A new source of access parts

24 April 2008

Bernard Vandromme(left) with Philippe Parmentier, of TVH (Thermote & Vanhalst) in Belgium.

Bernard Vandromme(left) with Philippe Parmentier, of TVH (Thermote & Vanhalst) in Belgium.

Long lead times on new aerials are prompting some owners to keep their machines longer, and it's a trend that is definitely befitting specialist parts suppliers. An example is TVH (Group Thermote & Vanhalst), the Belgian-based forklift parts supplier that two years ago entered the access parts and used equipment business, writes Murray Pollok. “In the first two months of this year we sold over 50%more access parts than the whole of last year”, says Philippe Parmentier, who is responsible for TVH's access equipment division.

Since its move into access, family-owned TVH - a global €280 million business with subsidiaries or partners in 18 countries - has seen sales grow steadily as it has leveraged its links with forklift component suppliers to offer access buyers an alternative source of parts.

Bernard Vandromme, TVH's access parts manager, says TVH manages to sources many parts from the original producers and also manages to get good prices on those items that are ‘captive' to the major platform manufacturers, even if not all are overjoyed to see a new competitor going after their after-sales business.

Mr Vandromme says the access parts business will continue to grow, expanding the stock beyond the 400000 items that are held mainly for forklifts. Europe and the Middle East are key customer areas at the moment, but TVH's Australian and North American subsidiaries will also enter the access parts market during 2006. “We could triple turnover this year”, Mr Vandromme tells AI.

Parts are delivered to customers worldwide within 24 or 48 hours - depending on location - and the company takes up to 4000 orders a day. “We are DHL's biggest customer in Belgium”, says Mr Parmentier.

Parts supply is the core activity, but the last two years have seen TVH enter the used platform and access rental markets. It has around 180, mainly self-propelled, used machines in stock and sold over 450 units last year. The access rental fleet, meanwhile, is now around 700 new machines in Belgium: Mr Parmentier says there are no plans for this rental business to be expanded outside Belgium.

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