Tuesday, January 25, 2022
If you’ve seen the latest issue of Wind Energy Network magazine, you’d have noted that the cover story was about our business being named a UK distributor of Verton’s load orientation products. We’ve been on the front page of this high-profile journal before, so it was no surprise that the coverage generated a lot of interest in the company and this latest partnership.
I can see why it got some pulses racing. Verton is an innovative technology firm and inventor of the world’s first remote-controlled load orientation system, which makes taglines obsolete, removing the need for workers to be near moving or suspended loads. It is focused on providing scalable lifting solutions for the industry, whether it be for heavier and bulkier loads, reducing environmental impacts on operations, or providing actionable data for identifying opportunities for further reducing risks.
We’re not the small, lifting gear supplier we once were; we punch hard ourselves these days—just ask our competitors—but we haven’t lost sight of the value of collaboration. I see too many businesses operating in a vacuum, gasping for air because they think that they can do everything on their own. It’s not a competition to see how multi-skilled you can make a workforce or how thinly stretched you can make a team. Up-skill and invest in continuing professional development (CPD), of course, but don’t try to take on the world.
As Sean Maslen, sales director here at RSS, told Wind Energy Network: “These products will complement our spreader beam fleet as they can be used in tandem with existing equipment. Load orientation means a lot to us; we are constantly working with clients to create exclusion zones without taglines.”
He sums it up perfectly. Partnerships like this are about bringing two sets of expertise, contacts, products, etc. together and creating a coalition that allows both parties to enhance customer experiences, gain new business, and add to their respective bottom lines. We can do a lot by ourselves, but Verton gives us access to load orientation systems that are beyond our portfolio, while we offer them a gateway to marketplaces that they wouldn’t be able to penetrate so efficiently alone.
As you know, we already stock the full range of products from The Crosby Group, which recently completed a significant investment in Verton. This is another notable partnership that we’re very proud of, but it wasn’t necessarily the driving force behind our agreement with Verton. Having met with their representatives at LiftEx a few years ago, it was apparent to both parties how versatile their equipment is beyond wind energy for which it is primarily known. And while products like Windmaster, a load orientation device for wind turbine erection, do what they say on the tin, we immediately detected an opportunity to utilise these solutions in construction and other settings.
It wasn’t long after that initial meeting that we were introducing the concept to stakeholders at High Speed 2 (HS2), the high-speed railway line project that we supply product and services to daily. The whole range could feasibly be utilised by their sites in various scenarios: Everest 6, a 20-ton load orienting spreader beam; Everest 30, a modular load orienting system for a broad range of working load limits; and modular SpinPod technology, which uses gyroscopes and sophisticated control systems that orientate suspended loads remotely.
You begin to see how these alliances gather pace; we wouldn’t have been able to take our below-the-hook consultancy with HS2 to this level without Verton, and Verton probably wouldn’t have been granted an audience without us. We could have adopted the mindset that our customer doesn’t need access to such equipment, and we could have continued to service them with our existing range. Verton on the other hand could have thought that they were too worldly to give us licence to sell and rent their equipment. But everyone would have been worse off—most notably the people working at the point of use, who should always be our priority.
The range isn’t only of interest to major projects either, and this is where we’ll leverage our network of contacts further. Getting a phone call directly from the Aussie inventor of the world’s first remote-controlled load orientation system, might not help a UK-based crane rental firm or construction contractor really grasp the capabilities of the products. But when a demonstration can be given by a company with whom they already have a long-standing relationship, it makes the technology, however impressive, more accessible. It also shows that we, the distributor, are at the cutting-edge of the sector and command the respect of its leading players.
Businesses might need to become increasingly good at forging such partnerships in the current climate, amid enduring shipping delays and higher material prices. I was reading an article in Construction News earlier this month (January) that said UK construction material prices have stayed flat for the first time since September 2020. As we know, the sector witnessed material costs soar in 2021, forcing some projects to be re-tendered and businesses to collapse. But overall prices did not increase in the month to November 2021, according to the latest statistics produced by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).
The article added, ‘The last month on record when material costs did not rise was September 2020, when costs dropped by 0.1% compared to the previous month. The price of steel and timber, two of the materials to see the biggest cost hikes in 2021, came down in the period’.
The piece also warned that ongoing issues with Brexit, HGV driver shortages, Covid-19, and labour availability will continue to affect supply and demand for the time being.
All things considered, it’s certainly not a time to isolate yourself.
Rope and Sling Specialists Ltd