As part of the Finnish Konecranes
group, Sweden-based Konecranes Lifttrucks is a leading global provider of heavy lifting equipment such as forklifts and reachstackers for the container handling industry. The company was founded in 1947 as a private individual business under the name SMV, before being acquired by Konecranes in 2004. With over 50 years worth of expertise in the field, Konecranes Lifttrucks focuses on supplying equipment with a lifting capacity upwards of ten tonnes, for customers looking to handle large quantities of steel, concrete, marble, lumber or prefabricated items.
Today, the company supplies its products to over 100 countries worldwide, and its main markets are in Sweden, Germany, the UK and Australia. It is also becoming increasingly prominent in emerging markets in both the Middle East and Africa, through working with many global players such as PSA and APM Terminals.
In fact, such is the global success of Konecranes Liftrucks that between 2005 and 2008, the company managed to double its turnover. Managing director KG Salomonsson discusses how this feat was achieved: “Our strategy has been to position ourselves upon our core values, whilst offering the highest level of technical expertise to our customers. This ensures that they are getting the best possible performance as well as a low cost per handled unit. Our strategy continues to influence the market and as our reputation grows, we have attracted enquiries from a range of customers.”
Amongst the core values that KG talks about is Konecranes Lifttrucks’ strong focus upon maintaining optimal efficiency. He explains: “Not only are we one of the world’s leading manufacturers of this type of equipment, we are also one of the only companies in the industry to use a load-servicing hydraulic system as a standard measure. This gives us an advantage in that our customers can benefit from lowered fuel consumption and therefore reduced operational cost. This, in turn, creates a smaller environmental impact so its win-win all round.”
This is just one of many factors that has contributed to Konecranes Lifttrucks’ growth of 25 per cent a year in the past few years. Also vital to the company’s success is its emphasis on aftermarket support. KG elaborates: “We give one of the highest levels of life cycle value on the market by maximising productivity and minimising the cost of downtime. This is then further supplemented by having a well-developed service that can offer the best after-sales support. We aim to ensure that, throughout the lifetime of the machine, we can provide any spare part supply or technical assistance that the customer needs.”
Another key strength of the company is the longstanding relationships that it holds with its customers. KG discusses: “We have a number of key clients both large and small, and we have a proven track record with these existing customers. We have a lot of repeat orders and there has been a very limited number of customers who have left us after using our services for the first time. We are a reliable supplier who places a great deal of importance in both our stock availability and punctuality of delivery, and through doing this we can ensure that our customers will stay with us.”
Konecranes Lifttrucks continues to build upon its high service levels by investing in opportunities for a further expansion of the company. One such example is the recent modification of its Chinese facility. KG talks about how such a development came into fruition: “In 2004 we realised our success in China, and we decided to invest in another production unit which was taken into operation in 2007. We are now in the process of extending this facility so that we can double our capacity in China.”
This move comes despite the ongoing financial crisis, and it is not the only recent investment that the company has made, as KG continues: “We are presently launching an upgraded range of our bigger forklifts this autumn, making them capable of lifting between 28 and 52 tonnes. We are continually putting money towards research and development to further improve our existing range of products and we are also looking into completely new technologies such as hybrid products.”
With so many different projects underway, Konecranes Lifttrucks looks set for a busy future and there is a clear strategy laid out for the coming years, as KG concludes: “Doubling our turnover in the past few years has been a massive achievement, and we intend to double our market share again once all current ventures have been finalised. Whilst we are one of the main suppliers of heavy lifting equipment at present, we aim to be either the first or second in five years’ time.”
Products: Heavy lifting equipment