SDLG Finds Footing With New Business Model

When a new company is ready to unroll a new line of products, how can it hope to stand out amidst a sea of competition?

📅   Thu August 27, 2015 - National Edition
CEG


An SDLG LG959 with pole attachment moves lumber for a materials processing plant.
An SDLG LG959 with pole attachment moves lumber for a materials processing plant.

The construction equipment industry can sometimes seem like a crowded market. There’s plenty of brands to choose from, manufactured by top-notch companies from across the globe. So when a new company is ready to unroll a new line of products, how can it hope to stand out amidst a sea of competition?

The answer for SDLG: A unique business model that seeks to provide wheel loaders to a select group of customers that might not have had their needs met by other manufacturers. This group includes those that don’t need or can’t afford the pricey features of premium machines, and customers that won’t typically run their wheel loaders 24/7. The focus is on providing a well-made yet basic wheel loader backed by a solid warranty and expert dealer support.

Al Quinn, director of SDLG in North America, said the brand’s business model was designed with North American customers in mind.

“When we looked at the wheel loader market in North America, we saw a lot of competition and knew that we needed to offer something different, disruptive even,” he explained. “We saw that there was a type of customer being underserved, such as those that needed solid, but basic wheel loaders or an alternative to used machines, and that’s where we focused our efforts. We even introduced flat pricing to make the entire process easier for them.”

Another strategy in SDLG’s business model has been to only partner with dealerships that have proven themselves with expertise and longevity. It’s those dealers that know their customers best and can provide ideal solutions based on their needs in each region. Also, these dealerships have the most capability to provide superior, ongoing service and support efforts.

“There are two keys to success for SDLG in North America,” Quinn explained. “The first is to have a great wheel loader that’s backed by great service and support. The second is to have a dealer network that really knows which customers the machines are suited for and can then provide them with quality support for years to come.”

The strategy has been a benefit for these dealers, giving them another brand in their product offerings to serve the types of customers that SDLG has focused on. In just two years, the SDLG dealer network has grown from less than 20 locations to nearly 50.

Todd Shephard, sales manager for Rudd Equipment’s Indianapolis branch, echoes the notion that the SDLG range of wheel loaders has given his customers an attractive alternative to higher-priced, premium machines.

“We have customers in several industries that will find SDLG wheel loaders ideal for their needs, including municipalities, forestry and general construction,” he said. “For customers that don’t need the features of higher-priced machines, or have applications that include idle time, SDLG is a great fit.”

Another part of SDLG’s strategy has been a nimble, quick responsiveness to the North American market. For example, attendees of the Sunbelt Ag Expo in Georgia told the company they needed a wheel loader with a 3.0 yd3 bucket capacity—one year later SDLG returned to the trade show with just such a model, specifically created for North America. Another request had the company add a shake function for certain types of material handling, which was met in mere months.

“For SDLG to be a major player in North America, we had to come to the market with a different kind of business model and a focus on a different type of customer,” Quinn explained. “With great products, great support and great dealerships now under our belt, we’re well on our way.”