Haulotte and Bil-jax integrate in the US
By Murray Pollok08 October 2008
The sales teams have been reorganized under three managers. Brent Hagedorn of Bil-Jax remains director of national accounts, responsible for corporate contacts at major rental companies and contractors; Haulotte USA's chief financial officer, Christophe Debatisse, will be responsible for sales activities to aerial work platform rental specialists as well as contacts with regional and district managers of the major rental companies; and Bil-jax's Chuck Hutchinson will be in charge of sales to independent rental stores, scaffolding sales to major rental companies at the branch level and international sales.
Mr Hutchinson, who was one of the five senior managers who owned Bil-Jax, said that in addition to the sales integration, the two companies were already linking their service networks in the US, with Bil-jax parts to be available from Haulotte's three parts stores in the US (with a fourth in Houston to open soon) and Haulotte service staff being trained on Bil-Jax equipment.
"We see an ability to reinforce our service provision", said Mr Hutchinson, "Haulotte has made a big investment in its service and parts operation in the US. I think it's a win-win deal for all of us."
Jeff Ott, formerly president of Bil-Jax, is overseeing the integration of the two businesses in the US, with a particular focus on any US manufacturing of Haulotte products. "We have excess capacity and the ability to expand [at our site]", said Mr Hutchinson, "I'm sure that will happen as demand dictates."
Meanwhile, Mr Hutchinson used a recent trip to Europe for the APEX exhibition to meet many of Bil-Jax's European dealers. He said in September that every dealer had so far said they would continue to represent Bil-Jax following the takeover, including German dealer Norbert Wienhold. Mr Hutchinson said some of its European dealers may also take on the Haulotte equipment.
Mr Hutchinson said all previous five owners of Bil-jax would remain active within the company, and said it was not difficult for them to adjust to European ownership because they had already experienced 10 years under German scaffolding group Plettac before the management buy out five years ago.
"We believe the acquisition will provide the Bil-jax employees with a much brighter future than we could ever dream of. They have a worldwide footprint", said Mr Hutchinson, adding, "We think we can significantly improve [Haulotte's] market share in their product category, and maintain ours. It's hard to find a negative in this."