Just a year on from signing an exclusive UK distribution deal with Yale, Briggs Equipment has fought its way into the ‘Premier League’ of the materials handling industry.
The Staffordshire-based company has managed to exceed all its initial targets, including the retention of all its existing customers whilst making significant inroads into new markets.
According to Briggs Chief Executive, Richard Close, the strong strategic partnership has given the company access to a much wider range of world-class products but its success in converting 100% of its customers to Yale reflects something more fundamental.
"The fact that we have not lost a single customer proves something to us, our customers are loyal to Briggs rather than a brand of truck," he explained.
"This is because we entwine our operations with those of our customers. When they feel pain, we feel pain."
Richard went on to say that in Yale, Briggs has found a partner that shares the same philosophy and the same goal of becoming leaders in the materials handling industry.
Frank Ulbricht, VP NMHG Sales EMEA, shares his enthusiasm for the partnership.
"As well as increasing market share, we have also seen a dramatic increase in brand recognition and the relationship with Briggs is working particularly well at a strategic level," he said.
"We have been particularly impressed by Briggs’ professionalism, interesting customer base and its well-organised rental fleet. We are now looking at targeting more major accounts together with national and international companies, particularly in the warehouse and logistics sectors," he added.
Meanwhile Richard believes that there are challenges ahead, but challenges resulting from success.
"The sheer size of the Yale product range, and the fact that much of it is developed and manufactured to bespoke specifications is something that is at the heart of our philosophy.
"Thanks to Yale’s expertise in developing special engineering options, we can now provide bespoke products that meet the individual needs of each and every customer. The competition is really sitting up and taking notice of the Briggs/Yale relationship now. We see this as being very positive, as we are serious about positioning Briggs and Yale, two great names in materials handling at the top of the premier league".
"Yale’s parent company NACCO Materials Handling had a turnover of 1.8 billion US$ in 2010 – enabling it to invest heavily in research and development – whilst our own parent company, Sammons Enterprises Inc, is privately owned with a net worth of almost $4billion. As a result we can react quickly to the changing needs in the market rather than the demands of shareholders."
The next 12 months also looks set to be difficult economically but Richard is confident that this presents even more opportunities for the Briggs/Yale partnership.
"We have a unique opportunity to differentiate ourselves in the market. Our main advantage is the combination of the world-class product development and manufacturing technology offered by Yale and the world-class service offered by Briggs’ people, who are a fantastic team of individuals," he added.