It’s been a busy couple of years at Translift, famous for the Bendi Articulated Forklift. In July 2017 the business was acquired by a combination of the existing key management including Sales Director Paul Berrow, and Jasper Equity, a Birmingham Private Equity Company.
After the combined team took a fresh look at the business and their vision for the future, Paul Berrow took over as Managing Director on 1st October last year and since then the company has been moving in some exciting new directions. Paul Berrow spoke to Warehouse & Logistics News in an exclusive interview.
Warehouse & Logistics News – Paul, you’ve been with Translift for over 15 years, going from the sales team to MD. This must be a big moment for you personally.
Yes, without a doubt. To be appointed Managing Director of Translift is a great honour and one I was proud to accept. Translift have always been a strong, dynamic and forward thinking company and I have no doubt moving forward we will form an even stronger team as we strive to give our customers – trade and end users – the best possible service, support and overall experience in partnership with Translift.
WLN – You were previously on the sales side, most recently as Sales Director. Are you still involved with customers?
Yes most definitely, I still meet customers on a regular basis and enjoy being involved in different projects.
WLN – Who are the other important people in the team these days?
Everybody in the Translift business has an important part to play if we are to be as successful as I would like us to be, so it was key to have the right senior management team in place. Robert Bull, who initially joined as Financial Controller, has recently been appointed to the board as Finance Director and Shaun Cavanagh has joined as Operations Director. Shaun has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the materials handling industry and managing successful after-sales teams.
WLN – Who owns Translift now?
Jasper Private Equity invested into the business in 2017 and the management team continue to hold a significant part of the company. This partnership is an excellent balance of financial and operational expertise.
WLN – Under the new structure with Jasper Equity, are you investing in service and other areas?
Yes, we are. We knew we needed to make significant investment in key areas such as service, parts and the Translift staff as a whole. As a result, we have implemented industry leading field service management software that will help us become more efficient as a business and increase the level of support to our customers and field service team. To further support the service team we have consolidated our Spare Parts facility into one central location to service a wider range of equipment. We’ve also ordered 47 service vans, which look great in the new Translift livery!
However, for me personally the most pleasing investment is the one we are making in our people. We have made a number of key appointments through both internal promotions and recruitment for senior management positions. We are also looking at various training and development incentives and have just finished a complete refurbishment of the offices and staff facilities.
WLN – Tell us about the new vision for the business. Is the focus still on selling and leasing forklift trucks or is it broader? Do you also offer materials handling and warehouse planning consultancy?
Translift have always adopted a consultative approach to customers’ needs and it’s never been about simply selling a forklift truck! With nearly a hundred years of collective experience in a relatively small sales team, we are ideally positioned to create the optimum solution. We offer advice on building design, racking solutions, efficient throughput of goods etc. We also work with racking partners and designers as needed, but when it comes to understanding the customer’s needs it’s ultimately our senior people who make the difference.
WLN – Are you still making Bendi trucks at Redditch? What products are in the range now?
Translift have always been proud of our UK manufacturing heritage and we will continue to operate at our factory in Redditch. The main products manufactured there are our pedestrian range, including the award-winning Mini Bendi and a new product we are launching soon, the Nano.
We also have a new product for the market, the ECO Bendi. This is a Bendi articulated forklift with full AC technology and brand new parts throughout but built within a recycled chassis, which, due to the Bendi’s innovative design, is heavier and more robust than traditional forklifts. This high quality chassis is then stripped, tested and reused saving hours of labour and quantities of steel, resulting in significant cost savings for the end user without compromising on performance.
WLN – How do your articulated forklifts compare with others on the market in terms of range and performance?
We have always proudly proclaimed that there is a Bendi to suit almost all applications and budgets and that has not changed. Being the only company to offer both front and rear wheel drive options means our customers don’t have to compromise on specification.
Today we are able to offer our customers over 15 different models within our product portfolio of Bendi and Landoll narrow aisle, space saving forklifts, all at the forefront of build quality, performance and reliability.
WLN – You sell and lease new trucks. How big is your hire fleet?
As the pioneer of the articulated forklift, we have built up a national hire fleet of over 350 machines and pride ourselves on being able to offer customers unrivalled delivery, service and choice. We have recently created a central UK rental facility, close to the main motorway hub and our logistics partner.
WLN – Do you also sell ex hire trucks as factory refurbs?
We offer an extensive range of used and refurbished solutions to suit most applications and budgets. The ECO Bendi is the most sought after product at the moment but we will also supply a used machine as a ‘check, service and paint’ for those applications that don’t require a full factory rebuild. Tailored finance packages are also available.
WLN – As well as Bendi trucks, do you also offer complementary warehouse products in solutions for customers? How do you sell those?
We have identified a number of complementary products that we are now offering to customers through normal sales channels as well as through a webshop area on our new company website – www.translift.co.uk. These products include pallets trucks, stackers and order pickers.
WLN – Do you buy these in or do you make them yourselves?
We will be working in partnership with a number of manufacturers, all of whom are market leaders in their particular areas of expertise. These include Pramac and Samag.
WLN – To bring the story up to date, do you still have any links with Simon Brown and Paul Overfield, the old Translift directors?
Yes, we have kept in close contact with them since they left Translift to set up their new business and we are currently working with them on an exciting project for a blue chip customer.
WLN – In the other strand of the Translift story, you’ve had strong business connections with Landoll for a number of years. How did the relationship with Landoll start and what form does it take these days?
The relationship goes way back to the days of Freddie Brown, and in fact Landoll manufactured many of our early products until the Dollar made this prohibitive. Landoll are well aware of the UK market’s strategic importance, and in order to support their operation throughout Europe, they have created a Parts and Stock Hub close to Redditch which will no doubt be of benefit to us.
WLN – You’re exhibiting with Landoll at IMHX. What will you be showing on your stand?
We are really looking forward to IMHX and will be showcasing the key products in our range, together with a couple of exciting new additions.
WLN – Where do you see Translift going from here?
As I mentioned earlier, I am extremely excited to be MD of Translift as we look to the next phase in the growth and development of this iconic business. With the support and investment of Jasper and a committed and skilled workforce, I believe we have a team to build on our market position and deliver solutions to make our customers successful. Our strategy is to develop and grow the business with a product portfolio that is second to none and by offering the highest levels of service and support for our customers.