What are your company's activities today
on the Canadian market?
Cisolift is located in Drummondville – a business incubator situated halfway between Quebec City and Montreal. We specialize in the purchase, sale, distribution and repair of platforms and aerial work platforms, telescopic handlers and trailers.
Our geographical distribution extends throughout the province of Quebec with a progressive development of the network in Ontario. These 2 provinces, the most populated and economically active, represent 60% of the purchase/sale of elevating machines in Canada.
Do you have a particular positioning?
"From the beginning, we have developed on niche markets."
We distribute highly specialized products, in particular with Bil Jax by Haulotte, towable boom lifts, and lightweight self-propelled boom lifts, acquired in 2005 by the Haulotte group. We have therefore been a Haulotte distributor for Canada for many years, with about forty models in our portfolio.
Cisolift is also recognized as one of the best preparers and repairers of lifting equipment in Quebec, with 3 itinerant mechanics; plus, a workshop here in Drummondville with 5 permanent mechanics. This importance given to after-sales service and equipment follow-up is also a value that makes Haulotte a privileged partner.
What do you think are the specificities of this market?
Canada is a growing market, we build a lot, and more and more high up. The potential of the market for lifting machines is therefore currently very strong, particularly in the market for aerial work platforms over 80 feet (23 meters).
Secondly, it is not exclusively a market governed by professional rental companies. We make nearly 60% of our sales to end users (construction, plumbing, electricity…) and 40% to rental companies.
Finally, Canada and Quebec in particular are well ahead in terms of ecology and respect for the environment. Major customers such as the state and provincial governments invest heavily in electrical infrastructure. Their specifications increasingly require the use of non-polluting materials.
Must seasonality also be important in Canada?
"Seasonality is very strong, although it tends to fade."
In January or February when the temperature drops to -30°C the activity runs at a slower pace. But our machines are more and more equipped with heating. All Haulotte machines are equipped with a Cold Weather Kit. And in the summer, from July 15 to 30, we have in Canada what we call “the construction holidays”.
We therefore have, in the spring, strong sales of excavation and earthmoving equipment; then from August and in the autumn, strong sales of lifting equipment. Our activity is therefore very concentrated in the second half of the year.
Has Canada recently undergone significant changes in terms of safety standards?
Indeed, in the first half of 2019, Canada adopted new CSA (Canadian Standards Association) safety standards that finally bring us closer to European safety standards.
It must be said that Canada and North American markets in general have until now been known for their great freedom in terms of security. To simplify, we have always had very robust but rather rudimentary machines in terms of comfort and safety, especially in the elevation sector.
We were really light years away from European standards, but it is changing very quickly. These new standards, which concern for example the load sensors that equip all lifting equipment, will affect all North American markets. It will take a few more years for this to be implemented.