RER: Tell us about new technological developments on your equipment?
Mouillefarine: Our new technology will focus on being more user-friendly. We have a lot of exciting ideas from an R&D standpoint, but intend to first measure those with the benefits to the customer. Providing a solution that allows an AWP operator to work more efficiently is a key driver. Serviceability of our machines is a very close second target.
What are some of the trends you expect to see in the coming years in aerial equipment?
Larger trends will be about more specialization in booms (more specific machines of all kinds) and an increased feeling of safety for telehandlers. More so in 2010 than 2009, survival trends for the aerial equipment business may require players to specialize in certain areas versus being all things to all persons. Some players may withdraw from activities where they are weak.
In terms of the rental market, we hope we may be seeing something of a recovery in the second half of this year and going into 2011. What are your expectations for the economy?
We are in line with this analysis, assuming a strong confidence in the U.S. economy to recover faster than other areas in the world. Unfortunately in our business and many others, the confidence will only be restored when people become aware and see that all other companies are investing. Then there will be the demands for various machines quickly, from multiple sources, requiring delivery at the same time. Plans are in place for this ramp up, but it remains a difficult item to forecast.
What types of equipment do you recommend for rental fleets as we go into, hopefully, a recovery?
It is not easy to recommend to customers what to do. The richness of our industry is that actors have different strategies, including the equipment strategy. If I was to risk a wish, it would be that our customers specialize on their users by segments and gain a better knowledge of their needs, and thus provide the right products and services. We need to help our industry not turn into a commodity business, where all actors have the same machine and everything is about price and availability. According to that, an increased amount of products should be specific to choices of the rental company to be different from the others.
What are some of the improvements and new developments your customers have been asking for in your equipment?
This is a tricky question. I would like to answer “nothing, they are very happy,” but they ask for more reliability and additional options. We intend to work together to as our customers really start understanding their own customer’s requirements.
What areas of aerial safety are you most concerned with right now?
Equipment misuse continues to be the primary concern.