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McClung-Logan Crane & Equipment Takes Old-School Approach to Business

Wed July 25, 2012 - Southeast Edition
CEG


The sales efforts for the western portions of the Carolinas are being handled by Jeff Baumgardner (L), while Vic Gilbert will be handling the eastern portion of the Carolinas.
The sales efforts for the western portions of the Carolinas are being handled by Jeff Baumgardner (L), while Vic Gilbert will be handling the eastern portion of the Carolinas.
The sales efforts for the western portions of the Carolinas are being handled by Jeff Baumgardner (L), while Vic Gilbert will be handling the eastern portion of the Carolinas. (L-R): Ben Cockerham, manager of McClung-Logan Crane & Equipment LLC, based out of Charlotte, N.C., is pictured here with Chris Wise and Kevin Roberts, both of LBX Company. McClung-Logan hosted a sales training event and invited LBX Company to be a part o McClung-Logan Crane & Equipment LLC has taken on the Terex crane account for Maryland, Washington, D.C.; North Carolina; and Virginia. Ben Cockerham is manager of McClung-Logan Crane & Equipment LLC. McClung-Logan Crane & Equipment keeps a good supply of fast-moving parts on the shelf to satisfy its customers’ needs. Zack Thomas (L), parts manager, and Ricky Williams, service manager, stand ready to help.

Although officially opening October 2011, McClung-Logan Crane & Equipment is no stranger to the equipment sales and rental business. With decades of experience in the field, McClung-Logan’s employees are industry veterans committed to serving their clients in North Carolina and beyond.

“We are old school and believe the way to do business is by providing expertise on how the equipment is used in the customer’s business. We also strongly believe product support is the key to building long-term customer relations,” explained Ben Cockerham, general manager of the Charlotte-based company. “Because of our diverse lines and experience, we can provide the solutions to problems outside the norm of most equipment distributors. We feel this sets us apart. Our immediate goal is to establish an equipment dealership where contractors go to solve their problems; whether that need is a specialty piece of equipment or repairs no one else can do. We want to help the customer be more profitable making us a resource they will want to use for the long haul.”

Cockerham admitted that starting a new business has its challenges.

“It took a lot longer to get things up and running than anticipated,” he said. “Obtaining permits and getting contracts in place proved to be a long, slow process; however, we are now beginning to see the benefits of these efforts. Sales and rentals are gradually increasing, and product support operations are steadily growing.

“Our business is repairing, selling, renting and purchasing equipment,” Cockerham added. “We represent the Terex crane line, Maeda mini-crane line, LBX Link-Belt excavator line, BTI attachments, Rope Block and LSI. We also own and have access to used equipment we have traded for or purchased. A large part of our business is cranes, but we also service the excavation and utilities markets, the scrap industry, demolition market, bridge contractors, erectors, the quarry industry and recycling.”

The McClung-Logan Crane & Equipment staff includes Zack Thomas, Ricky Williams, Jeff Baumgardner, Vic Gilbert, Paul Stitt and Shawn Brooks. Prior to getting in the equipment distribution business, many of these men were in other lines of work, which Cockerham considers a plus.

“I was a combat engineer in the Marine Corps, Ricky was at Duke Power and Paul and Shawn came from a crane rental company,” Cockerham explained. “By working on the user side of the business, we understand what it takes to run a successful organization. We will continually strive to build this business on the philosophy that if the customer is happy; we are doing our job.”

McClung-Logan Crane & Equipment may not be a large company, but it has substantial backing, according to Cockerham.

“We are owned by M/L Holdings Company, who also owns other crane companies as well as heavy construction equipment dealers located throughout the United States. Being part of M/L Holdings provides us the financial stability to be competitive on a much larger scale than our size might suggest. We feel fortunate to be small enough to give individual attention but also have the resources of a much larger company.”

Cockerham also believes providing quality product support to the company’s customers is vital to its success.

