The name says it all: “BUILT TO LAST”. In February 2007 Clark – the inventor of the forklift truck – moved its European headquarters to Mülheim/Ruhr. The conditions for further growth are bright. At the new Clark site are located the central spare parts warehouse, the warehouse for new plant and equipment, and also training and office facilities.

Clark supplies the European market with the aid of a Europe-wide network of proven sales partners. Regular technical and service training courses maintain the state of knowledge of staff and advisers at a uniformly high level.

Clark combines targeted stocking of new plant and equipment and accurately attuned availability of spare parts with great flexibility and optimal reaction times. In conjunction with its sales partners Clark Europe GmbH can thus offer all its customers the highest standard of service and advice.

The product portfolio offers a wide variety of suitable solutions for internal logistics within the organisation. Ongoing further development and innovative new designs guarantee a continuously high standard for all products bearing the traditional name Clark.

Egon Strehl, CEO of Clark Europe, spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News on how 2011 has been for Clark Europe and also their plans for 2012.

Warehouse & Logistics News – What does your job involve day to day? Has your role changed since last year?

Nowadays customers are looking for those suppliers who can offer them benefits. More and more we are becoming a solution provider.

W&LN – 2011: how was it for you and Clark Europe?

Clark is close to achieving it`annual targets. We are improving every day. Although the crisis in 2009 gave us a tough time we are proceding with  our expansion plans as 2011 will be a good year for Clark Europe. Since January 1st until November 2nd we have appointed 28 more dealers in our territory which is Europe, Africa and Middle East.

W&LN – What is your particular proposition for customers in the warehouse & logistics sector? Has that changed since last year?

We do not have a particular proposition but one thing is sure. We will be able to offer our next generation warehousing trucks (pallet trucks and stackers) from April 2012 production onwards. This will help us in growing  our  share of market further.

W&LN – How has the Counter Balance Fork Truck sector been performing in 2011? What do you see as the most important recent developments in the sector?

The Counter Balance Fork Truck sector has developed quite well in 2011. The market was characterized by high growth rates. Although I think the growth will slow down a little bit, we assume that 2012 will be a successful year for the Fork Truck sector but the market itself will remain on the 2011 level. Only in some areas we may expect a minor growth rate.

W&LN – Have you moved into any new business areas during 2011?

In regard to new markets we increased our efforts and dealer network in Europe, Middle East and Africa. Especially in Eastern and Northern Europe we found some new, bigger dealers. One of our main goals for 2012 is to achieve higher market coverage in our main markets. Furthermore we have been aiming to develop a dealer network for the Russian Federation as well and it has started to pay off already.

In regard to new products, we entered the warehouse technology segment with our own pedestrian stacker and pallet trucks. We pre-launched the two new trucks during the CeMAT in Hannover and will have some large roadshows in 2012 to present and promote the new Clark trucks in different countries. Start of production will be April of next year.

W&LN – Has your company grown in the last 12 months?

Yes, Clark has grown in the last 12 months. We found some well developed and organized new dealers in our target markets and new countries we want to serve in the future. We have also grown in terms of sales figures and turnover in 2011.

W&LN – Have you been investing in improving your premises, taking on more staff, upgrading your website, enhancing your IT etc in 2011?

We are continuously investing in improving and developing our company. We have hired new employees to improve the service to our dealers and to expand our spare parts department. At the moment we are searching for a business development manager to improve our dealer support and to further develop our network. We also upgraded our website and invested in a new merchandising shop and some other marketing campaigns.

W&LN – How are your existing products and services doing?

The more dealers are coming on board the more the network is demanding, especially on services. We consider the Aftersales activities  as being a very important part of the whole picture.

Clark dealers  have very good systems and tools to service Clark trucks. The Clark PartsPro system is giving a great deal of information and makes the dealer become a real partner in Parts and Service for the end customers.

W&LN – Have you launched any new products or services in 2011? What are they, and how are they performing?

Yes, we launched some new products in 2011. We launched our electric tractor CTX40/70 – with great success. Prominent features of the electric tractor are proven 48-Volt AC technology, an ergonomic driver’s cab with stowage compartments as well as ingenious means of ensuring the safety of man, machine and material.

