Steve Shaughnessy takes on the manufacturing challenge
By Maria Hadlow12 January 2010
With around 25 years experience in access rentals Steve Shaughnessy has just completed his first week as president of Canadian manufacturer, Skyjack.
Having been a customer of Skyjack for around 17 years, Mr Shaughnessy told Access International, "I liked the company culture, the products and the quality. Having bought the machines over the years they more than live up to their marketing tag of 'equipment with the lowest total life cost of any in the industry'."
Like every other mainstream manufacturer with the bulk of its business in North America and Europe, Skyjack has suffered from a significant sales decline over the last 18 months or so. "The company did have to downsize its manufacturing capacity," said Mr Shaughnessy, "And now I have two major challenges: the first is to get business volumes back - 2008 levels are unrealistic at this point but we can grow; the second is to fill the gaps in the product line."
Mr Shaughnessy revealed that Skyjack will be launching 12ft and 16ft vertical mast aerial platforms in the first half of the year and hopes to show the new machines at the ARA Rental Show in Florida at the beginning of February. The company also plans to add machines at the upper and lower end of its boom range.
This year Skyjack will also be spreading its global presence: there are plans to put additional resources into the promising Australasian market through a sales office and sales, service and support operations will be opened in China by the end of the first quarter. Latin America will have the same by the end of the second quarter.
Mr Shaughnessy said that consideration was being given to selling the company's range of telehandlers in Europe - currently the ZoomBoom range and ex-Volvo range (now branded Skyjack) are sold exclusively in North America.
Mr Shaughnessy said that Skyjack's position within the Linamar Group was very secure, "A good and logical fit." He anticipates an overall 20% growth in production and sales volumes in 2010 with the pace picking up further in 2011. He believes that Linamar's experience in lean manufacturing will prove to be significantly advantageous to Skyjack when the upturn comes.
Read an extended version of the interview in the January/February issues of Access International and its sister publication American Lift and Handlers.