Vanhemelrijck reflects on 30 years

News Story
- 22 Oct 2015 ( #741 ) - Diest, Belgium
2 min read
Daniel Vanhemelrijck
Daniel Vanhemelrijck
Forklift sales manager Daniel Vanhemelrijck recently marked his 30th anniversary in the industry in Belgium.

His career began accidentally, while working as a salesman for a company selling parts. His customers included Barlow Handling, Hyster's local distributor, and he was asked to join the firm when Barlow Handling opened its branch in the port of Antwerp in 1985.

"One week later, I sold a 13 T truck while I still did not know what a forklift really was," he recalls.

Two years later, the sales manager moved to Clark and took Vanhemelrijck with him.

"I worked as a sales rep for about 10 years, then again I moved to Yale to join a former colleague who became sales manager.

"In 1999, I was headhunted to become sales manager myself for the TCM distributor for Belgium, part of the Lex Group at the time."

In 2002, Vanhemelrijck became European sales manager for Daewoo, later Doosan, a role he held for a dozen years.

Vanhemelrijck joined Kempens Heftruckbedrijf last year and he now works mainly in long-term hire of Linde and Toyota products.

The biggest change he has seen over the years is the rise in electric forklifts, which have increased from about 30% marketshare when he started to more than half of European sales.

"The technology has improved a lot and the performance of electrics is very similar to combustion trucks nowadays," he notes.

The other big change he has noted is a shift from price to "value for money".

"Brands like Linde and Toyota are now in the front seats, and the expected Chinese invasion never occurred," he explains.

For Vanhemelrijck, the most significant improvement is the involvement of the driver in decision-making. "If you want to sell, you have to convince the driver. (Previously), you had to convince the purchasing manager."
Another change has been the general improvement in safety, he says.

Vanhemelrijck is looking to the future, training his son, Kenny, as a salesman "because the materials handling environment is never dull and the customers are all different, you never get used to it".

"Most of the people I know from the business have changed jobs several times, but nearly all stay in this business in one way or another."

Looking back over his career, Vanhemelrijck admits that the business today "is less fun than before because of the (intense) competition".

"When I started in the business, the Japanese brands had just arrived so you had only five or six big brands; nowadays, you have to up to 45!"
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Previously about:
TCM adds corrosion protection News Story - 4 Feb 2016 - Thame, United Kingdom - 1 min read
TCM launches new turbo diesel engine News Story - 21 Jan 2016 - Skelmersdale, United Kingdom - 1 min read
TCM launches double decker forklift News Story - 15 Oct 2015 - Meerbusch, Germany - 1 min read
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