Case Studies

Phoenix Crane Services Inc.: Premium Performance

  • Written by: Phoenix Crane Services Inc.: Premium Performance
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Phoenix Crane Services Inc. (Phoenix) is a family-owned and -operated company based in Mableton, Ga. Phoenix has been offering crane rentals complete with operators for a variety of jobs since 1983. Dick Phillips started the company after managing several similar operations in the Southeast. Mike Phillips, president of Phoenix, is proud to follow in his father’s footsteps.

“I went to college for a little while, mostly to play baseball,” recalls Mike. “When my father decided to go into business for himself, I went to work for him.” Mike has three siblings who also work for the family business alongside both parents. The company has grown to include upward of 75 employees and is celebrating its 30-year anniversary in 2013.

Phoenix works with contractors all over the southern United States in a broad market. “We do work in the mining industry, as well as the industrial, new construction and residential markets,” explains Mike. “We rent our customers a crane with an operator and there are a lot of different applications for that.” Aside from projects in the private sector, Phoenix has picked up some military contracts lately as well.

Setting Standards

The company’s multiple projects must have some correlation with the team’s intense safety program. Rick Baker, safety director and general manager for Phoenix, spearheaded the development of the company’s program to ensure Phoenix’s operators are in step with current industry safety standards. “Safety is really important to us,” says Mike. This is apparent because Phoenix spends thousands of dollars a year on new equipment, operator training and training for the employees of its clients. Phoenix also staffs an outside safety consultant to help run the program and respond to questions and concerns from clients and operators alike.

Phoenix has also revolved around safety. In fact, Phoenix was the first company in Georgia to require, and ultimately certify, the company’s crane operators through the National Commission of Certified Crane Operators (NCCCO). The team regularly holds training, in addition to testing its crane operators on knowledge of crane lift capacities and safety standards. All Phoenix employees are committed to a drug-free work force and are subject to random tests and pre-employment screening. The company continues to construct a culture of affirmative control and minimization of risks, and Mike notes that the success of individual projects and the business relies on safe performance.

Mike says the secondary key to success is value. The company strives to provide value in service to its clients, not just a cheap crane rental. He applies the same philosophy to his supply chain. “I’m a value shopper,” Mike explains. “When I buy something I want to make sure it’s a good product at a fair price, but I also want to know who’s selling it to me. If I have a crane with a flat tire on a jobsite at 10 p.m., I need a company that can get me a tire on a jobsite at 10 p.m.” The savings and quality of end product are in turn passed along to Phoenix’s customers.

Need a Lift?

Phoenix currently has cranes and operators on long-term projects all over the South, although Mike says some rentals are only on site for a day or less. “Our bread and butter are our hourly rentals,” he elaborates. “We have customers who use a crane for four hours and the crane comes back and does something else the next day.” However, the long-term rentals often see a wider range of more complex projects, some on site for months at a time.

The company has an ongoing contract in Macon, Ga. “We’ve had a 200-ton capacity crane there with an operator since June 2011,” says Mike. Graphic Packaging, a company that provides creative branding solutions for companies and their products, owns the industrial plant where the project is taking place. “They’re making some extensive upgrades,” he says. “We’re working for a big local contractor.”

Another Phoenix contract is ongoing in Peachtree City, Ga. Phoenix has cranes in place with a steel erector, and the project involves the placement of some large-capacity tanks that are lined with glass. “They’re very fragile and heavy,” Mike explains. “It took some engineering to get things in the right places so these items could be set safely.” The tanks are now all safely in place, without incident, and the contractor is building the structures around them.

Phoenix offers cranes in a variety of sizes from 12-ton boom trucks to 275-ton hydraulic truck cranes. The company also provides a standard crane and labor to build tower cranes, the massive stationary machines used to build large structures. “They grow as the building goes up,” explains Mike. Phoenix has a work crew specializing in tower cranes. As with its other services, the company has a track record for quality cranes and safe work on these applications.

In support of, and in partnership with, the National Breast Cancer Foundation Phoenix painted one of its 40-ton-capacity Terex T-340’s pink in May 2012. The pink crane is Phoenix’s way of giving back to the community by helping raising awareness of breast cancer. The crane is available for rent and is operated most competently by NCCCO-certified operator Jessica Ives, the first female crane operator in the history of Phoenix Crane.

Phoenix is excited to continue its growth and ingenuity in the market. Despite challenges to the construction industry, the company has carved out a diversified niche in the market. “We’ve adapted well,” says Mike. “We’re anticipating sustainable growth in the coming years.” The family business continues to embrace its team members and community, and Mike says he has a promising group of young, ambitious colleagues in line to continue Phoenix Crane Services Inc. into the next generation.

Published on: March 15, 2013

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