Haulotte Australia has blown out 20 candles. From humble beginnings to now, the subsidiary is very proud of the path taken so far and will strengthen its customer relationships. Interview with Alexandre Saubot, Executive Director of Haulotte; and Damien Gautier, Managing Director for Asia, Pacific and the Middle East.
What does the 20th anniversary mean for the business?
The 20th anniversary is a proof of our commitment. Australia is one of the top 10 largest markets in our industry, it’s such a small country with such a big market. I think it is due to the high level of regulations and the importance of safety at work. These standards are probably higher in Australia than anywhere in the world. It took us a while to understand this market because it is very different from the one in Europe, so the beginning of our journey was challenging. But this 20th anniversary is a very happy one because it shows we reached our goals in terms of our position in the market.
What made you choose Australia and what were the challenges
you faced when you first arrived?
The Australian market is very demanding, so you must really understand the consumer’s expectations in terms of products and services. It took us a while to get it right, but we finally did. And we can see the difference now. We understood the needs and requirements of our consumers and involved them in product development. In the last 5 to 10 years we were able to convert those ideas into actual products. Our customers have noticed and feel very pleased; this has real value for them. For instance, many consumers today anticipate a big shift from diesel to electric in terms of machinery, and we are there to support them to face this challenge.
What is the main value that consumers look for in terms of
service and how does Haulotte respond to this need?
I think consumers expect to have constant support. We work with rental customers and they use our machines for about 7 to 10 years. Meaning that when they purchase equipment, they work with us for 10 years. We are not here just to sell machines, but to offer support and assistance in the long term (for example, by helping with technical issues or providing missing parts for the machinery). To me the 20th anniversary is a sign of our long-term commitment to the market. It shows we’re there for the good times as well as for the bad times, for the problems. This is a great value for our customer. As they used to say: « A machine with no support, has its value divided by two ». Regardless of the price you pay at the beginning, without support, you’ll eventually lose at least half of the value.
In the future, what do you think the next 20 years
will bring to the Australian market?
Australia is already a mature market, and as a mature market, there will be cycles. Today we are currently in a strong phase: replacement of equipment and growth, but it will slow down. It will happen in maybe one or two years. We knew that we had to go through these phases, so for us it’s just natural. I think the priority is to consolidate the progress that we’ve made. Stabilize the business and strengthen the after sales support, because that’s really the key point in this market. Australian customers are very demanding as well, due to the fact they are lucky enough to have all the well-established manufacturers in the country. This will be our top priority, it will be a period of consolidation, product improvement and market shaping.