Case Studies

Crane & Machinery

Leader in lifting equipment

Crane & Machinery (C&M) is the exclusive equipment distribution division of Manitex International Inc. (NASDAQ: MNTX), a leading provider of engineered lifting solutions, including: straight mast boom trucks; knuckle boom trucks; electric pick and carry cranes; forklifts; semi-trailers; frack and liquid storage recovery systems; reach stackers and container handling equipment; as well as special mission-oriented vehicles.

C&M, located in Bridgeview, Illinois, has been a leading regional provider of rough terrain cranes and related equipment for several decades. C&M emphasized new and used equipment sales, rentals, service and parts support for rough terrain cranes.

This emphasis, however, changed over the past four years as NASDAQ: MNTX broadened its manufacturing scope. C&M has since directed its marketing efforts to include the full line of Manitex manufactured equipment. C&M added straight and knuckle boom trucks, Manitex & PM Crane; construction trailers, Load King; forklifts, Lift King; and electric pick and carry cranes, Valla, to its existing line of rough terrain cranes.

C&M has grown from a limited provider of rough terrain cranes to a provider of numerous types of lifting equipment. The company has grown from a local retail player to more of a national retail and wholesale equipment distributor.

During 2014 C&M entered into the national distribution of Valla and PM Cranes. The company is currently establishing a diverse distribution network. This is a change from direct customer interaction to support of a distribution chain. A distribution network covers the target market more thoroughly than direct-to-customer distribution. A distribution network will also result in faster response times and solutions to customer concerns, as well as vastly improved delivery lead times.


Revenue has grown over the past four years from $3.5 million dollars to $20 million in 2014. With the addition of PM Crane, revenue is forecasted to exceed $30 million dollars in 2015. According to Stephen Harrison, general manager, this exponential growth has stressed the current staff, requiring additional staff, extensive training, additional support systems and a new way to approach business.

For Harrison, the expansion of the business and its products is the most rewarding aspect of working at C&M. “In order to develop a national presence, while maintaining our local and regional retail presence, we needed to bring in new blood and processes into the sales and marketing department,” he details. During 2014, Harrison tripled the size of the sales and marketing team to meet the new challenges.

C&M brings in young and aggressive people who are not really familiar with the industry and trains them from the ground up in the Manitex Way.

“We search out young college student-athletes who have latent sales talent coupled with an extremely high competitive personality,” Harrison details. “You can train and instill product knowledge and work habits, you cannot train the desire to win at whatever the cost. C&M not only wants their personnel to compete, they want them to win.”

This philosophy allows C&M to develop the young talent up to its own standard and provide a continuing source of talent for future advancement within the entire organization. Harrison prides himself as the main source of future management personnel for the company.

C&M has maintained a great deal of success over the past several years, in spite of the local business environment. Aggressive marketing and the addition of different product lines, has provided the foundation for its past growth. The remarketing of used equipment construction and transportation equipment along with the expansion into equipment testing has stabilized its operations during the economic downturn, allowing the opportunity to expand staff and provide a strong foundation for the national distribution of Valla and PM Cranes.

The future looks extremely bright for C&M as it redefines itself from a local retail player to a full fledge national equipment distributor. “Growing our market presence and developing outstanding employees is how I measure success, as well as the standard matrix of net income and EBTDA,” says Harrison. “I find the constant growth of NASDAQ: MNTX to be my greatest source of pride; we are always striving to outpace our competition while providing a challenging and rewarding workplace.”

Harrison’s background has allowed him to see both sides of the industry. “I’ve been with the company for roughly four years, but I have been in the industry for over 30 years,” he clarifies.

For 25 years, Harrison was the end-user of construction type equipment; he managed several equipment rental companies. “I was part of the dealer network and now I represent the manufacturing network,” he states. Coming from both sides of the industry has enabled Harrison to have unique perspective and to understand the industry better.

C&M has seen a lot of success since its founding in 1993 and its future looks bright as the equipment distribution division segment for NASDAQ: MNTX Harrison assures the company will retain its focus of building a strong customer and dealer network through the efforts of Crane & Machinery’s sales and support staff and the manufacturing of superior products with high residual value.

Published on: July 6, 2015

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