“Our parts and service operations are led by two outstanding people.” He said. “Zack Thomas, our parts manager, has been in the parts business many years. He realizes the importance of getting people what they need the first time and quicker than the competition. Ricky Williams, our service manager, is excellent with customers. He can get a machine up and running; many times over the phone. Key strategies they strive for are safety and cost efficiency.”

As for what makes a good service manager, Williams said, “For me, a good service manager manages his staff well and is able to maintain a good open relationship with them while at the same time holding himself accountable for performing quality work in a timely manner. Balancing service work schedules, safety needs, training, working with parts and sales, as well as overseeing customer satisfaction continues to be a priority. Good customer relationships and quality work is essential to a thriving company. Our customers are our success.”

Williams believes finding the right balance is a priority.

“Keeping the ball rolling in each direction [as the demand requires], while maintaining a good relationship with all team members is a big challenge but necessary in order to be successful. It really is everyone pulling together that makes a team, not one person alone. Multiple lights shining across the playing field are much more effective than a single light trying to do the same task. This business can only be successful with everyone striving for the same goal, reaching for higher goals and refusing to be limited.

“We have a great team,” Williams added, “from the technicians that make us successful with our customers to the management team supporting us as we complete our daily duties while pursuing excellence. Our customers deserve nothing less.”

The parts department also looks for the best ways to be part of the team. Parts Manager Thomas handles parts calls, inventory control, vendor invoices, purchasing and negotiation for services. He believes there is no substitute for experience.

“I think it is more important than ever,” he said. “I have thorough knowledge about many products that I’ve been exposed to over the years. You need somebody with experience who can tell you that if you replace a widget, you also need some gaskets and seals. We work as a team. If a customer needs parts, service or sales, we keep each other informed. Our common goal is to grow the business.”

Jeff Baumgardner, territory manager of the western portion of the Carolinas, has 35 years’ experience in the construction equipment industry.

“I find customers still appreciate the value experience can offer,” he said. “Ben Cockerham hand-picked our team for this very purpose. Our team has synergy and works extremely well together with experience spanning the landscape of the construction industry from cranes to earthmoving equipment. We have over 175 years combined experience. Even though our company is new, we have a cache of knowledge in our industry. Operating as a small company gives our customers the personal attention they deserve, while retaining the attributes of a much larger company with access to the resources of inventory, fleet packages, and financing options. Our business model is based on the old value system that you must take care of the customer first. Being the biggest isn’t as important as continually striving to be the best.”

Vic Gilbert, who also works in sales as a territory manager for the company, pointed out, “as a new McClung-Logan company in the Carolinas, it is very important for us to work as a team to assure our customers that we will provide them with quality equipment, parts and service. We need to quickly and thoroughly respond to customer needs to maintain a confident and lasting working relationship.”

Senior service technician, Paul Stitt added, “you can have the best equipment and prices available and make sales; however, it is the service you provide that will keep your customer returning. My duties have varied as we work to grow a new business here in the Carolinas. I’ve been in the heavy equipment industry for 13 years; first as a crane operator then in the mechanical field, and I really enjoy working on heavy equipment and cranes. There are four generations of crane mechanics/operators in my family, so I have always been around them.

“If you like what you do, you will perform better than if you are just doing it because you have to,” he added. “I am hoping McClung-Logan will continue to grow and be the company I can finish my career with.”

Shawn Brooks, the newest technician with the company, has 16 years mechanical experience with heavy equipment.

“I have experience working on all types of equipment including backhoes, loaders, excavators, scrap yard equipment, compressors, shears, hammers and cranes,” he said. “Even though I’ve only been with this company a short time, I enjoy the people I work with and the work I do. I am looking forward to growing with this company and see good potential here. I love the fact this company has great family values and provides a clean, safe environment which says a lot in today’s workplace.”

Concluded Cockerham, “We are blessed to have excellent people who care about doing things the right way, and we will utilize their experience to train new staff. Our growth plan is simple — grow as we find the right people and the right customers. Good people are the life blood and the heart of all successful businesses.”