Tag Archive for 'Construction Equipment Dealers'

LiuGong North America Continues to Expand Dealer Network in U.S.

LiuGong North America has appointed five new construction equipment dealers in the U.S. recently, expanding their ever-growing dealer network. These dealerships provide the LiuGong and Dressta brands to areas of the country that previously did not have the opportunity to put them to the test.

Malvese Equipment Company, Inc., Long Island’s oldest distributor of power equipment, now carries the LiuGong and Dressta brands. Malvese provides sales, service and parts from their locations in Hicksville and Riverhead New York.

Mechanical & Irrigation Solutions (MIS), of Yuba City, Calif., was founded in 2008 by Jas Thiara. MIS offers LiuGong machines throughout Northern California from their locations in Olivehurst, Sacramento, Redding, Chico, Yuba City, Marysville and the surrounding communities.

JPS Equipment Rental provides heavy equipment rental, now including LiuGong and Dressta machines, from their locations in Bossier City, West Monroe, Alexandria, and Gonzales in Louisiana, as well as their El Dorado, Ark., store.

Big Red, Inc., now offers LiuGong and Dressta construction equipment from their locations in Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. They also offer the LiuGong forklift and material handling line to their customers.

Rifle Equipment, LLC, of Rifle, Colo., has served the area since 2003.  The city is located roughly halfway between Aspen and Grand Junction. The dealership has represented both the LiuGong and Dressta brands since October of 2019.

About LiuGong North AmericaLiuGong Construction Machinery North America, LLC, a subsidiary of Guangxi LiuGong Machinery, is headquartered in Katy, Texas.  For more than 60 years, LiuGong has been manufacturing machinery for the global construction equipment and material handling markets.  LiuGong’s brands can trace their lineages back over 100 years in the United States.  

For more information, go to www.liugongna.com/partnerprogram.

AEM Discusses 5 Ways Leaders Can Motivate and Inspire Remote Teams

By Judy Gaus, AEM Vice President of Human Resources and Operations

The sudden onset of remote work has impacted companies and organizations across the United States and around the world.

It happened almost overnight. The COVID-19 pandemic led business offices to close their doors and employees to find a way to conduct their work from home. We all went from congregating in meeting spaces and around cubicles to interacting “face to face” via our computer screens. For the past few months, we’ve found ourselves catching glimpses of each other’s homes, hearing dogs barks, and listening to children yell and laugh during video conferences. While we’ve never been farther apart from our colleagues, it’s nice to know it doesn’t always have to feel that way.

Now as the U.S. opens up and some offices begin to welcome back employees into their facilities, we know some members of the workforce will continue to remain remote for the time being. With that fact in mind, AEM wanted to share 5 useful and common-sense ways in which business leaders can motivate remote teams and help them keep pace with organizational demands and goals:

1. CHECK IN FREQUENTLY.

Whether it comes in the form of asking a quick question, clarifying a detail, or soliciting feedback on an idea, find a reason to reach out to your team members. Not all that long ago, it was so easy to simply swing by a colleague’s workstation and have a quick conversation. Now, with so many people working remotely, doing so requires being more intentional. And while technology certainly helps to facilitate communication while working remotely, it’s only useful if you’re willing to set aside a few minutes for video chat “face time” with one or more of your teammates.

While it can easy to feel like you may be intruding or imposing on others, you’re really not. And, by checking in more frequently, you’ll eventually become more comfortable and convey a message that regular interactions should continue to take place.

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2. HAVE FUN!

Making an effort to socialize and have fun with your team is critically important to establishing stronger inter-office relationships. For example, my team and I get together on video chat every other week over the lunch for about 30-45 minutes. We catch up with one another, take a break from our work, and talk about a favorite book we’ve read or a movie we’ve recently seen.

Ultimately, engaging your teammates and facilitating a bit of fun helps promotes a sense of belonging and community – something that’s incredibly important during these uncertain times.

In addition, AEM recently held an all-staff online meeting where we asked everyone to wear a crazy hat and we randomly selected individuals to share their favorite quarantine memory. This 30-minute meeting exclusively focused on fun and sharing personal stories. It was a great way to connect on a personal level without having any business on the agenda, and feedback has been very positive.

