Sany Amer­ica gain­ing trac­tion in US

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By CAI CHUN­Y­ING in Wash­ing­ton charlenecai@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

For Sany Amer­ica, the US sub­sidiary of China’s largest maker of con­struc­tion equip­ment, 2013 has been a year worth cel­e­brat­ing.

The Ge­or­gia-based com­pany dou­bled its sales from last year and has ful­filled this year’s bud­get profit by more than twofold.

Its dealer net­work has ex­panded to cover about 65 per­cent of the US, Canada, and Mex­ico mar­ket, com­pared to 40 per­cent in 2012. There are now 32 deal­ers in 35 US states sell­ing Sany prod­ucts.

The com­pany in­tro­duced a new ma­chine specif­i­cally de­signed for the North Amer­i­can mar­ket — an 85-ton toughter­rain crawler crane. It also started sell­ing port equip­ment this year.

And, Sany Amer­ica re­cruited a new CEO, Mike Rhoda, a vet­eran ex­ec­u­tive whose re­cent ti­tles in­clude pres­i­dent of Volvo’s ex­ca­va­tor busi­ness line.

“I have been fol­low­ing Sany for sev­eral years while work­ing for other com­peti­tors and I’ve been im­pressed with their am­bi­tion and as­pi­ra­tions,” Rhoda told China Daily.

In April of this year, Sany Group, which owns Sany Amer­ica, sur­passed Lieb­herr to be­come the world’s fifth­largest con­struc­tion equip­ment man­u­fac­turer, af­ter Cater­pil­lar, Ko­matsu, Hi­tachi and Volvo, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Con­struc­tion mag­a­zine.

Rhoda said he was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed with Liang Wen­gen, chair­man of the Sany Group. Ac­cord­ing to the 2013 Forbes Bil­lion­aires List, Liang is the third-rich­est per­son in China.

“Liang seems very open to, first of all, un­der­stand­ing how busi­ness is done in other parts of the world, and then work­ing to make the kind of changes that are nec­es­sary to adapt to those dif­fer­ences,” said Rhoda.

Sany’s plant in sub­ur­ban At­lanta, started in 2006, was an in­vest­ment of $60 mil­lion, the largest of Sany Group’s five over­seas op­er­a­tions. The build­ing houses 60,000 square feet of of­fice space and 340,000-square feet of man­u­fac­tur­ing space. Em­ploy­ing about 100 peo­ple, Sany Amer­ica is the largest man­u­fac­tur­ing in­vest­ment from China in Ge­or­gia.

The com­pany started with con­crete-pump­ing equip­ment and crawler cranes. The con­crete pump op­er­a­tion was later moved to a Wis­con­sin fac­tory owned by Ger­man con­struc­tion com­pany Putzmeis­ter Hold­ing GmbH, which Sany Group bought in April last year.

It wasn’t un­til Oc­to­ber 2012, seven years af­ter Sany first set foot in the US, that the com­pany turned its first profit. Sany Amer­ica has re­ported a profit each month since.

Jack Tang, for­mer pres­i­dent of Sany Amer­ica, who de­parted in De­cem­ber to lead Sany’s other busi­ness ven­tures in the US, at­tributes the break­through to the com­pany’s con­sis­tent in­vest­ment in re­search and de­vel­op­ment with the goal of tai­lor­ing its prod­ucts for the North Amer­ica mar­ket.

Tang said US gov­ern­ment agen­cies and cus­tomers have high safety stan­dards and de­mand high ef­fi­ciency.

“In China, a ma­chine can be run by two peo­ple. In the US, you can’t af­ford to do that. We have to de­sign a ma­chine that can be eas­ily op­er­ated by one per­son,” Tang said. “And, it should con­sume less diesel.”

Tang is par­tic­u­larly proud of the com­pany’s new­est model, the SRC885, the 85-ton roughter­rain crane.

“There are al­ready 70-ton and 100-ton prod­ucts on the mar­ket. We learned through re­search that many cus­tomers in fact needed a model that could fill the gap and do the job on both ends,” said Tang. The ma­chine now takes a 20 per­cent mar­ket share of sim­i­lar mod­els.

Sany Amer­ica has grad­u­ally re­fined its prod­uct lines. It now de­votes main re­source in as­sem­bling ex­ca­va­tors. With dealer net­work con­stantly ex­pand­ing, the fa­cil­ity also has be­come a test­ing and train­ing center for deal­ers.

Kirk Er­linger, di­rec­tor of sales and dealer de­vel­op­ment at Sany Amer­ica, said he takes pride in the qual­ity of Sany’s prod­ucts.

“My goal is to con­tinue to in­tro­duce high-qual­ity Chi­nese prod­ucts that can com­plete glob­ally,” said Er­linger, who joined the com­pany two years ago af­ter work­ing for crane deal­ers for more than 20 years.

“I know what our deal­ers are go­ing through, so I am more ca­pa­ble of un­der­stand­ing the chal­lenges they face,” said Er­linger. He over­sees five sales­men, all lo­cally hired.

Build­ing dealer sat­is­fac­tion is also CEO Rhoda’s goal. “As we work with our ex­ist­ing and fu­ture deal­ers, we want to es­tab­lish a high level of sat­is­fac­tion with the Sany brand,” he said.

Hav­ing most re­cently worked as chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer for Doosan In­ter­na­tional, a Korean multi­na­tional in con­struc­tion equip­ment, and hav­ing spent five years in China work­ing for Inger­soll Rand, Rhoda said he has reached a level of un­der­stand­ing of some of the cul­tural dif­fer­ences that Chi­nese and Asian com­pa­nies run into deal­ing with coun­tries and com­pa­nies in the West.

Sany’s name has been as­so­ci­ated with an or­der signed by US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama in Septem­ber of last year block­ing the sale of four wind farms near a US Navy test­ing com­pound in Oregon to Ralls Corp, cit­ing na­tional se­cu­rity con­cerns. Two Sany Group ex­ec­u­tives had bought Delaware-based Ralls ear­lier to in­vest in wind en­ergy by in­stalling Sany tur­bines.

Sany has since sued Pres­i­dent Obama, de­mand­ing to know the rea­sons be­hind the or­der. A dis­trict judge later ruled that Sany is not en­ti­tled to be in­formed of the grounds for the pres­i­dent’s de­ci­sion.

Rhoda will start his new year in China, at­tend­ing meet­ings at Sany’s Bei­jing head­quar­ters.

“I hope to es­tab­lish good re­la­tions with the lead­ers of Sany’s dif­fer­ent busi­ness units as well as some of the board mem­bers. We will be dis­cussing spe­cific ar­eas in the crane, ex­ca­va­tor and port equip­ment busi­ness,” he said.

Pro­ject­ing the goal for 2014, Rhoda said, “I’d like to grow the mar­ket share of our ex­ist­ing busi­ness and dra­mat­i­cally in­crease the level of our cus­tomer sup­port and prod­uct

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Sany Amer­ica’s new pride and joy — the SRC885 85-ton rough ter­rain crane, which fills the gap be­tween the 70-ton and 100-ton com­pe­ti­tion, while able to work both ends. Sany plans to com­pete head-on with Cater­pil­lar, Ko­matsu, Hi­tachi and Volvo.

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