After winning the MMH award in price-performance ratio section we have again launched a truck at a competitive price and optimised for power, efficiency and sturdiness with the C40-55s Series. The new diesel and LPG powered forklifts of the Gen2 series (Load capacity 4-5.5 tons) is designed for use in warehousing, distribution, transport, production, recycling etc

During the international trade fair CeMAT in Hannover we presented our innovations to the public and got a very good feedback. Also the sales figures of the new trucks show that we are on the right track with our developments.

W&LN – Do you operate in any other countries besides the UK? How are you getting on there? Have you gone into any new countries in 2011?

Yes, we operate in Europe, Middle East and Africa. We have gone in some new countries in 2011, like Kenya, Nigeria in Africa, Oman in the Middle East, Finland and Denmark in Northern Europe. We also entered some new countries in Eastern Europe and still try to find new dealers in those regions.

W&LN – Have you won any awards in 2011, or been accredited to any new industry standards during this time?

According to an Image Award survey, from the approved Institute Emnid, Clark is ranked fifth compared to its main competitors. The ranking has been published in a German magazine, called “Verkehrsrundschau”. Beneath the very good result in Image rating, Clark is ranked fourth with regard to market penetration.

W&LN – Which industry sectors are your customers in? What applications do people use your products/services for?

Our customers are represented in nearly all industry sectors like warehousing, distribution, transport, production, recycling etc.. Nearly every industry needs trucks and warehouse equipment to handle their goods. Therefore, we are able to offer our products to a wide variety of customers.

W&LN – Do you sell your products direct or through distributors? Has that strategy changed in the last year?

We sell our products through our dealer network. We serve some big key account customers directly, but most of our sales are generated through our large distribution network.

W&LN – How does your forward order book compare with a year ago? What about the waiting list for your (products) compare with a year ago?

Worldwide we got a lot more orders than planned this year. We appreciate it and have pushed our factories to increase the number of production units. Unfortunately we are facing about 4 weeks longer leadtimes than normal. Some of our suppliers couldn`t go the same pace but we are very confident the matter will be solved by year’s end.

W&LN – Which trade shows did you exhibit at in 2011? How were they?

Our dealers exhibit at their own local exhibitions – so we are represented at many exhibitions in our target markets. For our headquarters the CeMAT in Hannover was the most important event this year. The CeMAT has been very successful for us. We met new potential dealers and many international customers visited our booth. So we had the opportunity to present our new products and innovations to a broad public. We were particularly surprised by the large number of visitors from Eastern Europe.

Beneath the CeMAT, other Clark subsidiaries also exhibited at some very important international exhibitions like CeMAT Brasil, ProMAT in Chicago or the CeMAT in Asia.

W&LN – As the Christmas period is traditionally the busiest time of year for the UK warehousing and logistics industry, what challenges has your company been facing?

We will be busy until the very last day in the year. A lot of machines will be delivered until the year`s end and our dealernet will further strengthen the coverage throughout the whole of UK.

W&LN – As a company, what are your new year’s resolutions for 2012?

We go for further growth. Clark Europe will further extend the number of salesmen and the number of dealers for a more stronger market coverage. Doing this we of course we to further develope our training for sales and service forces. This has been addressed and has become a part of the so called Clark Academy

W&LN – What are your plans for 2012?

As mentioned before, our main goal for 2012 is to extend our dealer network and to attract strong partners in Europe, Africa and Middle East. With a greater sales force we automatically achieve a better market coverage in our target markets.

On the other hand, we will focus on our products launches of the new Clark pedestrian stacker SX12/16 and pallet truck PX20 and our new four-wheel electric truck GEX40-50. We will organize large roadshows and other events to promote our new products.

Our targets are to increase sales by another 30% compared to 2011.

W&LN – Where do you see your company in three years’ time?

We are targeting to double our sales volume. Doing this we also will move into a larger size premises and may also start our CKD factory in Germany.

Furthermore our new generation of reach trucks will become available and a lot of new business partners will  become members of the Clark family.

W&LN – And finally, what would you like Father Christmas to bring your company in 2012?

We hope to face a more stable, financial,  market surrounding especially in Europe. If markets like Spain and Italy can stabilize more it would give a good support to our market activities in these regions.

If the market in general can keep the 2011 level we will be happy.

Clark Europe GmbH

Tel: +49 208 377336 -0


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