The recent addition of an array of materials handling products from JCB and Linde Material Handling, which complement the existing JLG, Magni and Maeda products, allows Eazi Access to plug some gaps in its product offering, creating a one-stop shop for its customers in the process, writes Munesu Shoko in the August edition of Capital Equipment News (pages 24-27).

One of Africa’s market leaders in the rental, sales, servicing and training of work-at-height and material handling solutions, Eazi Access, has expanded its product footprint with the addition of JCB and Linde Material Handling lines to its stable. The products from the two leading premium brands allow Eazi Access to close some product gaps in its existing JLG, Magni and Maeda offerings. However, the product selection has been carefully considered, bringing in complementary ranges that set Eazi Access on a one-stop shop path.

Effective October 2018, Eazi Access officially became JCB’s authorised industrial equipment distributor in South Africa. Marcus Green, GM – rental and sales support at Eazi Access, tells Capital Equipment News that the JCB agreement entails the distributorship of four product ranges. “From JCB, we are bringing in skid steers: small platforms, the teletruk, rough terrain forklifts and a range of telescopic handlers,” he says.

Green says the skid steer range allows Eazi Access to offer a completely new product for low-level material handling. He believes that the teletruk is a forklift with a difference, giving the company a new tool to conquer new markets such as the waste industry and recycling plants. In 1997, JCB reinvented the forklift, with the result being the JCB teletruk, a forklift truck with a telescopic boom instead of a vertical mast. The unique design reduces overheads, saves time and space and improves site safety, all of which can translate into huge financial savings.

Specifically, the teletruk forklift provides unrestricted forward visibility (there is no vertical mast), speeds up attachment changes, has increased fork carriage rotation and allows single-side lorry loading/unloading due to its superior reach. A JCB teletruk typically comes with alternative fuel options too – LPG, diesel and electric choices are available on the TLT25 and TLT30 – as well as heavy lift option. The 4X4 spec is also available on the TLT30 and TLT35.

Perfect for virtually any rehandling environment from docks to yards, special events, timber forestry, construction sites, farms and builders’ merchants, the JCB rough terrain forklifts are designed for high mobility and productivity in rough terrain areas. Green says the range complements the existing telehandler line in the Eazi Access stable. “A lot of work sometimes is just pick and carry, rather than getting material to height, which is where the rough terrain telehandler thrives and definitely is a cost-effective solution,” says Green.

The JCB telehandler range also opens up a whole new market for Eazi Access – underground mining. The JCB telehandler is now accredited for underground use. It also closes the gap between the JLG and Magni telehandlers. “With the JLG telehandler range ending at 4 t, and the Magni starting at 10 t, the JCB’s 6 t offering allows us to plug the gap between the two existing offerings,” says Green.

Linde Material Handling offering

The Eazi Access-Linde Material Handling distributorship agreement took effect from March 1 this year. Eazi Access has a wide distributorship jurisdiction for the Linde Material Handling range, which initially covers most of the SADC countries, including South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, as well as Uganda.

However, Karl Thorington, chief operating officer at Eazi Access, mentions that the company is negotiating for 21 African countries in total. “Once we prove ourselves over a period of time, the other African countries will become available to us. Realistically, in the next two to three years we are looking at distributing Linde Material Handling across all English-speaking African countries,” he says.

With regards to the Linde Material Handling offering, Thorington explains that Eazi Access will bring in a total of 59 models. The range comprises counterbalance forklifts (whether electrical, diesel or gas), reach trucks, pallet trucks, pallet stackers, very narrow aisle trucks, order pickers and tow trucks. “The new range gives us a footprint into completely new territories. We are now able to offer a complete solution for warehouses and distribution centres,” says Thorington.

Both Green and Thorington are excited about having the Linde Material Handling product in the Eazi Access stable. They also both have a good understanding of the product offering, from an internal and customer perspective. Green had a two-year “sabbatical” from Eazi Access and worked for Linde Material Handling as regional manager. He brings back to Eazi Access a wealth of knowledge on the brand. In his previous job, Thorington was a big end user of the Linde Material Handling product, and also fully understands what it brings to the table.

Linde Material Handling is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forklift trucks and warehouse equipment. In Europe, the company is the market leader with the Linde Material Handling and Fenwick (France) brands. Since 2006, Linde Material Handling has been part of the KION Group. The KION Group is the world’s second largest manufacturer of industrial trucks and one of the leading suppliers of automation solutions for intralogistics.

The Linde Material Handling forklift, for example, is a high-hour application machine. “If you are looking for an 80-hour per month forklift, this is not for you. But if you are going to work 200-300 hours a month, the Linde Material Handling efficiency and availability in such applications makes a big difference. Its versatility also saves customers on the number of units required for the job at hand,” says Green.

To add value to the customer’s business, Eazi Access has also brought in a warehouse specialist into its team, who can help customers with the designs and also understands what the right product is between the racks and the required aisle widths, among other warehouse equipment dynamics.

Why JCB and Linde?

According to Green, the two premium brands offer Eazi Access an opportunity to expand the product offering and add real value to its customers. “It’s an opportunity for us to serve our customers better. Customers are looking for a one-stop shop for all their access and material handling needs. They can now come to a single provider and we make it easy for them by providing that full service offering,” explains Green.

Green says there was a real push in the market from customers asking for Eazi Access to expand the equipment range to include products of this nature. “The feedback we got from the market is that our customers were asking us to serve them on a broader scale. It stems from our service regime, which has been a key strength of our business. Anybody else can provide a machine, but it’s the uptime, ease of transaction and the aftersales service that really matters,” adds Green.

“Service is what we pride ourselves in as a business – how we measure success and failure, as well as customer experience. It’s something that we have been working hard on and we get it right most of the time. Where we don’t get it right we relook, analyse, unpack and improve,” says Thorington.

Thorington adds that from an OEM perspective, in Eazi Access, JCB saw a great partner that could give it a strong foothold into the industrial rental market, considering that the UK manufacturer hasn’t really tapped into this market as best as it could in South Africa. “Linde Material Handling saw an opportunity to leverage our service model, as well as our South African footprint to provide an unparalleled service experience to its customers,” adds Thorington.

Thorington also reveals that, some two years ago Eazi Access recognised the downward trajectory of the local construction market, which has always been the company’s bread and butter. Consequently, the need to diversify was apparent, and JCB and Linde Material Handling fit into that strategy to further diversify the product range to be able to offer integrated solutions to the market.

Green adds that one of the key strategic aims is to gain a strong presence in the heavy sectors like mining. “We have been able to penetrate the mining and heavy industrial sectors, which, in recent years, have offered us an opportunity to diversify our target markets,” he says.

Thorington says a major success driver in the mining market, for example, has been the company’s approach. “We are based on customer sites, where we have integrated ourselves into the business of the customer to be a valued partner, rather than just an equipment supplier,” says Thorington.

From a support point of view, to be able to offer quick turnaround on parts supply for the new and existing brands, Eazi Access is busy refurbishing one of its four warehouses at its Midrand base, which will be turned into a national parts centre. It will service both South Africa and the sub-Saharan market.

The parts stockholding is anywhere between R20-million and R40-million at any given time. According to Thorington, parts stockholding is a key enabler of the Eazi Access business. “It’s a service acumen that we have developed from our rental business. When you have got so many machines out in the field, you have to develop a structure that allows you to better service and maintain them,” concludes Thorington.

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