Vantage Establishes Sweeping Sales, Service Improvements

Wed January 12, 2005 - Northeast Edition

It’s been said that first impressions are the ones that last. The people of Vantage Equipment in Upstate New York believe this and have been working hard to ensure that contractors in Upstate New York have both a good and lasting impression of their young company.

Back in October 2004, Construction Equipment Guide reported that Vantage Equipment LLC purchased the Upstate New York operations of LB Smith. With locations in Albany, Syracuse and Buffalo (and plans for another improved facility in western New York), Vantage, a new company created specifically for this deal, has been moving full steam ahead with significant sales, rentals and service improvements under the leadership of President and Principal Owner John Hession and Vice President of Sales Todd Kaley.

Prior to taking the reins at Vantage, Hession worked for 18 years with former Upstate New York Cat dealer Syracuse Supply, serving as both its general manager and president. To Vantage, Kaley brought with him 20 years of experience in equipment distribution, working for both the Komatsu dealership in upstate New York and recently with Syracuse Supply. Kaley has an extensive background not only in sales and distribution of heavy construction equipment, but he also was instrumental in establishing the Panther Rental stores, which were the Caterpillar rental stores for Syracuse Supply.

Establishing Relationships

Hession and Kaley have been very busy during the past four months personally talking with both new and old customers.

“Todd and I are visiting everybody — customers we’ve had relationships with in the past and ones that were unique to LB Smith,” Hession said. “We’re listening to them so that we can identify exactly what their needs and concerns are. Hopefully, we can forge an even stronger relationship with them as Vantage Equipment.

“Even with many years of experience with construction equipment in New York State, there’s always something new to learn from talking with customers.”

Increasing Inventory

To address these needs, Vantage Equipment is planning a substantial increase in inventory of both rental fleet and equipment for sale. Already, the company’s yards have more iron available than in recent years. Recent Volvo products, such as the five models of mini-excavators, skid steers and tractor loader backhoes, have begun arriving as has Volvo’s best selling products, including its loaders and its popular articulated truck.

Bomag equipment also is making its way to Vantage’s Buffalo and Syracuse locations, and plans to bring more Gradall equipment to all three facilities also is in the works.

Additionally, Vantage is modernizing its rental fleet, with late model and new machines being added weekly.

“Todd and I have lived in Upstate New York through many construction seasons and we understand how the New York contractor does business. We understand the shortness of the season and how important accessibility to inventory is when you need it,” Hession said.

Selling the Virtues of Volvo

Hession, Kaley and their team are poised to tout the features and benefits of their company’s product offering, particularly Volvo equipment.

“As we all know prices of fuel have increased dramatically, which has had a significant impact on the contractor,” said Hession. “The Volvo engine really is providing a great benefit to contractors because the low rpm high torque engines in all Volvo equipment can produce a savings of as much as 30 percent in fuel consumption. In the current climate this has created some tremendous demand for Volvo and Vantage Equipment. Certainly, this same advantage carries over to the Volvo truck, which has always been noted as the best truck on the market. Not only is it faster, but it uses less fuel.”

Improving Service

An extensive inventory filled with good products is one thing, and service of that iron is another; but both must go hand in hand. Vantage is aware of this and Kaley discussed his company’s renewed commitment to quality of service, which, he explained, will be driven from top to bottom within the organization.

“We’re sending service people out for expanded and continued training for their various product lines; everyone in the operation is really tuned into a strong focus on product support.” he said. “If there’s one thing that you learn from working for a Caterpillar distributor for more than 15 years is that product support is everything. Today at Vantage Equipment — and this wasn’t always the case — a customer can come in and find the owner of the operation at the parts counter or service counter. In effect, this takes out all those layers of bureaucracy and middle management. Customer contact and communication will be directly with the upper levels of management here so that the needs of the customers are always attended to.”

Kaley added that Vantage also has committed to increasing its sales and service staff and will be looking for good personnel to join the Vantage team.

A Pledge to Customers

Hession succinctly summed up all that he and all Vantage employees will do to help ensure that customer satisfaction always comes first.

“We need to — and will — have the machines in place that our customers are looking for,” he said. “We’ll have the right people in place who can address the needs of those customers, the right parts in place to maximize machine uptime. As we pull all of these packages together, the experience of doing business with Vantage Equipment will be a very positive one.”

For more information, call 315/437-2611.