Lift, Stack and GrowThu, 09/01/2016 - 22:13
Q: How did Colombus McKinnon evolve to serve the Mexican automotive industry?
A: We are one of the few companies whose product portfolio is broad enough to cover manual, electric chain and electric wire rope hoists, pulley slings and rigging of all kinds to support heavy weights. One of our products has even been used to lift and maneuver the Space Shuttle. This specific product stands out because its fiber does not damage the unit being maneuvered. In Mexico we began as Endor, founded by a Swiss citizen who migrated and began the company in 1967. Columbus McKinnon was operating in the US at the time and, having identified Endor as the only provider of that specific product in the country, acquired 40 percent of the company’s shares and merged the two companies.
On top of our lifting solutions used in several industries, we offer dynamic services under the name Unified, which are modular aluminum and steel workstations. These are generally used by automotive companies to position tools managing them at almost zero gravity. Unified embodies a dynamic stacking model. This allows automotive companies to assemble and dismantle the equipment in different manufacturing areas, creating a solution that can be significantly customized to each company’s needs.
Q: How have you developed appropriate safety awareness in your workforce?
A: Our concept of safety by choice begins at our university for machinery, which opened a Mexican campus in 2014. This training is supplemented by road shows wherein we try and make our employees aware of the importance of health and safety from personal heavy lifting courses to the safe use of our heavy-duty equipment. Columbus McKinnon promotes a Health and Safety Day through several chambers and associations carried through to our operations. When a client tells us they have a specific problem with safety, we visit their facilities and train their personnel on topics such as attaching pulleys correctly to their load and properly connecting hoists.
Q: How can you ensure the maintenance quality of your equipment at client facilities?
A: Of our 67 distributors, 17 are certified service centers that can guarantee all our clients receive continuous customer service and equipment maintenance. Our service centers receive annual audits and can offer advice regarding piece renewal or complete replacement when necessary. Our maintenance is carefully documented and stamped on our clients’ equipment to ensure a record of each piece’s last check. To ratify this, we certify our technicians with medals from bronze to platinum regarding which pieces of equipment they can service from general products to crane maintenance.
Q: What is Columbus McKinnon’s primary strategy to reach new clients?
A: We work with marketing intelligence garnered from INEGI's databases to contact manufacturing companies. This gives us access to more than 140,000 Mexican contacts so we can visit these companies' facilities or meet them at events. Our marketing strategy is modern and we have benefitted from having a presence both on Twitter and Facebook among other mediums, as well as our own website. Our website’s chat is open 18 hours a day with an online operator who helps our clients’ with any problems or doubts.
Q: How have the materials you manage evolved in terms of technology to offer competitive advantages over alternative products?
A: Columbus McKinnon has been investing for many years in the internal mechanical security of its equipment. We just joined forces with Magnetek, which provides controls and technological intelligence to approximately 80 percent of the companies in our specialty. Our investment in this company should allow us to modernize our technology, updating our products in terms of connectivity and user friendliness. To balance mechanical excellence with the integration of Industry 4.0 in our equipment, Magnetek was the next step for Columbus McKinnon to take to become more sophisticated in our operations.