Rolf Eiten has been responsible for the area of Sales & Marketing at Clark Europe GmbH since November 2008. In an interview, the 49 year old – an expert in forklifts held in high esteem throughout Europe – outlines Clark’s above-average development in 2009 and gives his views on growth prospects for 2010.
Question: Clark has not only been able to achieve better results relative to the competition in the financial year 2009, but even win further market shares in addition. How do you explain this counter-cyclical development?
Rolf Eiten: Because Clark offers what the market above all needs: totally robust, functional forklift trucks at competitive prices. It’s not without reason that we came first in the price-performance ratio category in a study by the US trade journal Modern Materials Handling. 1300 experts actually took part in the survey.
Question: Yet Clark Europe GmbH has also broadened out. Your dealerships in Europe, the Middle East and Africa meanwhile total 130 dealers.
Rolf Eiten: Absolutely. That’s part of our strategic alignment. We’re endeavouring to achieve a better market coverage via more dealers and hence more Clark sellers. The logical consequence is a higher volume, where quality always comes before quantity – this is an unwritten law here in our company.
Question: What do you mean exactly?
Rolf Eiten: We have to support newly gained dealers on a lasting basis, so that they can build up, deepen or refine their expertise. This is achieved with technical training courses, an intensive dialogue and by establishing dealer support centres, like most recently in Lyon. We are currently involved with planning a “Clark Academy” for training new salespeople, which is also set to ensure more extensive qualifications for existing Clark dealers from 2010 onwards.
Question: Where do you see potential for growth in 2010 and beyond?
Rolf Eiten: From a geographical viewpoint, we intend to boost our presence in Eastern Europe, especially in Russia and the Ukraine. I also see continued opportunities for significant growth in the Middle East and North Africa, in other words among the countries around the Mediterranean.
Question: And what about the products and services of Clark?
Rolf Eiten: We’ll continue to expand our warehouse technology business on a step-by-step basis. In fact, we’ve launched three new, extremely efficient electric models with the C PS 15 P, the CPSi 15 P and the C PSLS 15. What’s more, we’re continuously optimising the financing options for our partners, by utilising financial partners on our part, who cover a large sales area.
Question: What makes you confident about 2010? Although the world economy has emerged from recession in the third quarter, there are still so-called experts who maintain the green shoots of recovery are merely precursors to harder times.
Rolf Eiten: We have a solid foundation and, together with our dealers, we make up an effective, strong unit. What’s more, we’ve got both a good image as well as the technological potential to win additional market shares.
Clark Europe GmbH Tel: +49 (0)208-377336-0 www.clarkmheu.com