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Year of the Distributor Continues

Welcome to the second Modulift blog, written by me, Sarah Spivey, the managing director of the premium supplier of spreader beams, lifting beams and other below-the-hook lifting equipment.

Thank you for all the positive feedback on my first blog, which I posted here last month (June). In the second edition I will talk about my recent trip to Australia, conferences, our distributor network, office management systems and recruitment. Moreover, I will again aim to educate, inform and communicate through my experiences related to those matters.

After a successful couple of days at the inaugural LEEA Lifting & Rigging Conference Asia, which was staged by the association in Singapore in late June, I travelled to Sydney to catch up with our partner, Bullivants, a specialist provider of lifting, rigging, safety and related services to the Australian industrial sector.

It was opportune to discuss the presentation we will give to The Crane Industry Council of Australia’s (CICA) conference, which takes place in Perth this September. Anthony Culshaw, our senior design engineer and technical committee member at LEEA, will deliver a paper titled “Lifting and Spreader Beam Design and Use”. Anthony will also present at the LEEA Lifting & Rigging Conference Middle East three months later that has been launched following the successful Singapore event referenced above.

Like this blog, I am passionate about keeping the content of such presentations free of commercial, self-serving information. Delegates often pay a substantial fee to attend trade conferences and they expect—and deserve—to be informed and educated.

The presentations that attracted the best feedback at the recent LEEA conference, for example, were the ones that kept references to their own company to a minimum and presented on topics, trends and issues that enhanced the knowledge of the audience. Anthony will do just that in Australia and Dubai when he has the opportunity to share his vast expertise with two fascinating marketplaces.

A global company represented locally

At Modulift, 2015 is the year of the distributor. As the recent trip to Bullivants proved, we will continue to invest time and resources in giving our existing distributors all the tools and knowledge they need to be as successful as possible, whilst growing our network of partners to expand into additional markets. In that sense it is a two-pronged initiative.

Where a distributor is already established, we give them as much sales and marketing support as we can, whilst visiting them on a regular basis and being available to advise and support throughout order processes. Sometimes, if the application demands, we will even be the main point of contact for an end customer.

Choosing the right partners is fundamental to the successful implementation of this business model and making the right appointments is crucial. In fact, we have two members of staff who are responsible for investigating new markets and adding partners to our business. They look for a variety of criteria with the fundamental requirements being a strong presence in a marketplace; an understanding of different industry sectors; experience in heavy lifting; and familiarity in representing and working with big, global brands.

We only move forward with the right partners and I’d urge anyone in this industry or others to be patient, especially when looking for a partner to penetrate a new market. If the geography and industry sectors within it represent serious growth potential, think of the damage that could be done by entering into a partnership with the wrong firm.

I am delighted to be able to announce here first that Saudi Dutest Industrial Company LLC, the branch of Bin Dasmal Group outside the UAE, has joined us as a representative in Saudi Arabia. We have been in dialogue with them for several years having originally visited their Dubai office so it’s a huge thrill to have finally reached the end of the process to get them on board. Proof that patience is a virtue.

The people behind the products

It is equally important that we grow the right way from within. At UK headquarters in Poole, Dorset, we have a fantastic team of people that we have had to double in size in just three years without compromising on the quality of individuals we hire. Striking a balance between promoting from within and recruiting from outside has served us well.

We have recently welcomed two new members of staff to the team—Mindy Edwards and Liam Botting. Mindy has joined our production team where she replaces Tom Cox, who has been promoted to production supervisor. Liam joins us as new business development manager and brings a wealth of experience from the marine sector.

Promoting Tom and anyone else who has deserved to take on more responsibility within the business is hugely rewarding. In an industry where finding talented people isn’t always easy, staff development and retention of knowledge and skill-sets is very important to our ability to continue to provide the best service whilst sustaining a period of aggressive growth.

I would recommend using recruitment agencies where you haven’t got an individual in mind to fill a vacated or created position. However, as is becoming a buzz word already in these blogs, the quality of agent is important to results. You know you’re working with a good recruitment company when you are presented with strong shortlists of candidates who are genuinely interested in becoming a success at your business and have the qualifications to do so.

The interview and recruitment process we oversee thereafter is challenging but always tailored for the specific role. Personalities are key to developing a company’s culture and we frequently invite candidates to visit the office for a half day, for example, to see how all the relevant parties respond to their introduction to the team. Quality of CV and volume of qualifications are more or less significant depending on the role.

As an industry we must all try to do more to make the lifting sector more appealing, particularly to young engineers. There are many misconceptions about the industry and we need to market the opportunities we create more effectively. After all, it can be an exhilarating, challenging, stimulating career path and most people newcomers to it will get to work with are passionate and inspiring.

Tools of the trade

We are a customer service-focussed company. Through our distribution channels and in recruitment, our aim is to be as consultative as possible in every aspect of our work. With that in mind we have recently launched two notable state-of-the-art systems that will make our people more efficient and take the service we offer to the next level.

Our new app, for example, can be accessed by distributors and their sales personnel via smart technology and other digital devices. It will give them an abundance of data about our products and services quite literally in the palm of their hands. We understand that they often have thousands of products to sell and even though we invest in training to help them understand our products, it can be hard to remember everything. We are delighted and proud to provide them with a tool that gives them the ability to talk confidently about our below-the-hook equipment and answer any questions the customer might have.

We have also rolled out new business management software that initially logs the details of an enquiry before supporting every stage of the order right up to generating the paperwork upon shipment of the below-the-hook equipment. It will be exciting to see how it streamlines the business further and makes it easier to analyse sales and stock.

Thank you for reading. Follow us on Twitter—@ModuliftUK—and use the hashtag #belowthehook to engage with us.

Sarah Spivey
Managing Director
Modulift
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