A group of former Demag employees, led by ex-sales manager Andreas Werner, have been appointed by Grove as sales agent in Germany.

Kranagentur Werner (Crane Agency Werner) was appointed in July to cover territories that will account for two thirds of the market in Germany. Previously the company had direct distribution in what is one of its home markets and the world’s most important market for the all terrain cranes that Grove builds in Germany.

The move was one of the first reforms made by Frans Vanwinkel, who joined Grove’s parent, Manitowoc Crane Group, from truck manufacturer Iveco in April this year as sales and marketing senior vice president for Europe, Africa and the Middle East (EAME).

Vanwinkel explained to ConnectingCranes that there was no specific strategy to use a sales agent rather than sell direct. ‘The point was to find the profile of the person who would do the selling for us,’ he said. ‘In Werner we think we’ve found the person we were looking for.’

However, Werner did not want to be directly employed and was interested only in an agency contract. Grove had to compromise, Vanwinkel said.

Technically, Grove is still selling direct to its German customers. Kranagentur Werner just sets up the sales. The sale contract remains between Grove and the customer. Grove organises financing and provides all after-sale services.

‘I must underline, the fact that Werner is a sales agent is a consequence of his wish to be employed as an independent company rather than as an employee,’ said Vanwinkel.

Werner was joined on 1 October by his former Demag colleague Frank Lichtenburg, who is now 50/50 partner in the company. Also with them is Wolfgang Simon, another former Demag salesman.

Asked if there had been any negative reaction from customers now having a middle-man between them and the manufacturer, Vanwinkel said: ‘At this moment we have had no reaction like that. We assume that some reaction like that may exist.’

He added: ‘We have had great order intake in the past two months, but whether it’s due to the reorganisation or whether the market is picking up, it’s too early to tell.’

ConnectingCranes reported exclusively on 30 June that Mike Lamb, senior vice president for Grove crane sales and marketing in EAME and managing director sales of Deutsche Grove had handed in his resignation. Lamb completed his notice period in September and has returned with his family to his native England after many years living in Germany. Vanwinkel himself has taken over Lamb’s responsibilities at Deutsche Grove.

Other changes see Volker Krautwig, previously Potain GmbH regional sales director, appointed sales director central Europe for all Manitowoc Crane Group products. This includes Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Turkey. He is based at the combined Deutsche Grove/Potain business headquarters at Langenfeld, near Dusseldorf, with a directly employed team of four Potain sales managers and three Grove sales managers (Hans Asam, Joachim Roentgen and Jacob Lieder).

Other new appointments in Krautwig’s team at Langenfeld are: Peter Schidor – sales manager, used mobile cranes, central Europe; Hans Olsson – sales manager, used tower cranes, central Europe; Wolfgang Schmidt – director of trade finance, central Europe.

A group sales director for the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia and Benelux is next to be appointed, Vanwinkel said.