From humble beginnings, Lencrow Group has grown to become a significant materials handling supplier. The company has extensive sales, hire, and service offerings. Matt McDonald reports
The Lencrow Group begin life as Allforks Hire back in 1976. Operating from Silverwater in Sydney’s western suburbs, the company began with a fleet of 14 Hyster forklifts.
As Lencrow Managing Director Ross Grassick told Manufacturers Monthly, “We have been operating for 37 years with the same owners and we still have an operation at the site we started at. We still even have some of the customers that we have working with for over 20 years.”
So some things have remained the same since 1976, but much has changed, both for Lencrow and for materials handling in general.
For the company itself, things have grown. As a single entity, it now encompasses several subsidiaries, including Nomad Lift Trucks, Pacific Rentals, Allforks Hire, Pro-Fork Materials Handling, Hilift Materials Handling, and Hilift Pacific.
Plus, in geographical terms, it has expanded its operations and plans to continue to do so.
“Both our short and long term plans are based on increased country coverage. This will in turn offer an increased level of service for our customers Australia wide,” Grassick says.
Most recently, the company opened a branch in Rockhampton. For local customers this will mean less down time, faster service back up and access to specialised parts.
Of course, Lencrow continues to update and expand its product range. When asked about where materials handling is headed, Grassick points to technological changes within the industry.
“Forklifts are like all mechanical devices in the fact that the industry is constantly evolving. Right now changes to electric powered units are making them a very viable alternative to fuel powered units,” he says.
These advances, he says, can deliver unit life cost reductions of up to 30% and contribute to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Japanese manufacturer Nissan and EP from China, both of whose products are available from Lencrow, have been at the forefront of advances in electrical operations. However, Grassick points out that, with a world market for components, the significance of country of origin is becoming less and less.
For example, the EP Chinese product uses transmissions from Germany, motors and controllers from Italy, electrical fittings from the USA and hydraulics from China.
“They are all world units.” Grassick says.
Grassick says that the new technologies are also throwing forward advances in forklift safety. “Right across the ranges we now have drive systems that offer increased safety as well as better unit protection.”
In Australia, Electric forklifts are currently the most popular choice for those aiming to reduce their carbon footprint. In contrast, the European, British, and American markets have seen a greater up-take of other clean energy forklifts, such as hydrogen fuel cell powered units.
Where is Lencrow headed?
From its roots as a hire company, Lencrow now offers rental, sales, and service divisions. Today, 60% of the company’s business is devoted to rentals and 40% to sales, with servicing covering both sectors.
Customers range from single person operations to national businesses with multiple sites and machines. However, it is not necessarily easy to distinguish the buyers from the renters. The types of customers who buy and hire are quite similar. It comes down to personal choice.
“Many companies prefer hire as it allows them to get a final cost budget and the equipment is not on the books with 100% deduction. They also do not have to manage the units as the hire company looks after maintenance and repairs,” says Grassick.
On the other hand, “The people that buy can see the advantage of depreciation over a number of years and they tend to have a lower usage requirement that requires less maintenance,” he adds.
Lencrow aims to be a one stop shop for materials handling. It can offer the full range of material handling equipment required. For example, it offers several brands with unlimited configurations and distributes products by Nissan, Ausa, Carer, EP, and Terex equipment, and more.
The one-stop-shop philosophy means that customers are offered a range of hire and sales options to suit their individual needs. Or, in some cases, a combination of hire and sales may the best fit.
“We have modelled the company on the basis that customers are time poor and do not have the time to go looking at many locations for the equipment that suits their requirement,” Grassick says.
“They also need, in multi unit operations, a range of units to both give optimum performance while delivering the best level of safety.”