. We recently bought Geraldine on board who is an experienced operator in customer service. She looks after a lot of our key accounts as well as our dealers and she ensures they are getting the responses they need.

Manitowoc Service and support has recently been boosted for its Grove, Manitowoc, and Potain brands.
Ola Taiwo – Warehouse Co-Ordinator and other members of Manitowoc’s parts team have been receiving excellent feedback from customers. Image: Prime Creative Media.

“Shree’s been with us for a little while and customers have a good relationship with him, and his customer service skills are excellent. Sandeep’s also been with us for a while now and he looks after our ordering from overseas. Alex is our most recent team member, and his customer service levels are first-rate. He also looks after our onsite safety,” said Ryan. “Our team is reasonably new, but extremely dedicated and focused on continual improvement and we are already seeing positive signs from the comments that are coming in from our internal network, and most importantly, our customers.”

Paul is excited with the new role and the opportunities it presents despite the ongoing challenges.

“Obviously, we are no different to any other crane supplier, as we too are still experiencing disruptions and challenges in terms of freight and parts availability. After the pandemic, things were pretty awful, but we started to see some improvement mid last year, but with shipping again being disrupted in the Red Sea, we have to plan our requirements well in advance, which is not always easy financially, and logistically, as the shipping companies choose longer and safer routes for their freight.

“As a team we aim to be very responsive to our customers’ needs and we have the flexibility with our freight networks to utilise air freight if necessary to get parts on a plane to almost anywhere in Australia, often within 24hrs or better of receiving the order, depending on the urgency of the customer call-out,” he said.

“Manitowoc products, including the Grove and Potain brands, have always been highly regarded by our industry. We are really excited about the release of new products and the research and development being conducted into alternate fuels. With a renewed focus on customer service, I can see the business is shaping up for a dynamic period and I’m really happy to be part of a great team and network, and to play my role in ensuring we continue to satisfy our customer’s requirements,” he said. 

News of the enhancement of Manitowoc service and support strategies comes after the company recently sought to enhance its major inspection process.


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