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A Two-Pronged Approach

Welcome to another Ace World Companies blog, penned by marketing guru and vice president of the company, Camron Ghanemi.

I still haven’t decided whether to take my golf shoes to next week’s MHI Executive Summit & Annual Conference in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. Since my last blog about the struggle I had on the fairways (and in the trees!) at Nucor’s corporate golf day, there’s been no shortage of invitations from fellow attendees to join them on one of the resort’s two championship courses. Fortunately, my schedule is already busy with meetings so I have plenty of excuses to politely decline.

Ace World Companies is a long-standing member of MHI and I am a regular attendee at their spring get-togethers and the larger annual meetings in the fall. It’s an honor to attend this year with my father, Ace, who is president of the company he founded in 1987 when he turned his garage into the firm’s first workshop. Ace doesn’t participate in every meeting but is a stalwart of the industry and always receives a warm welcome.

MHI is the nation's largest material handling, logistics and supply chain association and the annual meeting presents Ace and I with a valuable opportunity to put our different skill-sets to good use and leverage the breadth of our connections. He’s a brilliant engineer who loves the challenge of solving our customers’ problems. This is what he’s good at and what he loves to do. We share a belief in the power of marketing but that is largely my department. Most people in my position in a family business in this industry come from an engineering background but my history is marketing and finance—that’s what I migrate towards. It means we can take a very effective, two-pronged approach to these meetings.

Sharing the load

Ace and I will both represent the business in the meetings of two MHI product groups, namely the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA) and the Hoist Manufacturers Institute (HMI). CMAA represents the industry leaders in the overhead crane industry, while HMI members are the industry’s leading suppliers of hoisting equipment including hand chain hoists, ratchet lever hoists, trolleys, air chain hoist, air wire rope hoists and electric chain hoists. Within both there are engineering, marketing and general membership sessions at Ponte Vedra Beach next week.

I’ve blogged before about the tactics one can employ to get the best out of business events but it’s worth reiterating the importance of choosing the right personnel to represent you at such gatherings. Sending only engineers would tip the balance too far towards the technical side, while a marketing professional might get lost in the quagmire of standards and terminology that surrounds certain equipment.

It’s a balance MHI has had to address itself as a trade association. CMAA and other MHI product groups have received criticism in the past for being too inwardly focused. In other words, engineers didn’t always engage the target audiences that the manufacturers they represent were trying to penetrate.

I’m looking forward to meeting Matthew Smurr, who is preparing for his first fall meeting as the managing director of CMAA, HMI and the other overhead lifting group MMA, which represents monorail manufacturers. Mr Smurr is aiming to build on the good work of predecessor Hal Vandiver and further evolve the product groups into more outwardly facing, solutions groups. I also hear he’s formerly of the U.S. Navy’s submarine division so he’ll have some fascinating stories to tell at the bar, I’m sure.

This evolution of MHI and its product groups is typified by the work of the Overhead Alliance, a marketing vehicle that represents the collective interests of CMAA, HMI and MMA. I’m looking forward to hearing how the group has tracked its progress since the spring meeting as it battles away tirelessly to educate users in the selection of job or application specific products, which so often means choosing an overhead lifting technology over, say, a forklift truck.

I hope the trade associations that readers of this blog work with are being equally proactive in securing the future of their members. Talking of the future, I know MHI is keen to promote the material handling industry to the next generation, which will be another topic of conversation at networking sessions next week.

What will your industry look like in 25 years?

On our metal

The MHI Executive Summit & Annual Conference represents a good opportunity to network with peers, but the day job continues and it’s been another busy month.

We’ve just shipped a 35 ton capacity stacker crane with two lifting devices for handling coils and pallets to Logan Aluminum in Russellville, Kentucky. We’ve also shipped crane number six of 23 units to be installed at Big River Steel’s $1.3 billion steel mill and recycling facility in Osceola, Arkansas. The Big River cranes range in capacity from 10 to 135 tons.

These are just two success stories that I alluded to during recent visits to two steel tube manufacturing facilities in Los Angeles earlier this month. A forked attachment and a singular steel rod will be permanent fixtures on the crane for Logan, demonstrating our ability to tailor solutions for end user facilities. The Big River order is our largest ever and serves as a great example of our engineering and manufacturing capability.

Ace World Companies provides overhead bridge cranes, overhead gantry cranes, wire rope hoists, electric chain hoists, crane kits and end trucks. Follow us on Twitter at @AceWorldCompany, which is the first place we post news as it happens. We welcomed our 750th follower this month.

Thank you for reading my blog. More soon!

Camron Ghanemi
Vice President, Ace World Companies
President, Pullift Corporation