A scorcher at Silverstone was a fitting launchpad for the company's latest below-the-hook innovation, while Modulift also stays on track in cyberspace. Sarah Spivey, managing director, reports.
I've always thought it bold, perhaps even tempting fate, that publisher Vertikal put a glowing sun in the logo of its annual trade event, Vertikal Days, which took place this year at the Silverstone Circuit on 24-25 May. After all, it's an outdoor, UK event and over the years visitors and exhibitors alike have had to endure their fair share of cloud cover and showers.
However, this year, the graphic was symbolic. For two days in Northamptonshire the sun shone brightly, to the point that our exhibition stand under the canvas of the Marketplace area felt tropical at times.
Equally warm was the reception given to our Adjustable Lifting / Spreader Beam (or MOD CLS), a combined lifting and spreader beam utilising a clamp system, that was previewed at the show before its official launch this week.
The concept was delivered in response to demand from sectors where light industrial lifting scenarios inside or outside factory environments are commonplace, offering users a safe, fast and adjustable beam, that lifts from multiple points top and bottom.
The beam is being introduced in one size of up to 8.5t capacity, depending on configuration, but offered with four clamps as standard to adjust the lifting points to enable flexibility between a single top lifting point (lifting beam) or double top lifting points (spreader beam).
As I said to Vertikal Days attendees, the MOD CLS is game-changing from a lead-time perspective, as users no longer have to wait for beams to be built. The launch is yet another example of Modulift responding to industry demand and providing distributors with a revolutionary, off-the-shelf, below-the-hook solution. It's also another instance where we have identified a target audience and timed the launch to address it head-on.
The Vertikal community, resplendent in sunglasses and hats, some of them reeking of sun lotion, were suitably impressed.
We're not newcomers to the lower capacity, more generic end of the market—our products are regularly applied beneath the hook of overhead cranes and other industrial equipment—but this latest product launch allows us to further raise our profile in the sector. I'm sure there are other Modulift solutions that will be suited to certain applications that will now be more readily considered.
Vertikal Days also represented an opportunity to network with fellow exhibitors, some of which supply our equipment to their customers. In addition to the products on our own stand, a number of other exhibits showcased spreader beams that basked in the glorious weather. But never mind the sun, the stars truly aligned at Silverstone with organisers, exhibitors, visitors and participating trade authorities all contributing to a winning event.
The Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association's (SC&RA) Annual Conference and US Offshore Wind 2017 Conference & Expo weren't bad either as another busy trade show season continues. Last month's guest blogger, John Baker, business development manager (great blog by the way!), and I will be on the road again this month as we call on our key European distributors. More on that in my next article.
Cyber health check
I want to close with a warning about cyber security and procedures after Modulift was involved in a hacking situation recently. To some extent cyber crime was on our radar—we have relevant insurances in place—but I'll hold my hands up and say I wasn't aware of the levels of sophistication and believability that are hallmarks of a modern day cyber attack.
Cyberspace has been a hot topic of conversation after the UK's National Health Service (NHS) was hit by a large-scale cyber-attack that disrupted hospital and GP appointments earlier this month (May). It should have served as a warning to everyone in business to check their cyber security, but many I speak to still take an, 'It'll never happen to me' approach. It's incredible given that one article I read recently claimed that £30 billion (yes, THIRTY BILLION POUNDS!) was lost to cyber crime here in the UK alone last year.
If you think this was because people are dumb enough to respond to a poorly worded email asking them to reply with their bank details, think again. I can't say too much about it for obvious reasons but we were involved in an attack so well disguised that a third party company's email addresses were even used to hoodwink their target. It was a scam so well planned and so intrusive that it made me feel physically unwell.
We've learnt a lot from the experience and I'd encourage all readers of this blog to look at the systems they have in place. Don't make the mistake of thinking you're too small to be a target—everyone is vulnerable. Credit is owed to our staff for reacting quickly and alerting the appropriate departments and outside companies, which is a procedure we've now formalised should the same thing happen in the future.
Again, I can't go into detail but needless to say our action plan includes requirements to keep files and data safe, and stresses the importance of thinking twice before acting on anything that involves valuable information. Staff have also been advised that if they're ever in any doubt, don't respond to correspondence. Remember, companies typically don't change invoice or account details, for example, at the drop of a hat and, if they have, an issue isn't going to be so time sensitive that clarification can't be sought over the telephone with the people involved.
Technology and data are fundamental to doing business and with the digital landscape evolving at such speed; it can be difficult to know where we're at greatest risk. Entire global operations can be reduced to a standstill in a cyber attack. Consider the time and money that can be lost in recovering from a hacking situation, especially if industry regulators and other authorities need to get involved. The stakes are high; a good reputation could go up in smoke.
If you act on nothing else in this blog, at least get yourself and your company cyber safe.
Thank you for reading and use the #belowthehook hashtag to engage with us on social media.
Managing Director Modulift