Tim Marshall is Operations Manager in GH Cranes & Components for the US Market since 2015 but has been in the machinery industry for more than 35 years. Based in Terrell (Texas), he is skilled in material handling equipment, machine tools, operations management, heavy equipment, and electrical wiring.
You have recently achieved the milestone of being in the crane business for more than 17 years (at least 15 of them working with GH). Did it ever cross your mind you would stay for almost 2 decades?
I have been building crane systems for more than 35 years. I have always enjoyed solving material-handling challenges. I was a machinist for several years before I got into management. We built and installed crane systems for handling various materials during our expansion projects. I had previous experience servicing CNC machinery and rubber molding machinery, troubleshooting problems with controls, which are somewhat similar to overhead crane equipment.
What did you know about GH when you started working with our equipment and what did you make to change the previous hoist brand you were using in your cranes?
To be honest, I didn’t know anything about GH, but I really liked the product as soon as I started working with the brand. I really like the design of GH equipment compared to some of the other manufactures, the ease of maintenance and service, together with the support that GH provided made the transition really smooth for me.
Looking back, has GH met your expectations? What would you say has been the most enriching experience while using GH products?
Definitely yes. I feel that it was the right move and in the right direction. From a personal point of view, I would say that visiting the GH factory in Spain in 2008 as a customer was a great experience, I believe that being “on the other side” for once helped me learn a great deal about the company.
Everything behind the scenes is very impressive. Getting to see the process in the factory first hand, looking at the way the equipment was manufactured… After getting to know the people behind the machine, you value more the finished product and now, many times when I look at product, I picture the person putting everything together to bring the piece to life, and that’s a really nice connection.
In general, I am very happy with the quality we supply and support we receive, but there was this one time I was really impressed with the support we received on one of the larger jobs we did using GH equipment at a large equipment manufacturing company. Other vendors were having major problems getting the cranes to fit in the window we had available, and GH was able to do it with special design girders and hoist/trolley configurations.
“Now we are able to turn around jobs quicker than our competitors thanks to producing cranes faster”
Back in 2015, GH Cranes & Components decided to step ahead in the US market and acquired F&G Industries, so automatically you became part of the GH family. How would you describe the transition from F&G to GH?
Moving from one company to another is always challenging and people are sometimes resistant to changes, but I have to say that the transition was fairly smooth. Thanks to becoming part of GH, the upgrades to the manufacturing processes have made a big impact in our ability to manufacture quality equipment at a much quicker pace. However, we are always seeking to improve, grow and adapt.
What do you think are the main challenges GH faces in such a competitive market like the US market?
Probably being able to sell the quality and features of GH equipment. Obviously price is a heavy driver, but if we manage to quote special cranes and features and larger capacities, are key to make us stand out. Providing service and technical support are key factors in our growth.
What do you think is the main value GH is adding to the American market? What are its main opportunities?
GH has opened up some opportunities to make us more competitive here, so we are now able to bid on some much larger jobs for special cranes and features, also bringing opportunities with European companies in the USA.
We also have more inventory available and are able to turn around jobs quicker than our competitors thanks to producing cranes faster.
The standard and smaller capacities is extremely competitive but we have customers that have been with us for many years, who are not buying strictly on price, because they know our quality and the reduced cost of ownership. Their loyalty is very important to us.
“We are determined to continue to improve and grow the GH Cranes brand in the US market”
Teamwork and people are two of the main pillars for GH, what would you highlight. These last 6 months we have gone through an unprecedented situation that has affected us all, both professionally and personally. How has it impacted in Texas?
It has had an impact on some of our contact with customers for sales and service. It seems most of our customers are essential business to the supply chain, so they have not been affected. The prices of oil and gas have had an impact on some of our customers, impacting sales and service. It seems it is going to be a slow return for our area.
Would you say there is or has been a positive side to it too? Will things be different from now on or will we (somehow) go back to the old days?
It has given us the chance to access different and new customers. Having to get out there and work harder to sell is somehow positive. Although we have had to challenge ourselves to stay in touch with clients, supporting our commercial activity with digital tools, we like meeting face-to-face and I think we will go back to that as much as we can.
To finish, what are your future plans within GH? What would like for GH in the near future?
As a team and as a company, we are determined to continue to improve and grow the GH Cranes brand in the US market. Developing a strong reputation in the crane industry of providing quality and innovative designed equipment.
Hopefully expanding our facility in the near future, to continue improving our processes, lead times and quality, also building our own support team in the USA, and grow our parts and service department.