Wael Hasan, Middle East commercial manager, Raimondi Cranes didn’t have to think twice when he received the call from the Italian manufacturer. We caught up with him as he prepares to lead the company's participation at The Big 5 Heavy in Dubai for the first time.
Raimondi is historically a family-owned company from Italy but became part of the KBW Investments portfolio in 2014. What has changed for the company since then?
Raimondi, since 2014, has gone through extensive optimisation. The company’s R&D was prioritised, together with activation of technical team mobility. Our headquarters in Legnano, Italy, regularly flies out technical team members to work side by side with our valued clients. Raimondi technicians have, just over the past six months, visited more than 15 countries to oversee and participate in erections and operations that require expertise over and above the average jobsite.
A major boon has been that over the course of the past four years, bespoke jobsite requirements have become a Raimondi Cranes specialty – there is no jobsite too complex for our cranes because our technical team, headed by Technical Director Eng. Domenico Ciano, is agile and empowered to hack solutions that are economical, efficient, and tailor-made to client specifications. From a commercial perspective, that type of agility is rare and, to be honest, fantastic. Clients regularly compliment our hands-on approach and feel highly-comforted when we participate in onsite work when and if requested. These client-first policies have advanced our already-strong position across multiple markets. In terms of the MENA region, this year we’ve seen so much movement with existing and new clients alike! These customers have come to us seeking solutions, and I’m proud to say that Raimondi has fielded their respective requests exceptionally – from engineering all the way to after-sales care – we have the resources and the internal structure to make it happen the right way, with safety and timeliness always a core directive.
Was Raimondi big in the Middle East market prior to the acquisition? Has the partnership helped the company to establish itself in the region since then?
Raimondi had a relatively small market share in the Middle East prior to 2014. Once the Middle East offices and facilities were activated, Raimondi steadily began to increase footprint and onsite visibility. It is widely acknowledged that to be successful in this region, you must have an on the ground presence, and once Raimondi’s client-direct arm was activated here orders increased dramatically. My team and I see existing clients and potential clients daily – we make every effort to be present when needed and to maintain our relationships. As a small example, this is the first time that Raimondi will showcase at the Big 5 Heavy, and our commitment to the Middle East is such that our global Technical Director will be coming to Dubai to liaise onsite with our customers.
Another example is what’s considered fairly routine in the crane industry- a climbing procedure. Due to our Middle East presence, we were able to immediately execute a customer request for it in Abu Dhabi. We also staged in-house trainings for the customer’s team members to help them meet their goal for self-sufficient operations. Having a full team in this region has enabled the company to grow and to continue to service clients thereby rewarding their loyalty as repeat purchasers of Raimondi products.
How would you describe the current state of the local crane market and how do you anticipate it evolving over the next couple of years?
The local crane market is, in my opinion, highly competitive and active. Customers will not settle for less than the best in terms of both the heavy lifting machinery itself paired with superior client servicing. Our commercial segment is consistently fielding quotation requests for new products, and this is all indicative of the sector’s health. Less than 12 months ago, the commercial climate was labelled as depressed, but our numbers indicate solid activity despite the naysayers.
I don’t believe that the crane market evolves as much as client needs evolve. Today’s customers want to be prioritised and appreciated – when you’re making an investment in heavy machinery I believe that’s more than justified. Many manufacturers face customer dissatisfaction for this reason, perhaps treated as a ‘smaller fish’ in a sea of huge bulk buyers. Raimondi has made it a policy that each of our customers are assigned a client servicing specialist who is well equipped with technical knowledge, whether that client is purchasing one crane or 10 cranes. In summary, I don’t believe that the crane market changes much from year to year, but I do believe that customers, with their increasingly challenging jobsites and complex operations, do. If you want to remain a top company, a quality machine is definitely required, but so is quality client-facing staff.”
What advantages do Raimondi Cranes offer in terms of commercial value as well as design & engineering capability?
