The MHEDA Journal wrote a great article last July about the award-winning successes of distributors in 2009, a year that was dismal for much of the material handling industry. While employees were being let go and sales were a struggle, the year wasn’t all bad. Tweaks to strategies and a concentration on customer service made all the difference.
Each of the distributors listed in the article were named to at least one manufacturer’s list of 2009?s Top Dealers. What were their secrets to come out successful in a down a year? Here is how MH Equipment did it.
“I may be unusual in that I look back at 2009 with more affection than any other year I’ve owned MH Equipment Company besides my first year. Two of our six divisions earned Dealer of Distinction awards, which is partially a testament to how well we’ve performed in those regions. Our market share has always been strong in Illinois and Iowa. What made this year a little different for us was the company’s overall financial performance. Our revenue was down 29 percent in 2009, but we still found a way to be reasonably profitable. I’m pretty proud of that.
“We really focus on fleet management. We tell the customer that we will take care of their entire fleet for X number of years for a fixed number of dollars. By having a lot of those contracts in place, it helps us communicate with and remain partners with the customers. They have an agreement in place already so we know they’re not going to leave us. They may want to adjust the terms, and that’s okay, but the fleet management accounts keep the long-term relationships intact.
“We teamed up with Hyster’s national accounts team to take advantage of some great opportunities in our territory to have some large transactions. Agriculture, which makes up a huge portion of the economy in the states where we earned awards, lagged the general economy a bit, so we had some success focusing on that segment of the marketplace. There are three large companies in particular with whom we’ve developed relationships and all of them made purchases last year. That’s a culmination of years of being partners and working together. Those kind of relationships aren’t created overnight.
“The thing that makes MH Equipment successful is the leadership team. We reorganized our structure last year to streamline our operations. We put one of the owners, Darrell Randall, in charge of our marketing, and another owner, Fred Metzger, in charge of all unit sales for the company. Having top-level executives in those roles helped us be more strategic and efficient with our limited resources.”
John Wieland, CEO
MH Equipment Company (Mossville, IL)
Any time a driver’s attention is drawn away from driving safe and defensively can be labeled as distracted driving. The most frequent form of distraction is cell phone use and texting.
Researchers found that drivers on cell phones drive more slowly, brake more slowly and were 4-5 times more likely to crash.
Earlier this month, MH Equipment employees agreed to obey state safety laws while driving and furthermore agreed to steer clear of any distractions while driving (surfing the internet, texting, adjusting Ipods, etc.). This policy ensures the safety and well being of MH employees and the general public.
Some distracted driving facts:
For more statistics and research done on distracted driving, click here.
Msnbc.com posted a great article this morning titled “Distracted driving: ‘Deadly epidemic’ or storm in a tea cup?” The article discuss the dangers of distractions, and how some vehicle systems are making drivers lazy and others are too complicated to use while driving.
How do you keep yourself free from distractions while on the road? Does your vehicle have systems that help keep you safe or do they leave you vulnerable to distractions?
Listen to people tell their heart-wrenching stories about how they have been affected by distracted driving on ‘faces of distracted driving’ at distraction.gov, the official US Government website for distracted driving.
The Waterloo branch was established as Iowa Machinery in 1970. In 1999 Iowa Machinery moved to its current location. (Pictured) In 2000 Iowa Machinery was acquired by MH Equipment.
The Waterloo branch currently has 22 employees, covering 27 counties in Iowa. We have 12 technicians, 3 shop, 7 road and 2 resident technicians which cover our Fort Dodge territory.
Our largest customer in Waterloo would be John Deere, which has 5 locations in Waterloo. About 35% to 40% of our business comes from John Deere. We continue to grow new opportunities within the plants with their other allied equipment which includes, personnel carriers, semi tractors, trailers, Ag tractors, tuggers and automated guided vehicles as well as all of the equipment at the Engine plant who chose to stay with MH Equipment.
