Lift Power strives to provide turn-key solutions for its customers
BY STEVE GUGLIELMO
Lift Power, Inc. was formed in 1971 by LD Mohrman Jr. and LD Mohrman Sr., along with a group of investors. The company began as a full service lift truck dealership. Shortly after its founding, Paul Mohrman joined the company as a sales representative and eventually, Donn Mohrman, Paul’s younger brother, joined the company as the service manager. Originally, the company represented the TCM Forklift line and then, in 1975, Lift Power added the Crown product line, which proved to be a significant and enduring relationship in the following years.
Don Hune Joins Lift Power
“I responded to an ad in the paper and joined the company in my mid-20s,” says Hune. “At this time, Lift Power was still predominantly a lift truck organization.”
Lift Power had added the Komatsu line in 1988 and would go on to add the Doosan and Landoll product lines shortly thereafter.
By 1997, as Lift Power continued to grow, Hune was promoted to sales manager. It was around this time that he started to develop the idea that would take Lift Power from a lift truck dealership to the turnkey solutions provider that it is today.
“As I was out in the field selling, I spent a lot of time in warehouse and distribution facilities,” Hune says. “It became apparent to me that there were a lot of opportunities in the storage/ handling and allied products part of the business that could provide both growth and profit for Lift Power. I realized the need to expand our product lines and become a full service provider.”
Becoming a Turnkey Solutions Provider
Don’s realization proved prescient as today more and more dealers look to develop a turnkey approach. At present, Lift Power has a full service Dock and Door division, and a large storage and handling operation that includes modular offices, mezzanines and conveyor to complement their lift truck lines.
“I think customers are looking for partners to help them be more cost effective while improving productivity,” Hune says. “We assist the customer in facility design and layout. From the time the truck backs up to the dock and the product is unloaded, stored, picked, packed and shipped, we can provide the most efficient solutions to these processes.”
As Lift Power has grown its capabilities, one challenge it has faced is its branding.
“There is a need to rebrand our company so customers in our market know that we are a turnkey solutions provider and not just a supplier of lift trucks” says Hune. “Our challenge is to be recognized as a dock and door provider or a systems design company as well as an equipment provider.”
One way the company has set about rebranding is by launching a new, interactive website. The site features a clickable warehouse information center map that demonstrates Lift Power’s full warehouse capabilities and helps direct potential customers to the correct department for their problems. In addition to the interactive map, the site also added e-commerce capabilities and an emergency 24/7/365 service request option for those issues that just can’t wait.
“We have started a new marketing campaign and the new website is just the first stage of that campaign,” Hune says. “In our industry, a lot is done via the Internet. Sometimes it is a challenge to get in front of a customer today. Due to time constraints, customers want to communicate via email or voicemail and are not available for as many face-to-face meetings. We still want to get those face-to-face meetings, because they’re important in building trust in business relationships, but it is equally important to have the Internet access for customers to retrieve information needed via the website instantaneously.”
Culture is Key
Having the products and a great website is only half the battle. Without a capable staff to inform customers about these products and their applications, it is all for naught. That is why company culture is such an area of importance at Lift Power.
The company goal is to be the “employer of choice” in the industry. One way Lift Power accomplishes this is by giving each employee a say in the decision making process. Status and title are not as important at Lift Power as quality ideas and creativity in problem solving.
“We encourage our employees to speak out,” Hune says. “We don’t have many meetings, but when we do, we have meetings that are employee driven. We ask all attendees to check their titles and egos at the door. We really try to get our people to open up and tell us how we can better serve our employees and customers.“
That philosophy has helped Lift Power attract the younger generation into its workforce.
“We’ve been able to attract and successfully integrate members of the younger generation into our organization,” Hune says. “They like the way our culture works because they feel they have a say in decisions that affect their job. We are adding more technology into the workplace to help us develop new ideas and new techniques in the conduct of our business. We encourage a creative exchange between our experienced people and those who are new to our team.”
And as Lift Power strives to be the “employer of choice,” that helps them in their ultimate endeavor to be the industry’s “supplier of choice.”
“Everybody knows that it’s our job to meet and/or exceed the customer’s expectations,” says Hune. “We do some crazy things to keep our customers happy. All of our people are on the same page when it comes to maintaining that high level of customer service.”
What the Future Holds
Lift Power is 43 years old, has a dynamic workforce, and a promising future.
“Our past success was attained through the effort and dedication of our employees and the enduring support of our supplier partners, especially Crown,” says Hune. “Crown has been such a large part of our success and growth. We have benefited tremendously from our relationship.”
In 2013, Lift Power moved into a new 50,000 sq. ft. facility in Jacksonville, Florida. What started as a small family business now has more than 80 employees, two full-service facilities located in Jacksonville and in Savannah, Georgia, and four other smaller facilities in the two states.
The company has experienced leadership in Rental / Used Truck Manager, Aimee Porter, CFO, Susan Allen, Operations Manager, John Truss, and a balance of experienced and new employees that position it well to respond to future challenges and future opportunities.
“We are excited about our future,” Hune says. “Some of our departments are just starting to develop. In our storage and handling division we’ve added in-house engineering capabilities as well as installation and project management. We are now an Interlake Mecalux stocking distributor. Our focus for the next couple of years is to master what we are currently doing and grow organically. In the coming years, we hope to further expand our offerings.”