I can answer this easily: every single Raimondi crane is forged with tradition – 150 years of manufacturing – and precision – the latest in heavy machinery technology matched with true sector expertise. Massimiliano Volpe, Deputy General Manager of Raimondi Cranes, often says that one of his biggest priorities is staff retention. This is because we have employees that have crossed more than two decades with Raimondi, and their knowledge of our products and of product evolution is truly priceless. I’ve worked in this sector for many years, and I have yet to find a manufacturer with such a storied engineering and technical heritage.
Commercially, it is an accepted truth that Raimondi products are synonymous with return on investment – I don’t need to emphasise ROI with potential customers simply because they themselves have seen our 20-year old cranes operating still at optimal levels on jobsites. Typically, in heavy machinery sales that is one of the first factors you would encounter, and since I’ve joined Raimondi I’ve never yet had a single client ask about product longevity or durability. Both are accepted truths about our machines, and I’m proud to represent a company that stands by its finished products and by its fully European source trail. A Raimondi crane is a strong asset to any jobsite, manufactured to be reliable, efficient, and safe.
You joined Raimondi Cranes as Middle East commercial manager in October 2017. Why?
I have long been a fan of Raimondi’s products. As someone who has worked in the heavy lifting machinery industry for many years, I have a natural interest in the movement and tendencies of both fleet rental companies and of manufacturers. I’ve paid very close attention to the various crane brands throughout the duration of my career, and over the past few years I have found Raimondi’s onsite presence a powerful draw. As someone in the commercial segment I want to present my clients with real value; I have to really believe in the products because there is a huge element of trust required for transactions of this size. I know that my products will perform admirably, and I know that my customers’ trust in my recommendations will be validated. Joining Raimondi allowed me to present solutions that I personally stand behind, and that I’m proud to showcase.
Raimondi at The Big 5 Heavy
The team from Raimondi headquarters will be joining the Middle East segment at the Big 5 Heavy. Raimondi’s senior management from headquarters will be in Dubai for the whole show, primarily to discuss our new MRT234 topless tower cranes launched in October 2017, and our new luffing jib LR330 just launched on February 20, 2018. The LR330, with a fantastic approach to heavy lifting machinery technology, is our flagship luffing of the new range. We are truly excited to present these products to the MENA region, and we anticipate a flurry of activity around both new models. In terms of specifications: the MRT234 has eight different jib length configurations, from 70 meters to 28 meters, to satisfy all specific jobsite needs. It has a maximum length jib of 70 meters and a maximum capacity of 12,000kg, with four falls configuration. At the maximum radius it can lift 2,250kg in Ultra-lift mode, and it can be equipped with two different hoisting winches: standard installed power of 45kW or 55kW for higher power requirements.
The LR330 is what we are calling a ‘transformative approach to heavy lifting technology’ because of its innovations in everything from control system to winches to even jib shape. The LR330 has been studied and assessed for the optimal onsite experience during its beta testing phase at our Italian headquarters. With a maximum jib length of 60 meters and a maximum capacity of 18,000kg with two falls and four falls configurations, the LR330 can lift 3,300kg in Ultra-lift mode. It has six different jib length configurations, from 30 meters to 60 meters, to address all needs in terms of specific jobsite configurations. Our early LR330 sales reports have, quite honestly, blown the commercial projections out of the water: Raimondi’s headquarters has reported that sales in the first presell month exceed the expectations of its 12-month selling calendar. This is both motivational and rewarding, and we anticipate that the Middle East client will be very interested in this advanced luffer.
Participating at the Big 5 Heavy, for Raimondi, is a signal to the Middle East market that we have strong ties to and in the region. We expect to meet many new potential clients, and we look forward to presenting Raimondi’s solution-based design onsite for the duration of the event. We will be welcoming our existing clients at our stand located at Z5 A93; we have invited them all personally to the meet and greet with our Technical Director, Eng. Domenico Ciano and our Commercial Director, Eng. Mauro Masetti.