Areas of interest in Waterloo are the 5 Sullivan Brothers Museum, which was founded in honor of the five brothers that all enlisted in Navy during World War II and gave their lives during the war. We are host to the Waterloo Bucks baseball team, which is part of the Northwoods League, which is comprised of top college prospects in North America, and the Waterloo Black Hawks USHL hockey team. The University of Northern Iowa Panthers also find their home in nearby Cedar Falls.
Melissa Lennie (wife of Ben Lennie) provides the best treats. But we can not forget Cale Miller’s cream cheese pumpkin pie, it is awesome.
The funniest nickname goes to Brian Stroh his nickname is “Nozzle”. He is a volunteer fireman for the LaPorte City Fire Department and is also a clown, where he performs at birthday parties and parades.
John Lowe and his wife Angela have the most unique pet, which is a Pot Belly Pig.
Paul Quist is a numismatist, which is a person who collects coins. When another employee at the branch needs change from one of the machines, Paul is sure to check every coin before giving change.
We have great team in Waterloo working together for a common goal of being successful in all that we do!!
Last Tuesday, we wrote about our company’s safety milestone for all 27 branches. Today, we have reached 110 and counting days of being injury free. Every day at MH Equipment, we’re reminded to be Safe in the Moment, and that is how we continue to achieve our goal as our safe days grow.
How do you or your company stay Safe in the Moment? Do you have posters or safety slogans around the office and shop reminding you or employees to be safe? Do you reinforce safe days?
Tell us about your goals, milestones or safety practices by commenting on this post. We’d love to hear from you.
Last Sunday was the first day of Spring. While the weather may not feel like spring- there is no denying that warmer weather is right around the corner. With warmer weather brings outdoor activities. The bicycles beckon, baseball games are in full swing and shoppers push carts laden with mulch and potting soil, rakes and trowels and flats of brightly colored flowers. Spring is here and those winter days of lounging on the sofa with a soda in one hand and the TV remote in the other, are over.
Spring is the season for tuning up your lawn mower and other tools that may have grown creaky from disuse during winter. Just like you shouldn’t rev up the engine in your car from 0 to 90 mph (because of engine damage)- you shouldn’t do the same to your body (which is an even more complex machine).
Here’s how to prevent strains and sprains at home or work.
Heart Strain: Doctors are most concerned with the weekend warriors. These people don’t do anything all week due to lifestyle and then on the weekend they work or excercise to the extreme in order to make up for lost time. They are at risk for muscle strain and/or heart attack.
These safety tips may seem like common sense- but we could always use little reminders to help us to be Safe in the Moment. Don’t take safety or your health for granted. A simple should strain or sprain could mean time off work.
Do you have any tips for easing into spring activities?
After a couple weeks of building MH JCB’s online presence through Facebook and Twitter, we realized that we haven’t given you the necessary background information in order to extend your hand in friendship (or your mouse to the “like” or “follow” button). So, on our usual ‘Branch Highlight Wednesday’ we’re instead highlighting an important part of of the MH Equipment team: MH JCB.
In 1952, MH Equipment started in Peoria, Illinois as one of the smallest forklift dealerships in the United States. After decades of successful growth in the material handling industry, we decided we could deliver our unique brand of People, Passion, Purpose to the construction equipment industry. So, in 2004, we took on the full line of JCB constuction equipment. If you’re looking to purchase or rent a backhoe loader, compacter, excavator, skid steer, forklift or parts and service- MH JCB has got it. JCB construction equipment branches are located in Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati and Charleston.
Now that you’re acquainted with MH JCB,”like” them on Facebook and “follow” them on Twitter to stay current on construction industry trends and the JCB Construction Company. For a little fun, check out the JCB Dancing Diggers video, one of our favorites.
Visit the MH JCB website to find out more about the construction equipment and services they/we offer.
The end of today marks the 103 day (and counting!) of being injury and accident free, beating our previous company record of 100 days. Each MH Equipment employee is proof that being Safe in the Moment can eliminate injuries.
If we can be safe for 100 days- we can be safe for another 100 and eventually a whole year. This goal is not out of reach, and we can acheive by being Safe in the Moment.
