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UpRight adds Airco as distributor

Thursday, 27 Aug 2009 ( #425 ) - Panama City, Panama
News Story
UpRight MX19 Micro-Scissor Lift.
A Tanfield Group plc business unit has appointed Airco SA of Panamá City as the authorised distributor of UpRight Powered Access equipment in that country.

"Airco can deliver some new routes to market for UpRight, and we can grow our businesses together," says Alberto Castillo, manager of Airco’s machinery division.

Several months of negotiation preceded the August appointment, which extends UpRight’s global dealer network.

Airco was established in 1966, occupies 5,200 sqm and is among Panamá’s leading providers of construction and industrial machinery representing the New Holland, Wacker Neusen, Manitou and Ausa brands in addition to UpRight. The facilities include a showroom, demonstration area, warehouse, repair shop and offices.

Holding company Tanfield acquired the powered access business of UpRight in 2006. At that time, UpRight was manufacturing its lifts in Dublin, Ireland.

"We transferred all production to our global headquarters, Vigo Centre in Washington", says Dan Jenkins, Tanfield media relations representative.

In a streamlining process in North America except for Panamá, Tanfield has phased out the UpRight identity. "Its people, products and facilities are now all fully integrated into Snorkel International," Jenkins says. Tanfield’s Snorkel business unit has a facility for production of aerial work and vertical mast access platforms in Elwood, Kansas.

"At present, UpRight remains the lead brand in the rest of the world, bar Australia and New Zealand," where, historically, Snorkel also had a strong presence, according to Jenkins.

The integration included a former UpRight spare parts distribution center in Fresno, California that serves now "as our West Coast distribution center for spare parts and aerial lifts", Jenkins notes. "Snorkel is also opening an East Coast distribution centre to reduce shipping costs for our customers on the Atlantic coast."

Jenkins notes that the global aerial lift industry has been hit hard by the recession. "All our major competitors are reporting sales down 60-70% for the first half of 2009. . . . We have faced challenges, and, like all our major competitors, we have resized all our operations in line with current market conditions."

Tanfield reports on its first half financials in September and Jenkins notes positive steps.

"Snorkel has launched a Recon program to capitalise on the growing impetus from rental companies to refurbish the larger, big-ticket boom lifts, rather than invest in new equipment," he says. "We continue to develop some exciting new global products for launch next year" at the American Rental Association trade show on 7-10 February in Orlando, Florida.

Further, in July in North America, "we initiated the Touch program, where Snorkel is contacting every single customer on its books by phone – all 4,000 of them – with the entire team from the vice president down hitting the phones," Jenkins says,

"Now that we have integrated the UpRight products and people into the Snorkel business, we have a unified North American operation with a stronger product portfolio, better sales and better distribution than ever before," he notes. "We firmly believe this is a very strong base from which to grow when the market comes back around for its next upswing in the cycle."

Twelve firms in the US and one in Canada represent the firm’s brands of aerial lift and powered access equipment.

In addition to the Snorkel and UpRight lines, Tanfield manufactures Smith electric vehicles and, through SEV materials handling, offers forklift trucks and other warehousing equipment for sale or hire through a United Kingdom depot network.
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