3. BE FLEXIBLE AND HUMAN.

The “traditional” workday is traditional no more, and flexibility is everything these days. As a leader, you need to know that your team members have a lot going on in their lives right now. Some may not be able to work the typical 8 a.m.-4 p.m. or 9 a.m.-5 p.m. schedule, and they need to know they can stop and address certain situations as they arise at home.

Few things will motivate your team members more than having a flexible boss who trusts them to manage their days effectively. Let them take care of their personal business, as they will likely go out of their way to re-engage later in the evening or early the next morning.

4. REINFORCE THE VALUE OF TEAM ROLES.

With how everything has unfolded over the course of the past few months, it’s no secret that priorities within organizations are constantly changing with time. Organizational pivots are stressful experiences, and they can cause quite a bit of anxiety and uncertainty among employees.

If you’re a leader, one of your top priorities right now should be maintaining communications with the members of your team. Let them know if their roles are changing, and be sure to convey how their positions fit into the organization’s “bigger picture.” They’ll appreciate the fact that they are continuing to add value, even if comes in a different form than it did in the past.

5. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR LEADERSHIP.

There’s no better time than right now to encourage your team members to step up, expand their skill sets and take advantage of available training opportunities. Let your employees be leaders, and allow them to come forward and let you know how they want to get involved.

As an established leader, you need to be flexible. Lead with empathy and understanding, and be sure to set your employees up to be motivated and productive by ensuring they have the support, tools and resources they need to become leaders themselves and – ultimately – bring greater value to your organization.  

252 AEDF Technicians Certified Amidst the Covid-19 Pandemic Since Early March

The AED Foundation Works with Schools and Dealers to come up with innovative testing solutions while social distancing is in place.

While much of the nation has been put on pause due to the COVID-19 outbreak, The AED Foundation (AEDF) has been innovating new online testing opportunities to ensure technicians are still able to get certified. The AED Foundation’s Certified Technician Program holds technicians to an industry-recognized standard that helps them gain the skillset and qualifications to succeed in their careers. Since the beginning of March, 252 technicians have become certified.   

To make this number possible, The AED Foundation has resourcefully implemented online proctoring during this time, ensuring that students and technicians do not have to put their education plans on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is an excellent accomplishment for dealers, schools and The Foundation to develop a timely solution allowing test-taking to continue. Online testing proves to be valuable to dealers to keep their technicians educated during this time. Thanks to this innovative testing solution and the flexibility of dealers and schools, online testing can ensure integrity that meets The Foundation’s standards. Online testing has not only offered a solution but allows ease for students and instructors as remote testing with proctoring is available 24/7.   

While many schools and dealerships, including Anderson Equipment Company, implemented online testing, some found other solutions to test students through the pandemic safely. Many of the CAT ThinkBIG programs, which represent approximately 1/3 of AEDF accredited college programs, divided students into small groups to comply with social distancing guidelines. These groups were sent to multiple CAT dealership buildings within the area to provide proctored tests without compromising students’ safety.   

This solution demonstrates that The AED Foundation is always willing to do what it takes to help students and technicians succeed. The Foundation’s Vision 2024 goal strongly focuses on certifying more technicians to combat the industry workforce shortage. Jason Blake, COO and Executive Vice President of the Foundation stated: “The efforts of The AED Foundation’s accredited colleges and dealers to implement new testing solutions during this time displays a commitment to education and workforce development within the industry that will build a bright future of skilled technicians.”   

The AED Foundation is proud of the accredited school programs and dealers they have been able to assist in achieving this high number of certified technicians despite the challenges the past few months have presented. The Foundation will continue to look for ways to improve students’ and technicians ’ experiences and accommodate them through whatever difficulties may arise.  

VOLVO CE Dealer Cowin Equipment Company Weighs in on Short-Term Outlook: ‘We’re Coming Back’

“All things considered, we’re confident we’re coming back out of it.”

The way Matt McGowan sees it, there’s really no overstating the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has on Cowin Equipment Company over the course of the past few months. No aspect of the organization went unaffected, forcing the Volvo CE dealer and Birmingham, Alabama-based company, which specializes in the distribution of heavy equipment for a variety of industries, to respond quickly and decisively.

But now, as summer gets under way and the United States continues to open up, McGowan – the company’s vice president of sales and marketing – can’t help but feel optimistic about what the future holds for equipment dealers, equipment manufacturers and the customers they serve.

