They Lift.

Last Wednesday I with the Professional Sales Group from UNH (more on PSG later on Medium) had a chance to visit a facility of Crown Equipment in Boston. Crown has 18 manufacturing facilities in the US and Europe. They, also, opened a branch in South Korea. So, expansion is a hot topic for the company. Crown is a fork lift producer out of the US. They are a family owned business and a noteworthy player in the market in America and in other parts of the globe.

One of Crown’s manufacturing plants

In this post, I will briefly describe the place and the wonderful salesmen inside that building. The Boston facility is located in the Greater Boston Area in Woburn. In includes a relatively small office that holds a maximum of around 40 people. They are mostly salesmen, but also some service technicians, customer support, and warehouse designers. Speaking of which, the largest part of the structure is used for a warehouse, where they keep multiple examples of technological wonder. That is also the fun place.

Our professor easily gets the box from the top shelf

The firm makes fork lifts such as this. And we had an opportunity to drive one, which was entertaining. This particular lift extends upwards, so you can secretly enter your house through the second-floor window (just kidding). It, actually, helps in moving light boxes and really speeds up your storage, as it can go up to 5MPH. All electric.

Despite high-quality fork lift trucks, it seems to me that the firm emphasizes the quality of the workforce. They actually care about their people and want them to achieve their personal benchmarks.

Crown believes that almost everyone can be a salesperson. In their b2b market, sales drive the business. And their philosophy helps employees of any profession from technician to marketer find themselves in sales. They are one of the very few businesses that allow people step out of their comfort zone — in a good way — and find themselves happier than ever in their new positions. This company has amazingly well organized internal processes. And I am not talking about delivering goods and services to the customer. They focus on employees, so those can focus on the customer. There is an awesome talk by Simon Sinek that explains what real leadership is. The point is, I can really see it in the company. Today, when we met at their office in Boston, I could see that these guys are here for life. Why? Because they have everything they may possibly need from their job. And, well, in case they no longer want to be in sales (or whatever job they do), they can always switch over to another department.

Many enterprises expect their prospective employees to have deep knowledge and experience in the type of job they are aiming for. Meanwhile, Crown is looking for passion and excitement and trains their employees to do pretty much any job. For that purposes, they have developed a unified orientation for the US interns and representatives. This orientation implies an amazingly steep learning curve, where employees are let to try things on their own. We experienced this with the trust they gave us with that little electric truck. It was an exciting ride, while the operation briefing took at the most of 2 minutes.

Crown is #5 in the market for lift trucks and is striving to overcome their Asian competitors. They sell fairly priced trucks, considering the value. My understanding of the competition here is “who can save more money to the customer”.

One thing I entirely do not understand, however. Crown is rolling out a new propane(?) truck. While the entire world is shifting towards renewable energy, and moving vehicles do it at the quickest pace, they are trying to gain market share in a very old market. Among marketers, such products are called “dogs”. It might be of use in some places, but this product is definitely not trendy.

To conclude, this company has a great vision and good ideas for future. They have rolled out some, and are in development of more semi-autonomous machines. Those can be controlled by human and by computer. Something like Tesla’s Autopilot, where you would take over at times. They are looking into new niches such as hydrogen-powered vehicles, which is an amazing clean time-saving replacement for batteries.

I would like to thank Crown for this day and give respect to the managers, who take good care of their team!