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Neil Webb – Back in Australia and focused on growth

A name that is recognised within the Crane industry across Australia is Neil Webb.  He was recently announced as an equity partner and the new general manager for the Australian operations of TRT. Webb discusses the reasons for landing at TRT and his plans for the local operation.

For the last nine years, Webb has been based in Indonesia, working for BT Berlian CranSerco, and a Terex dealer looking after cranes including Franna and Demag stackers and material handlers.

“I worked heavily with D Mag until the change of ownership to Tadano. Following that change, the operation became the Manitowoc and Grove dealer in Indonesia. At this time, I also moved into a new role as the Customer Support Manager looking after the sales, parts, and service division for Indonesia.”

“During the pandemic I found myself working up to eight months away from my family. Over a 20-month period, I found myself at home for only two of them. It was a family decision for me to come home. Due to the COVID travel restrictions, I wasn’t sure when I was going to be able to get home, but I was able to stay on with CranSerco until I could get back to Australia.

“The transition from Indonesia to Australia has been a fairly easy transition for me; the team here have been transparent, honest, and committed to our goals and how we can improve our business processes. It’s all been very encouraging.

“The opportunity with TRT and the new general manager’s role came about after a number of conversations with the Carden family. This also led to discussing more than the GM role, and I am now an equity partner in the business, reflecting TRT’s commitment to our Australian customers. This is the first time the Carden family have extended ownership and it’s a great fit.” he said.

There are challenges for Webb in terms of growing the TRT Australia business, but he has been impressed with what he has seen so far and is looking forward to developing the team around him.

“TRT Australia is a very strong business, and this also reflects the current high levels of confidence from the crane industry, especially in Queensland. There are multiple infrastructure projects happening, including the construction of roads and bridges, and tunnelling; there is a massive pipeline planned for 2022 and beyond. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the vast number of projects required for the 2032 Summer Olympics.

“From TRT’s perspective, we have a great product range including our own manufactured OEM products including the TIDD pick and Carry crane, heavy haulage trailers, ESS platform trailers as well as crane trailers and crane pads. All of which are all deeply rooted within the business. Our innovative, articulated TIDD Pick and Carry Crane which is completely designed, engineered, and manufactured in-house at TRT’s manufacturing facility in Hamilton, New Zealand. At the moment with full control of the manufacturing process, we are able to deliver PC28’s in 4 months or less!” he said.

“The TIDD is performing very strongly, with many of the major crane hire businesses seeing the high levels of safety features being the benchmark for Tier One construction sites. We also have the trailer range, again designed, engineered, and manufactured in New Zealand. There is a growing awareness within the market of the features, benefits, and advantages of TRT’s purpose-built and support trailers, and there is strong demand for them.

“We then have the distributor side of the business which includes the national and Oceania distributorship for Kobelco crawlers, and then we have the Manitowoc Grove dealership for Queensland.

We have an experienced sales team including Troy Hand and Philip White leading sales who are both well known in the industry. They have plenty of passion and drive and are trusted by their clients. They simply love cranes at the end of the day,” said Webb.

Growing the parts division is an important focus for Webb and TRT Australia. The parts team continues to develop with Aaron Gedge as the recently appointed Parts Manager. Aaron has brought a new approach to analysing the demand and movement of parts which is designed to improve response times and increase customer satisfaction levels.

“At the moment, the focus for TRT Australia is solving problems for our customers. It is at the core of everything we are doing. We are building relationships and engaging with our customers, and we are working hard to provide them with the best possible service.

“This involves a process of improved engagement to ultimately build levels of trust with the new management team. We believe this will lead to more transparent and robust relationships with customers. Any relationship has to work both ways and that’s the outcome we are working toward,” said Webb.

“Our crane and trailer service department is expanding and we have a great team of experienced technicians working for TRT and for our customers. Our focus on servicing, rebuilds and inspections will continue as this a key element of our renewed customer focus.

“I believe it is important to empower the various teams here at TRT and to trust in them to get the job done to the best of their ability. Focusing on the small improvements will make a huge difference to the overall business and the levels of customer satisfaction,” he said.

Webb reinforces the focus on safety features for all TRT products, but especially the TIDD product and how Tier One companies are expecting this level of safety on their construction and infrastructure sites.

“Building the ROPS and FOPS cabin from day one has really turned the corner on pick and carry crane operator safety. Slew Safe is now an inclusive feature of the TIDD Crane designed to save lives.”

“We know what damage a crane accident can do to those involved, to the operator, the crane, and the organisation. Every supplier wants to see operators’ safe home at the end of every shift, but for TRT this is the primary focus. That’s why we are so committed to providing the market with the safest pick and carry crane possible.” he said.

“The Kobelco product is in high demand. We have seen a number of units delivered over the last few months and we are building momentum for what is a reliable and easy to operate crane. As the infrastructure projects roll out, we have been seeing an increase in quotations across various capacities in the telescopic boom crawlers which is really encouraging. We are working on a number of deals across the country and are confident of securing many of these.”

“Kobelco cranes have always been very strong performers. I used to deal with them some time ago and they are a brand of crane you can give to the customer, and unfortunately for TRT, we hardly ever see them again for service or repair. They are a fantastic piece of kit based on traditional Japanese engineering and their performance is outstanding over an extended period of time,” said Webb.

Webb talks about what this new role means for him.

“This is a fantastic development for me as I am motivated by opportunity and challenges. I have a passion and drive for the crane industry. I also know a lot of people in the industry and have been developing these relationships over 27 years and I am looking forward to getting out to see more of these connections in the new year. This industry has provided me with a great career; it has always treated me well and I like to think I have always done the right thing by it.”

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