Chinese manufacturer LGMG has entered the North American market with a plan to capture small and midsized rental business. Lindsey Anderson speaks with the company’s director, Rusty Kaylor, about opportunities and ambitions.
In late 2017, Chinese construction manufacturer LGMG told ALH it was planning a major global expansion of its access products, starting with its sights set on Europe followed by a move into the North American marketplace.
Fast-forward two years and the company’s vision has materialized. In January 2019, LGMG opened its first North American facility in Chambersburg, PA with a goal to attract small and midsized independent rental companies. The company currently offers a range of rough terrain scissor and boom lifts and has already sold several hundred scissors to the marketplace with a goal of several thousand for the coming year, according to Rusty Kaylor, LGMG North America’s VP sales – Southeast.
“The North American market is in need of a quality aerial lift product that not only has a price point that makes the small to midsized rental companies competitive to the top 10 rental companies, but also has the back up and support they have to have to be competitive,” Kaylor says. “We can provide both and intend to fill this market gap that other manufactures are ignoring.”
LGMG is based in Chambersburg, PA and chose Pennsylvania as its home base because the State “has long been known as the birthplace of the aerial lift industry,” Kaylor notes. It is also the lifelong home of LGMG North America’s CEO, Craig Paylor, who was instrumental in making the access industry what it is today.
Wealth of experience
Paylor spent more than 30 years at JLG Industries, Inc., where he played a key role in developing the company from a $40 million privately held business to a publicly traded global corporation with sales approaching $3 billion prior to the Oshkosh acquisition in 2006. He retired in 2010 after serving as JLG’s president since 2007. Kaylor is also a veteran of the access and rental industries, having first entered the industry in 1977. He was instrumental in the development of one of the first electric drive scissor lifts, the ReachLift, and operated a number of rental outfits from 1983 to 2015.
The two bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the new North American venture and plan to use their wisdom and know-how to educate the market on LGMG products.
“We offer a top-quality product with an expanding product line designed and engineered for the North American market at a competitive price that is being managed by an experienced team that has been involved with every facet of the industry for decades,” Kaylor notes. “The big difference here is the quality of the product along with the expertise of the management team; we understand this market better than our competitors because we have been in the rental business and the manufacturing industry in a big way for a long time.”
LGMG originated in 1972 and is located in Jinan, Shandong Province, China. It consists of three core companies – Shandong Lingong Construction Machinery Co., Ltd (SDLG), Lingog Group Jinan Heavy Machinery Co., Ltd (LGMG) and Lingog Special Machinery Co., Ltd. – and is affiliated with 16 companies. Its business segments include construction machinery, mining machinery, mobile elevated work platforms, special machinery and component manufacturing.
The company has two joint ventures, one with Sandvik, as part of its LGMRT mining and rock technologies segment, and the other with Volvo, representing the entire SDLG subsidiary. Under the two arrangements, Sandvik owns 65 percent, while Volvo has 70 percent ownership of the respective ventures.
The company started producing loaders 45 years ago with the medium range 3-ton and 5-ton segment making up 80 percent of the business. In the large sector the company already has a 40-ton truck and now has drilling rigs thanks to its partnership with Sandvik. Then, in the small segment, there are the 3.5-ton to 15-ton excavators and now MEWPs.
Products by the numbers
The plan is to offer the customer a full set of products. In 2016, LGMG said 27,000 MEWPs were produced in China across the eight biggest manufacturers manufacturing in the country.
By the end of 2017, that number reached 40,000 with LGMG having produced 4 percent of that volume, according to the company. LGMG’s target is to reach a minimum of 10 percent of the total output figure.
Making a move into North America increases the company’s footprint and customer base, but as many know, entering the industry here can be somewhat of a challenge; parts, service and distribution are key to running a smooth and successful business.
Presently, LGMG North America has parts and service locations that are fully operational and stocked in Atlanta, Houston, Chambersburg, PA and Ducktown, TN.
“It is our plan to strategically locate parts, service and machine sales location throughout North America,” Kaylor says. “Our engineering center located in Chambersburg, PA will be fully operational in the near future. We are currently evaluating products for us to manufacture here in the USA.”
Kaylor says there is definitely room here for LGMG products.
“Our products have a high quality due to our attention to the heavy wear parts of the machines; arms, cylinders, pothole protection, door hinges and wiring harnesses as well as the major components are all sized and tested for a long machine lifetime of quality use,” he notes. “We have learned from customers what not to do, because it has been done before and did not work.”
Partnerships growing for LGMG
In May, LGMG announced a renewed partnership with Germany-based PB Lift. The Chinese manufacturer produces PB’s Eco line of scissor lifts, and now its PB’s turn to offer its services and experience in helping to grow LGMG sales in Europe.
As Ares Song, international sales manager at LGMG said, PB’s role is essentially as a high-level consultant as LGMG seeks to approach the European market in the correct manner. “We do not want to damage the market by putting low priced machines into it. It’s important that all suppliers in the chain benefit from the market.”
Part of LGMG’s strategy is to make products specifically for the European market and PB will provide ideas to help it do this.
“We want to be up and running but in the proper European way.”
LGMG is ambitious and, as reported by sister publication Access International last year, the company set up a European division in 2018, including a depot and service center in the Netherlands. It is also bringing long-standing access professionals on board in the continent,
including most recently Ronan Mac Lennan as sales manager for Great Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia and European key accounts and Erik de Bruijn, as technical and product support manager. Both were at Bauma and have recently moved over from GMG. Between them, they have decades of experience in the access industry.
They join Hans Aarse, senior adviser, previously with IPAF, who came out of retirement to work with the company, and Maurice Jassies, sales manager Benelux, both taking up their positions earlier this year at LGMG Europe, which was launched in September 2018.