Elevating the AWP industry
Manlift’s is expanding its markets with an operating model based on the principles of lean management and Kaizen
In its first decade of operations (2007–17), UAE-based powered access equipment specialist Manlift expanded its markets to the Middle East, Africa and Asia, supplying aerial work platforms (AWPs) or mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) for construction, facilities management, aviation, logistics, maintenance and events. At present, the company boasts a fleet of over 3,000 AWPs including articulated boom lifts, crawler lifts, scissor lifts, spider lifts, telescopic boom lifts, and vertical lifts for working at heights ranging from 5m to 58m. Manlift also proves major brands from the US, Canada and Europe, such as JLG, Genie, Skyjack and Teupen.
Two major factors have been instrumental to the market penetration and geographic expansion of Manlift during the past few years: a diverse fleet of various AWP models and specifications, and a business process built on the Japanese Kaizen philosophy. The average age of Manlift’s AWPs is 5.2 years; by maintaining a ‘young’ fleet complemented with safety and operations training, the company has been able to ensure quality and safety to its rental customers. A bigger contributor to the company’s success has been the ‘Manlift Way’, the company’s operating model based on the principles of lean management (minimizing waste) and Kaizen (continuous improvement).
The Manlift way seeks to create and follow standardised systems and processes to ensure consistency in product and service quality to customers anywhere in the world. An example of this process is how Manlift identifies and deploys machines on its yards. Manlift’s yards have designated areas marked with red, green, orange and other colours to indicate the types of machines and stages of their rental processes. This enables staff to identify and monitor machines easily and save time on deploying them to sites or for maintenance. Another application of the Manlift Way is how the company used it to improve its AWP washing process in the UAE. Alongside its two wash bays for cleaning AWPs, Manlift set up a waste water recycling unit to filter the waste water and convert it back to reusable water. By reducing wastewater disposal, the company saves over 160,000 litres, annually.
David King, group managing director, Manlift, elaborates on the company’s business model and how it has transformed the organisation.
“We created the Manlift Way on the basis of customer feedback that gave us insight about six value drivers ranging from safety to invoice accuracy. By implementing this process to deliver those value drivers, we were able to achieve higher levels of machine availability, safety, on-time delivery and pick-up, machine up-time and invoice accuracy across all our markets. Today, every decision and path we take is through the Manlift Way. It has transformed our business by showing us how we could do everything more efficiently and become leaner as an organisation,” says King.
The company is working on building a strong company culture around this process so that its staff can work towards providing superior customer service.
“We’ve trained all our people to make the Manlift Way their way of doing business. We’ve also implemented a measurement and analysis system for our performance so that we can continuously improve our products and services. Having this business model in the AWP industry gives us the confidence to expand our fleet and markets with the aim of offering even higher levels of safety, efficiency and profitability for working at height,” says King.