(L-R) are Dan Worthey, regional sales manager and Constantino Lannes, president Sennebogen LLC; Lamont Cantrell, VP sales and marketing Modern Machinery Co.; Erich Sennebogen, managing director Sennebogen GmbH; Rob Jacobs, branch manager Modern Machinery
Top distributors of Sennebogen material handlers credit a consistent focus on customer support as a key factor in sales growth through the past business year.
Sennebogen LLC, based in Stanley, N.C., recently named its best-performing dealers of 2011 at the annual ISRI convention in Las Vegas. Atlantic Equipment & Supply Inc. of Hampton, Va., topped the list, followed closely by Lyle Machinery of Jackson, Miss. The group of honorees was rounded out by Binder Machinery in South Plainfield, N.J., Bejac Equipment in Placentia, Calif., Gibson Machinery in Cleveland, Ohio and Modern Machinery in Kent, Wash.
Longest Serving Distributor Is #1
Constantino Lannes, president of Sennebogen LLC, said, “It’s a pleasure to have this opportunity to recognize the great work Atlantic Equipment has been doing for us for so many years. They show what can be accomplished when you develop and serve the territory well.”
Representing Sennebogen since the green machines first landed in America, Atlantic Equipment did much of the pioneering work to establish Sennebogen as a leading name in the industry. Jim Smelgus, president, founded Atlantic as an equipment repair and service business. His service philosophy dovetailed from the very beginning with Managing Director Erich Sennebogen’s strategy for making the German-based company successful in America.
Atlantic’s Sales Manager, Garland Miles feels that Sennebogen made a smart move at the outset when it was decided to resist discounting machines, choosing instead to earn its way based on quality and support.
“It was tough at first,” Miles said. “We were placing machines on trial and just hoping customers would understand the value built in to the machines. Most did, once they saw them at work. Those that didn’t buy right away have since come on-board.”
Smelgus noted that Sennebogen’s nationwide sales success is still rooted in its commitment to the service side of the business.
“Their investment in North America over the past years is phenomenal,” he said. “The new parts and training facility and the current expansion now under way continue to demonstrate their confidence in their product and the North and South American markets.”
Newest Dealer Achieves Rapid Success
In contrast to Atlantic Equipment, Lyle Machinery is among the newest of Sennebogen’s distributors, achieving its “Dealer of the Year” award in just 2 years. Jimmy Lyle heads up the family firm’s material handling division and said that its rapid success with the line is a result of adopting Sennebogen’s blueprint and putting it to work with their long-established customer service capabilities.
“We have had great support from Sennebogen, so we have been following their lead to develop this business,” he said.
To implement the right strategy, Jimmy Lyle and his brother Dan formed two divisions within the company to ensure that both the construction side and the material handling side of their operations have hands-on management support. Dan Lyle continues to manage the “dirt” operations of Lyle Machinery’s dealership for Komatsu equipment.
With top level leadership in place, the dealership moved quickly on Sennebogen’s second “key to success” — identify an applications specialist within the sales team.
“Monty Braley is our Sennebogen specialist in Louisiana,” Jimmy Lyle explained. “He actually came out of our product support department so when he visits a customer, he’s able to relate to everyone involved with the equipment: yard managers, owners, operators, service techs. However, all of our sales staff have factory training on Sennebogen, so they can recognize opportunities for customers, but in Louisiana, Monty is able to represent Sennebogen well at every level of the customers’ organization.”
Industry Experience Pays Off In Sales
On the east side of the country, Binder Machinery of New Jersey and Gibson Machinery in Ohio are both well established as leaders in the Sennebogen sales organization.
Jim Gill, the resident Sennebogen specialist at Binder, also credits a thorough knowledge of customer needs with his firm’s ongoing sales success. Prior to joining Binder, Gill spent 30 years managing scrap yard operations.
“Binder has had many years serving scrap customers, going back when we were modifying excavators for loading applications. We learned long ago that it’s what you do after the sale that makes you successful. Sennebogen realizes that, too, and they provide the factory support that dealers need to look after the customer.”
Gibson Machinery has won a spot among Sennebogen’s top dealers every year since the awards were first announced. President and owner Lee Gibson also said that his consistent sales are the result of doing the same things well year after year.
“It’s not rocket science,” he said. “You deliver the basics: quality machines, serviceability and dependable customer support. In our territory, Sennebogen is no longer the unknown. They are the recognized leader and we have a solid customer base in a diverse range of scrap, mill service and barge unloading applications. With good support, that turns into repeat sales. And with wider acceptance, it’s easier to develop new business.”
Opening Doors to Varied Opportunities
Bejac Equipment and Modern Machinery are the West Coast representatives of Sennebogen, where an active market in ocean ports and a dedicated effort to identify unique applications has led the two firms to sales success.
Ron Barlet, president of Bejac Equipment, agrees that understanding the range of applications for Sennebogen equipment is essential to achieving their sales potential.
“Our success prior to Sennebogen was in our diversity of markets served and, with Sennebogen now part of our product offering, it has been reinforced,” stated Barlet. “We have made an incredible investment in training so our guys can comfortably make sales calls beyond the scrap industry to the levy builders, the waste transfer stations, ports, etc. Our regional sales manager from Sennebogen and his background as a retail guy has been invaluable. We love the fact that he was once out there selling the product. He is very comfortable with our customers and enjoys working with our sales force.”
At Modern Machinery, Vice President Lamont Cantrell brings a long-term relationship with Sennebogen to the business.
“I got to know them well in the early years, before I relocated to the west,” he said. “As soon as Modern decided to expand its product offering in the Portland and Seattle areas, our first call went to an OEM I knew I could count on, Sennebogen.”
Cantrell described Sennebogen as a strategic piece in Modern’s sales strategy.
“We believe in providing an integrated line-up for the industries we serve. Sennebogen provides a key machine for every step in the scrap industry, from collection, to processing and shipping. Our scrap customers are very high profile, too. Our ability to service such demanding operations that run 24/7 while a vessel is in port to either load or off-load, tells other customers a lot about our capability and commitment.”
Service is a Family Value
With a strong year in 2011, despite economic challenges, Erich Sennebogen acknowledges the wisdom that his father, the founder of the company, the late Erich Sennebogen brought to the organization at its original inception.
“The engineering of Sennebogen machines is designed to deliver equipment that is purpose-built to customer requirements, and our sales organization is built on the need to deliver the highest level of customer support. The Sennebogen family has always put customer needs first and customers have responded by depending on us for their ongoing business success.”
For more information, call 704/347-4910 or visit www.sennebogen-na.com.