Linde Material Handling has appointed Eazi Access as their exclusive distributor for South Africa. The products of this premium brand allow Eazi Access to close some gaps in its existing offerings, bringing in complementary ranges that set Eazi Access on a one-stop shop path.
Linde Material Handling is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of forklift trucks and warehouse equipment, specialising in industrial trucks, fleet management, driver assistance systems and service offerings.
In their press release announcing the appointment, Linde Material Handling emphasised the fact that Eazi Access’s ability to provide innovative, bespoke access and material-handling solutions makes them a perfect strategic fit. Marcus Green, general manager for rental & sales support at Eazi Access, says this talks to the shared value system and high standards both companies share.
“Eazi Access is a premium brand distributor that offers a differentiated service offering to our customers and Linde Material Handling is known worldwide as the ‘Rolls Royce’ of forklifts. Partnering with this brand is an extension of what we’ve done previously with industry leaders like JLG, Magni and JCB,” he explains.
What the new partnership entails
According to Green, the partnership with Linde Material Handling will help Eazi Access reach new heights in four areas:
Their fleet: “We’ll be making over 50 new product offerings available to our customers. Forklifts are only one of Linde Material Handling’s areas of expertise and the warehousing opportunities we can tap into (such as lithium ion and robotic options) can further differentiate our technical abilities.”
Their growth: “Leveraging the forklift market in South Africa gives us the chance to grow our range of rental, sales, training and service options to our customers.”
Their industries: “There are some great synergies we can explore in the light industrial industry, while the safety aspects of these products could open more doors in the heavy industrial and mining industries.”
Their innovation: “As a brand we are always looking at new ways to be at the forefront of technology so that we can provide safer and more customer-focused solutions – something Linde Material Handling’s team strongly believes in.”
“The opportunity for us to extend our product offering in the mining, heavy and light industries strengthen our resolve to be a single point of contact – a one-stop-shop for our customers, across various sectors. This will help us become an even more customer-focused household brand,” Green says.
Linde Material Handling offering
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. “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. The machines include:
• Diesel & LPG counterbalanced trucks: Designed to carry loads between 1.4 t & 18.00 t, these trucks offer safe and reliable material-handling solutions.
• Electric counterbalanced trucks: Designed around the operator, these models offer the highest levels of comfort, excellent versatility and outstanding manoeuvrability to operate both inside and outside to carry out a whole range of tasks.
• Electric reach trucks: A versatile range of reach forklift trucks that provide excellent narrow-aisle handling, ergonomically designed operator facilities, compact robot-welded chassis and great uptime ratios.
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, with Green having worked for Linde Material Handling and Thorington having been a Linde Material Handling customer.
More about Linde’s machines
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.
According to Green, this premium brand offers 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 Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) perspective, in Eazi Access, Linde Material Handling saw an opportunity to leverage their service model, as well as their South African footprint to provide an unparalleled service experience to its customers.
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 Linde Material Handling fits into the strategy of further diversifying 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 has refurbished its National Distribution Centre in Midrand which will service both South Africa and the sub-Saharan market.
The parts stockholding is around 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.