Royal America is a leading company in the rental equipment industry with over 30 years of experience. The company manage around 3 500 machines and are established in Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador.
José Ignacio Muñoz, the corporate commercial manager of Royal America, who has been in the company for 23 years, gave Haulotte an interview and talked about the current situation of the market and his vision of the future.
How is the current situation in Chile in terms of MEWPs rental activity?
Chile’s economy has been affected by the social movements of 2019 and Covid, but in general, the activity in the machinery market has not dropped. Our primary customers are around logistics, retail, food, and distribution. Therefore, they are companies that, under the current conditions, have remained in growth and, on the contrary, are favorably impacted. Thanks to this, we have increased our market share, and we currently have several new potential businesses that will allow us to continue growing in the MEWPs line.
The MEWPs market has been growing exponentially in Chile due to the increase in the safety conditions currently required. In the past, people used to climb on a ladder or hang from a tree. Nowadays, the standards make you use the appropriate equipment for each of the functions performed. An accident caused by the use of structure can stop the project and, therefore, decrease the profitability of a business. Our market is becoming similar to the American or European market, where the right tools are used to do a good job. Here we are just starting; there is much potential for the future.
Construction is an engine of our industry and the country’s whole economy; if construction is paralyzed, they start to have negative growth. Mining also plays an essential role in our industry. Like all countries globally, Chile was affected by the pandemic, but nowadays, more houses and buildings are being built than ever before, and the economy has not stopped growing.
The business model usually seen in Chile is the spot rental, three days to make inventory, four days to repair, or a couple of months in a construction site. We see that the spot market is too short for the potential uses that a client could give to the equipment. We are thinking of implementing a new business model allowing customers to have the right tool always available. If the customer does not have the equipment available to change a light bulb or do minor maintenance, they use inappropriate equipment, and accidents are generated. Our goal is that customers always have the equipment available at a reasonable cost to keep them in their facilities.
What is your strategy to increase your activity in the market?
Our most significant market differentiation is that we are a regional company in Chile, Colombia, and Ecuador. And let’s talk more specifically about Chile, which is quite a long country, with more than 5000 kilometers. We provide service from Arica to Punta Arenas, the two extremes of the country, under the same standard of service, and that is what customers want. Customers are currently looking for a partner with a high quality of service that allows them to concentrate on their core business, leaving us responsible for maintaining the operational continuity they need. The key is service. Price is always important in Latin American countries, but in the end it becomes the third or fourth decisive
factor when it comes to making decisions. The most important thing is that when the customer needs a piece of equipment, he can use it, and that is what we have specialized in during our more than 30 years of existence. Today, many companies are dedicated to offering machinery, but they do not have a good service, discouraging customers. For consumers, it is crucial that machinery doesn’t become a problem, that they can forget about it and concentrate on their main activities, without having issues with the machinery that in the end is a tool, it is not part of their core business.
What are the markets trends?
I believe that the market will be more and more demanding. Thanks to the increase in safety regulations, customers will become more aware that they must work safely, leading them to use more elevating platforms in their work. To have an accident in our country generates damage quite challenging to repair in the market because everything is known.
On the other hand, the trend is to look for more environmentally friendly equipment that does not pollute. The ITA (Industrial Truck Association) has projected that between 2025 and 2030, 90% of the equipment used for handling people or materials will be electric. Today we can already see this trend all over the world, in cars and machinery. People are not afraid to switch from a fuel-powered vehicle to an electric vehicle.
How long have you been working with Haulotte?
For almost three years, we have worked with Haulotte. Three years with excellent relations with the Haulotte branch in Chile. We have a relationship of both commercial and operational support, which has allowed us to make an excellent strategic alliance. Day by day, we are growing more. In Haulotte, we have found a leading company that offers us quality, reasonable prices, good conditions, and good service. The truth is that there is only good news for the Royal America – Haulotte relationship. The first machine we bought from Haulotte was in 2017, looking to offer our customers a long-term machine under excellent conditions. It is a piece of equipment that continues to work with excellent results. We currently have around 50 or 60 machines leased permanently, plus spot leases. We chose Haulotte because we like to work with leading brands and the best in the market and, Haulotte is superior in product value, quality, and price. It is the best there is in the market today by far.
How would you describe your relationship with Haulotte?
So far, nothing but virtuous things, only good experiences, and the truth is that, working hand in hand, with coordination and support meetings on both sides. We have been strengthening the relationship, and we believe it will be a long-term and very successful relationship.