Manitowoc Crane CARE’s has completed its first conference in the Europe/Middle East/Africa (EMEA) region with more than 80 delegates attending the two-day event in Hohenroda, Germany. The attendees, representing Potain’s 60 German dealers, listened to presentations related to the four key components of Crane CARE: parts, service, training, and technical documentation.

Crane CARE is now a fully-fledged business unit of the Manitowoc Crane Group (MCG) with 750 employees working at 250 locations. In Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the business employs more than 500 people, with 310 responsible for the Potain line of tower cranes and 200 overseeing the Grove mobile crane and Manitowoc crawler crane product lines.

MCG claimed that the reason for the growth at Crane CARE was a shift in end users’ approach to after-market care. “End users are paying more attention to the cost of ownership of their equipment and taking a more scientific approach to maximizing machine utilisation. Gone are the days of cheaper purchase prices in exchange for limited or no warranty. Today, companies prefer to buy extended warranties,” it said.

Crane CARE understands this shift in thinking better than most, according to Larry Weyers, executive vice president of Manitowoc Crane CARE. “We’re moving away from the ‘break/fix’ approach to crane maintenance,” he told delegates. “We’re focusing more on the product life cycle – the cost of ownership. I even tell our customers ‘We don’t want to focus on product support anymore’. Because to me ‘product support’ means focusing on a product after it’s failed. Our approach is different. We’re focusing on uptime – not downtime.”

Thibaut Le Besnerais, general manager of Crane CARE in EMEA, explained how Potain’s work on the Millau Viaduct in France was an example of how service could be the crucial factor in winning lifting contracts. On this project – the tallest road bridge in the world – Potain supplied seven K5/50C tower cranes to main contractor Eiffage Construction. But, according to Le Besnerais, the deciding factor for the contractor was the service provision that came with the cranes.

“We provided 24 hour a day service, parts on site and a guarantee to troubleshoot all problems within 24 hours,” he said. “It was our ability to provide such comprehensive service that won us the contract. This focus truly differentiates us from our competitors and demonstrates that the better we become at service, the better we will become at sales.”

The conference also introduced the Manitowoc Crane CARE ‘Abkommen’ program, the equivalent of the Manitowoc Crane CARE Elite program in The Americas. To achieve ‘Abkommen’ status, EMEA dealers must make a substantial investment in their after-sales provision.

MCG explained: “That means holding an extensive stock of spare parts, ensuring technicians are trained to the highest level possible and providing an on-site library of technical documentation – to name just a few criteria.”

To date, 13 companies have applied for Abkommen status, and are being audited.