Team hookloader: Palfinger

Waste Management Review speaks with the Palfinger hookloader team about working together to achieve maximum payloads.

Industrial conglomerate Sime Darby’s recent acquisition of Gough Group’s New Zealand and Australian operations led to a change of ownership for hydraulic lifting and handling company Palfinger.

The change came at a time of growth for the Australian arm of the company, which has been investing in and expanding its hookloader capabilities over the past three years.

According to Glen Woodrow, Palfinger Queensland and Northern Territory Account Manager, Palfinger’s Australian hookloader operations have traditionally played second fiddle to the company’s higher-profile crane manufacturing business.

“Globally Palfinger is renowned for its cranes, and while our hookloaders have always been just as structurally and operationally impressive, it’s only over the last few years that we have dedicated time and resources to grow this vital part of the Palfinger Australia business,” Glen says.

“The waste industry has been central to growth for us. Additionally, working with councils on tailored transport and waste solutions has really expanded our knowledge of the sector.”   

Palfinger brought Glen on as National Account Manager Hooks and Skips three years ago to expand its hookloader operations. He says that prior to his appointment, Palfinger didn’t have a dedicated hookloader team.

“I immediately worked with the developed hookloader business plan, which the team has been successfully using ever since,” he says.

“The central ideas are collaboration and knowledge transfer, which helps us deliver maximum payloads for clients, and as a result, maintain long-term relationships. Tailoring the business plan to suit both demographic and geographic demands has been part of the key to our success.”

To continue this momentum Palfinger Australia has expanded its national footprint, with two additional team members joining the business over the past two years.

They are Stuart Cameron, who oversees Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia, and Seth Ozbas, who joined the team four months ago to run New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.

Palfinger’s Western Australian interests are supported by Perth-based Palfinger crane salesman Mick Stone, completing the national field coverage.

The four account managers work closely together and for every unit sold, produce a detailed specification and legal loading sheet that provides clients with a complete understanding of each build.

“We debrief weekly on what went well with the sale, potential room for improvement and overall customer satisfaction. This means other team members can learn from our experience and have similar wins themselves,” Glen says.

Glen says Palfinger’s customer engagement in the preparatory stage is another critical success factor of Palfinger’s hookloader business plan.

“We work hard to make sure that when we deliver a hookloader, it’s right the first time. It’s a very bespoke process with considerable research involved – rarely are two Palfinger hookloaders the same,” Glen says.

“I like to think we turn customers into clients.”

Stuart says an increased ability to manage national accounts is a key benefit of having dedicated teams in each state.

“When a supplier’s operations aren’t centralised, problems can arise, such as red tape surrounding where an order was originally placed and where the servicing will occur. But for us, this isn’t a problem. Palfinger always has an expert available to manage the situation in every state,” he says.

Stuart says this is further supported by an extensive list of 37 fully trained service partners located throughout Australia.

Before joining the Palfinger team, Stuart worked for another hookloader manufacturer. He says while there are many good products on the market, Palfinger’s hookloaders stand out for their durability and strength.

“I know the market well and can confidently say that our top-quality European products are the best hookloaders available,” Stuart says.

“I was recently involved in fitting a 20-year-old Palfinger hookloader to a brand-new Scania because the hookloader was still operating at an optimum level. Palfinger can provide that kind of longevity.”

Seth, the newest member of the hookloader team, expressed similar sentiments, saying he is impressed with the quality of the product and streamlined nature of Palfinger’s operations.

He adds that while he covers the entire New South Wales and ACT region, he spends most of his time in Sydney’s western suburbs.

“Most waste and recycling companies are in Sydney, so I have spent the last few months meeting with clients and cold calling potential prospects,” Seth says.

“I want to make sure our clients feel comfortable to call me whenever they have a challenging opportunity, so I can arrange a quote on a new product or organise a service on existing equipment.”

According to Seth, a key benefit of the multipronged Palfinger sales strategy is the ability to quickly access all previous sales and equipment data.

“When I’m speaking with a client who needs specific information about a product, I am able to call the responsible person who provides the information straight away, rather than wasting time scanning through documents,” he says.

“The team is really invested in working together to grow and expand Australian hookloader market.”

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