“We definitely went through a slowdown period, but now we’re headed in the right direction,” he said. “It’s almost, at least activity-level-wise, back to where it once was. I’m not saying we’re quite there yet, but things have really picked up.”

For more information and resources on COVID-19, visit the COVID-19 section on the AEM website

SHORT-TERM SLOWDOWN

The consensus opinion regarding the effects of COVID-19-related lockdowns on Cowin’s operations: It could have been worse. According to McGowan, the company enjoyed a very strong January and February. Then, despite a significant drop-off in March, the company was still able to post a record-setting first quarter.

“There were pockets throughout the areas we cover that never slowed down,” he said. “No DOT (Department of Transportation) jobs were ever shut down by government mandate. So, we were really fortunate there, and that allowed us to pull out a pretty decent April.”

The most significant impact occurred when some OEMs that Cowin represents began shutting down in the wake of the pandemic’s emergence in the U.S. causing some temporary delays in parts shipments. And even when parts did arrive, company employees needed to take the necessary steps to disinfect items which took additional time.

“The last thing we wanted was technicians or customers maybe touching contaminated products,” said Stephen Searcy, Cowin’s vice president of product support. “So, we would disinfect on top of what the manufacturers were doing. It’s improved dramatically now, and people were understanding about it at the time. But it was still a big challenge for us, because our customers were still working.”

(ANYTHING BUT) BUSINESS AS USUAL

At no point has a Cowin store closed during the pandemic. With that being the case, said Searcy, there were times when it felt like the best course of action was to balance a “business as usual” approach to day-to-day operations while trying to react accordingly to what was happening across the country and around the world.

“Information was changing 24 hours a day,” he said. “I think back to our first memo, and it was dated the 28th of February. It basically said, ‘Here’s what’s going on and what we’re seeing developing. We’re not sure how this is going to affect us. But immediately we need to put these safeguards in place.’”

Whether it’s been encouraging the increased use of hand sanitizers and PPE, disinfecting shipments of parts, or rethinking how interactions occur with customers, Cowin leaders and their employees have quickly adopted measures to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being is the foremost priority. In addition, internal team communications have been sent several times per week in an effort to keep employees aware of developing news and how it impacts impact operations.

“It’s about how things affect employees personally, but also how it affects the company as a whole – and how we want everyone to do their jobs,” said Searcy. “Even now, we have reminders going out saying, ‘We want to stay on top of this.’ Because we want to maintain what we started months ago. We continue to reinforce things with our team, make them a part of what’s going on, and not leave them in the dark.”

Reinforcing new behaviors is a critically important task for Cowin leaders in these uncertain times. For example, there was initial worry on the part of some company salespeople regarding customer touchpoints. However, by promoting regular phone contact encouraging “tailgate lunches” – where takeout food is ordered and social distancing occurs – those concerns have largely been allayed for now.

“Customers have been great,” said McGowan. “They work with us, understand us, and recognize things are different than they were before.”

PROJECTING WHAT’S AHEAD

While it’s difficult to project what exactly the future holds for Cowin, its customers and its employees, guarded optimism appears to be the sentiment that rules the day for both the company’s parts business and its service business.

“From an inventory standpoint on the machine side, we were well stocked before the pandemic and orders placed before the pandemic only saw minimal delays,” said McGowan. “But during remote work, having parts in stock at the OEM level is great, however, when staffing levels were down to fulfill orders, that posed some challenges. Then, of course, machine availability for orders placed after the pandemic began could see more extended delays.”

As a result, he continued, company officials are trying to determine how quickly OEMs that had 2-6-week shutdowns can get up, running and – most importantly – back on track.

“I think it all depends on how fast they can get components from third-party vendors,” he said. “In reality though, we’re anticipating some new machine orders placed after the pandemic could be coming toward the end of the year.”

On the product support side, customers are anxious and want to work. However, some construction jobs that were anticipated just a few short months ago may be delayed indefinitely.

“People are a little bit tighter with their funds than what they were a couple of months ago, so it might take a few months, or even a year, for them to get back to the business level that they had before,” said Searcy.

“That being said, we’re seeing some signs that are positive. I just hope that continues to grow in the weeks and months to come,” he added.