Also, a congratulations is in order for our Lexington branch for reaching one year injury free. We now have 20 branches that have gone one year or longer without any injuries.
Continue to read our safety posts every Thursday to help you and yours be Safe in the Moment. By practicing and encouraging safety, you too can acheive safety milestones.
OSHA estimates that 1 million forklifts are used in workplaces across the United States. Each year, nearly 100 workers are killed and another 20,000 are seriously injured in forklift related incidents. The number one deadly danger is forklift turnovers. Almost one out of every four fatalities occurs when a forklift tips over. Forklifts can easily tip if they are overloaded, if the load is not well balances, or it they travel with the forks too high.
There are many news stories containing details about forklift accidents, yet many don’t make the news. Forklift accidents don’t just occur at the workplace- they can happen anytime, anywhere. Just this past Sunday, a 5 year old girl was killed while she and 5 other children were riding a forklift when the road gave way and the forklift rolled.
Operator training isn’t the only solution to preventing forklift accidents. Barrett C. Miller at safety-engineer.com wrote a great forklift safety article about how 25% of accidents are not caused by the operator, but by controllable environmental factors. In order to eliminate hazards and design a safe operating environment, we need to understand the real cause of forklift accidents.
Here are a few tips to preventing forklift accidents:
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The Ottumwa Branch was established in 1989 under a contract to service John Deere. MH Equipment acquired the facility in 2000. The employees work out of a 6800 square foot building focusing on servicing Cargill and John Deere. The Ottumwa business climate is a lot different than the other MH branches. The southeast Iowa business community is a very tight knit group that works with each other to serve the needs of southeast Iowa.
The Ottumwa Branch is located on the Des Moines River. During 1993 and 2008, the river rose to flood stage threatening the facility, but both times they narrowly escaped. With amazing effort, the community banded together in time of crisis to help each other out.
A little piece of trivia about Ottumwa is that according to the hit TV show MASH, Radar O’Reilly was from Ottumwa, Iowa. Venders from all over the United States often ask the employees at the branch about that. Actually, the actor was not from Ottumwa, the show just portrayed Radar to be a farm boy from Iowa.
The Ottumwa Branch has nine employees including six technicians. The branch works well together. At the end of each day the employees do what is needed to accomplish what needs to be done. Ottumwa Branch has a large rental fleet and territory size with upward of forty to fifty pieces out at a time. The Ottumwa Branch ran a market share on truck sales of over 90% this year. Way to go Ottumwa!
“More customers are looking to get out of maintaining equipment — the maintenance side of the business — and focus on their core-building equipment,” said Rick Stearns, who serves as the Davenport branch manager.
The company has a solid client base that includes big names like Deere, Hon and Monsanto.
That keeps MH Equipment looking for new ways to grow its business. This year is off to a great start. Since maintenance makes up nearly half its business, the company is moving ahead by fine-tuning its focus.
“Complacency in our industry just won’t work,” said General Marketing Manager Dannelle Dahlhauser. “We need to continue to grow within a changing business environment.”
While other manufacturers downsize and do more with less, MH Equipment continues to grow. Despite a sales dip during 2009, it expects a 15% staffing increase in Davenport.
That means more hands-on jobs for mechanics and technicians, who service Hyster equipment and other brands both in-house and on location. With on-the-job training, it turns into a good opportunity for qualified job seekers. One that also helps clients.
“We really try to go out there and determine what their needs are,” Dahlhauser said. “Really help them be successful with their fleet and with their business as well.”
A business that naturally has its ups-and-downs with forklifts is mostly climbing these days.
“Our connection with the people makes us more than a company to work for,” said Stearns. “It’s more like a family.”
A family with a future in forklifts.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates conservatively that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities. If you are experiencing a sleep disorder, webmd.com offers a great sleep disorder guide.
Congratulations to everyone in our Dayton branch for reaching 4 years injury free and proving that being Safe in the Moment leads to zero injuries.
Thank you, to everyone in Dayton, for being a good example and for being a great ambassador of safety to our customers!
Economic consequences of sleep loss cost the country an estimated $15 billion, annually, due to increased health care costs, automobile accidents, workplace injuries and decreased job performance.
Driving drowsy can be as dangerous as drunk driving. An estimated 100,000 crashes are caused each year by drowsy drivers. Sleep deprivation is equal to and in some cases greater than alcohol and its’ effects on driving ability. Everyone knows that it’s a poor choice to drink and drive, we we rarely are conscious of driving while sleep deprived. Lack of sleep is also a safety hazard while on the job. Impaired judgment and slower reaction time can lead to an injury. A few weeks ago, we blogged about how staying healthy helps prevent injuries. Part of being healthy is getting enough sleep.
Lack of sleep can cause:
Enough sleep is essentional to:
Sleep experts offer some recommendations for how to maximize your ability to have a deep, restful sleep.
Some more facts and statistics about driving drowsy are available, here.
Decatur: The Soybean Capital of the World.
The Decatur Branch was established in September of 1996 with one full time technician. Today the branch has grown to 5 full time Technicians, a Parts Clerk, a Service Manager/Rental Coordinator, 2 Aftermarket Salesmen and one Unit Salesman. The Decatur Branch handles all service equipment needs, dock and battery & charger repairs, rentals and aftermarket sales as well as new equipment.
Decatur, IL is a small town with a big history. It was founded in 1823 and was named after The War of 1812 naval hero Stephen Decatur, Jr. The city is noted as being called “The Soybean Capital of the World”. President Abraham Lincoln was the most notable resident who settled with his family west of town in 1830. Decatur hosts the largest street festival in the state of Illinois. Every year over 150,000 people come to the celebration to enjoy live bands, vendors and fun activities for the whole family. The Decatur branch donates rental units for use at the festival as well.
Decatur was the original home of the Chicago Bears from 1919 to 1920. The football team was then known as the Decatur Staleys and played at Staley Field. An area of interest close by is the Macon County Speedway which opened in 1946. It is now owned by Bob Sargent, NASCAR drivers Ken Schrader, Kenny Wallace and Tony Stewart.
The Decatur branch has sponsored the Champaign Dream Team which is a youth baseball team. They truly enjoy their sports! The branch enjoys NASCAR racing, cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals, and watching the Illini football and basketball teams.
Here are a few interesting tidbits about the branch employees. Jerry Lutz brings in the best treats including a taco dip and Christmas treats. The “Go to Geek” at the branch would be Tom Owen. Shaun Lyon was voted most likely to send to the reality TV show “Survivor” because he has a short fuse and is up for any challenge thrown at him. Ron Stedman achieved the title “Best Sense of Humor” because he always makes conversation by making jokes or remarks to make the day more enjoyable.
Service Manager, Michelle Hamilton does a great job keeping the branch running smoothly. Thanks Decatur!
When we first started blogging, we wrote about the standards we hold when working with customers, and the value of exceptional customer service. The words we live by have shaped our business and the relationships we hold with customers, each and every day.
The following is a testimonial from our website:
“We have been customers of MH Equipment for all most 10 yrs. The last week explains why. In the last week, the Decatur office has helped us keep our 5 trucks running after several unexpected breakdowns. Michele relayed I was experiencing a problem to MH Equipment technician Shawn. Shawn called me back and talked me through enough diagnosing to get the truck running again. Shawn followed up with me later in the day to confirm that the truck was still running. I had PM’s scheduled for other trucks when a problem developed with one of those trucks. I called Shawn because the office was closed. He relayed the message to Michele who inturn made sure the needed parts were on the truck coming to do the PM’s. Craig has also helped me locate parts from old outdated part #’s and has had them in my warehouse the next day. You should be extremely proud of your staff in Decatur. They are doing a great job. In this day and age of poor or no customer service, MH in Decatur is a bright spot that other companies wish they could match. ”
Farmer City, IL
MH Equipment has provided excellent customer service and top quality products for over 50 years. Throughout those years, we have built close relationships with many of our customers across all of our locations. We would love to hear about your relationship with MH Equipment and our products and services we offer. Please share your story by filling out the customer survey on our website.