Komatsu Forklift wyznacza nowy GM Australia

2010-08-08 08:29

Newly appointed general manager of Komatsu Forklift Australia Pty Ltd (KFAP) Joe Hashem relishes a challenge: hence his decision to join the Japanese-owned company and help it increase its marketshare in Australia.  Previously employed by Crown Equipment as GM branch operations, responsible for a $267 million turnover, Hashem made the switch to KFAP, seizing the opportunity to do things "the Komatsu" way. "I’ve always wanted to work for a Japanese company, based on their ethics, business conduct and standards," he tells News. "They are world renowned for these qualities."  KFAP, previously known as Red Australia, was established in March 2009 when parent company Komatsu Limited, Japan took it over from Sumitomo Corporation ( News #404).  "Komatsu Ltd is investing heavily in the Australian business and was looking for someone who could build and grow it quickly, bringing fresh ideas – someone who enjoys a ‘turnaround’ environment – that’s me!" says Hashem.  He is excited by the products’ industrial heritage. "Komatsu is a global player in the industrial market space and the opportunity to work overseas and in other parts of the Group is very appealing."  In particular, Hashem will seek to leverage the Komatsu brand name by working more closely with the Komatsu construction and mining business, a $1.5 billion company in Australia.  Among the biggest challenges facing forklift companies in Australia, says Hashem, are customer retention, pricing and profitability, along with retaining good quality staff, who are easily poached by competitors and associated industries. "Product knowledge and training staff is a major challenge for any company," he says.  "Keeping up to speed with the OEM/factory is always a challenge. The transfer of knowledge across boundaries needs close management and control and it needs to be timely."  Looking ahead, Hashem is focused on the opportunities facing the industry, which he plans to embrace. Drivers such as technology and innovation; service delivery after the sale; and fleet management and asset utilisation are the keys to success. "Fleet management coupled with technology to drive up productivity, safety and operator awareness are critical along with performance reporting and KPI management to help our customers drive costs down and improve their profit line." His personal approach is to spend time with customers, listening to their needs. "I always deliver on what I promise." Hashem enjoys working with ‘go-getters’ and believes success in business is based purely on positive motivation, energy and drive. "And a good plan!" he adds. The industry has changed over the last five years, with competition in the marketplace driving forklift companies to offer more than just a forklift sale. Explains Hashem, "We look to satisfy the entire supply chain, with value-add components. We provide a total warehouse solution, for example, we consult on warehouse design, pallet racking and allied products, forklifts and attachments, operator training and support, after-sales service and parts, fleet management and reporting, warehouse training and management. It’s the total package!" He looks and listens attentively to find the ‘gap’ in a customer’s business.  "We offer solutions to improve their business operations and consult rather than ‘sell’.  Customers look to us for expert advice in material handling equipment." On further consolidation in the Australian industry, Hashem sees definite possibilities although he says KFAP is not at present looking. "The small players within the Australian market are easy targets for the mid- to large-size operators.  Forklift businesses provide a highly portable and adaptable ‘rent roll’ to forklift companies looking for economies of scale and marketshare through acquisition."  The company plans to be a major participant in the Australian industry, a vision underpinned by its branch network which spans the country with 11 branches, 43 equipment depots and 900 qualified technicians, and a general manager focused on success.