To learn more about AEM’s efforts to support the equipment manufacturing industry, visit the COVID-19 section on the AEM website. If you have questions or need to get a hold of AEM staff, please e-mail our Response Team at responseteam@aem.org.

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5 Ways You Can Engage Policymakers in Response To COVID-19 Pandemic

By Wade Balkonis, AEM Grassroots Advocacy Manager

As our member companies respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, they’ve told us their priority is to ensure their workers’ safety and health while also obtaining access to the resources available to them to keep production going. After all, equipment manufacturers and our 2.8 million men and women are an essential part of our nation’s frontline response to COVID-19.  

Knowing how much our industry is doing, and will need to continue to do to help rebuild our economy, it’s also important that we all tell our elected officials what is needed to keep our industry safe while maintaining a high level of production. There’s no better time to do that than right now as Congress and President Trump are demonstrating a willingness to work on a bipartisan effort to pass legislation to help working families and American businesses. For example, the relatively quick passage of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the largest U.S. economic rescue package in history, and a new agreement to replenish funds for the Payment Protection Program (PPP), means legislators are ready and willing to act.

As we respond to the COVID-19 crisis and our industry works to help rebuild our economy, our policymakers need to hear from AEM, its members companies, and the I Make America community. With that in mind, and especially as our nation largely continues to practice social distancing, here are five ways you can engage with your elected officials:

1.  Sign a petition.

Petitions can make a big impact by showing a community’s support for policy initiatives and communicate that support to decision makers in one collective voice. Technology allows you to sign petition digitally and join a movement from anywhere. https://www.imakeamerica.com/campaign/take-a-stand-for-u-s-manufacturing/ focused on revitalizing America’s manufacturing sector on behalf of the 2.8 million men and women who support it. Behind each signature is a voice and joining together we can make the most noise. 

2. Email and phone are tried and true.

Emails and phone calls have always been a tried and true way to communicate a message directly to a lawmakers’ office. You can either check your elected leader’s website for their phone or email contact or you can visit AEM’s 10-year-old national grassroots campaign, I Make America, online. The I Make America website makes it especially easy for our members to engage with their appropriate elected leaders by automatically connecting supporters with their appropriate Senators or Representatives through ongoing issue campaigns. Supporters’ messages always help lawmakers and their staff learn more about their constituents’ priorities and take those into account for policymaking. Phone calls can also be directed to lawmakers’ Washington, D.C., or local, in-district offices.

 3. Web and video calls

Due to the crisis, and the need to social distance, many lawmakers still want to hear directly from their constituents but aren’t able to in person – for their safety and for yours. That’s why several Congressional offices have turned to online conference platforms, including Zoom, Skype, Blue Jeans, Google Hangout, or other methods. As a constituent, if you’re comfortable with using these types of platforms, then don’t be afraid to ask for meeting using any of these options.

 4. Social media

These days, social media is also a powerful communication tool for constituents. Looking up your Member of Congress’s confirmed handle on Twitter or their official Facebook profile page, and sharing with them a short story or update on how your company is responding to the crisis gives them another way to better understand how they can help. Many elected leaders are highly active on social media, tweeting or posting several times a day. You can also empower your employees to share their stories directly with their elected leaders since social media is so widely adopted and encourages simple, concise messages as well sharing photos and videos.

 5. Write in to your local newspaper. 

Your congressional, state, and local elected leaders always pay attention to what their newspapers back home are covering. That includes the opinion and editorial section of their local and state newspapers. It’s another one of the best ways they can learn about what’s on the minds of their constituents and it catches their eye because they realize other voters in their district or states may be influenced by what you have to say.

Here are a few tips on how to write a letter to the editor or op-ed to your local paper:

  • Personalize your message: Share a story of how an issue is impacting you, your work, your family or community.
  • Focus on a single point: Try to focus on specific issue, instead of a range of issues. By emphasizing issue, it makes it easier for your elected representative to focus on one thing and makes it easier for them to help.
  • Be specific with what you want: Always try to end with a specific call to action. You want your elected official to declare your work “essential” during the COVID-19 crisis, or you want your elected official to make easier for your company to apply to a small business loan. Whatever your ideal outcome, make sure you make it clear, especially in your conclusion.

As a constituent, you have a right to have your voice heard, and we encourage you to continue to engage in advocacy on behalf of your company, your employees, and our industry.

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