Monday, January 25, 2016
It is important to constantly evolve to ensure a company remains the first choice for existing customers, while attracting new business from those who may not have encountered a need for the equipment one provides, or even those who have been using an alternative supplier or competitor.
In our case, as a lifting and rigging equipment supplier, that evolution not only revolves around sourcing the best products and supporting it with world-class customer service, but also includes development of our online presence and broader brand identity. I wrote in my blog last month about the importance of circulating educational content marketing with a target audience. This is all part of building trust and an effective way of putting back into the industry sectors that consume our equipment.
We are very proud of the breadth of product and the clarity with which it is captured in the Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd product catalogue. However, I agreed with Alan Varney, manager of our Bridgend, Wales office, who suggested we sharpen and raise the profile of the written introduction to our company within its pages. It’s great that we’re all thinking about quality of content and clarity of communication.
I’d urge others to look at the content within their sales documentation as I found reworking our introductory message very enlightening. Our easy-to-read publication introduces existing and prospective customers to lifting, rigging and below-the-hook equipment. The catalogue also covers tracking, moving, working-at-height, inspection and other services that complete our portfolio.
This blog is non-commercial so my intent isn’t to promote our product portfolio, but I believe we have got certain things right that others could use by way of an example. Rewriting our introduction certainly reminded me why we continue to be successful in providing equipment to mega-size, long-term projects, for example. Whether it be a super sewer, tunnel construction or other major infrastructure project, it takes a certain type of business to supply them, particularly with lifting and rigging equipment.
We operate in a very competitive environment, as may be the case for readers of this blog in the various sectors I hope to be reaching with my content. It’s hard enough to win orders anyway but I think firms, at least in our industry, could make life easier for themselves by competing for business that suits the structure of their company. Imagine committing to delivery of a product or service to a massive contractor or long-term project only to struggle to fulfil the obligations. The consequences could be severe and the negative publicity disastrous.
If you’re considering adapting or developing your business model to serve such projects, building trust among large contractors and infrastructure companies is the first thing you need to do. When projects invest sometimes millions of pounds bringing state-of-the-art tunnel boring machines, cranes and transportation equipment to a job site—and keeping it there for years—it is easy to comprehend the despair when production grinds to a halt when there aren’t enough lifting slings on site to rig a load, for example.
Often, major contractors stick with suppliers they know because they can’t afford to take a chance. if you look at the budget of a big project, see the appeal of a three-year contract to supply equipment but aren’t prepared to be on 24-hour call and make that project part of your tapestry for years to come, forget about bidding for it. Before our equipment, our big customers know we will provide a world-class service to keep them safe and productive when the pressure is on.
We’ve signed contracts on a number of landmark infrastructure projects recently. As I referenced in our product catalogue, our fully trained staff have many years of experience in providing mechanical handling solutions. Our widespread and varied customer base ensures that the company is fully conversant with the requirements of modern industry, especially in providing a consultative service to ensure safety and productivity in the workplace. Equipment used at work for lifting, lowering and suspending loads requires careful consideration in its selection, use, maintenance and periodic examination.
As was widely covered in trade media recently, Amey, on behalf of Transport Scotland, called us in to lift a truck-mounted access platform during maintenance on the Forth Road Bridge. When such a busy highway is closed for repair work, safety and efficiency of operation are of paramount importance. It goes without saying that Amey knew we could deliver to their stringent requirements and execute the challenging lift to their specific requirements. They are a long-term customer and we are confident that if we keep providing the best service possible, they will think of us for other jobs in the future.
A super sewage project, also in Scotland, has recently asked us for equipment because we proved ourself on a similar job in London. There were times when we had to go above and beyond the call of duty—often in the middle of the night—to keep that project on track but the long-term gains by far outweigh the short-term pain of delivering slings and shackles for a pipe lift at 2am.
Location and product mix are important too. All our facilities are equipped to supply the same level of service, but tailored to the region. At Templeborough, Rotherham office, for example, supply, hire and testing services will be provided for various waste-to-energy projects in 2016. Later this year, a new depot in west London will be opened which will have all the hallmarks of a Rope and Sling facility but will be strategically positioned and equipped with the region’s projects in mind. It’s all about being able to answer that midnight phone call and delivering. The customer doesn’t want to hear that you’re a six-hour drive from the site.
Train hard, race easy
I sent a Tweet earlier this month, (you can follow the business on Twitter: @RopeandSling) reiterating the importance of training to ongoing improvement of best practice, inspired by a LEEA training session we conducted earlier this month in Saudi Arabia, covering the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) and the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998 (LOLER). It was a successful session in a region that we hope to be more active in this year. Once again, it’s about timing our reentry to a market where we have had a presence in the past only when we can provide the very best customer service and prompt delivery of product.
We continue the theme early next month when Alan and I will lead a training day for staff who are often required to take enquiries and conduct initial conversations with existing and potential customers. We want to develop their understanding of our lifting and rigging portfolio so those early consultations are as efficient as possible. We have experts on hand to advance enquiries but it enhances our customer service if they can start applying lifting and rigging solutions to the applications that are presented to them on the telephone.
Since my last blog, our new 1,000t Sahm Splice hydraulic press, capable of manufacturing 55t safe working load slings, has manufactured its first order for the oil and gas sector. The extent of the downturn in oil and gas has been well documented so we were thrilled to receive the order to get the New Year underway.
Thank you for reading. More from me next month.
Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd