Looking back, sometimes the toughest things you go through make you stronger.
That’s the attitude that Frank Russo, general manager of sales and marketing at TCM America, Inc., sees at his company.
“Our new slogan ‘It’s On Us +’ means it’s on all of us to work harder, be smarter and get it done,” he said.
Due to the Great Recession, the company consolidated manufacturing in South Carolina in 2010, closed two other plants and temporarily suspended production. Demand has still not risen to supply.
But the company and its employees adapted. They learned. Workers who were once production oriented are now dealer support oriented, he said.
“The mood of the staff in Columbia couldn’t be better. They all understand their new role and the new objectives, and that is, ‘take care of the dealers.’ The team in Columbia is driven to the support and education of the TCM dealer network as never before.”
The company is adding dealers in open areas and expanding dealers into larger areas.
“With the economic outlook cloudy at best, TCM is still planning to reopen production in 2013,” although that projection is subject to factors including currency exchange, cost of raw materials and the strength (or lack of strength) of the economic rebound, Russo said.
“The economy is weak and with a lack of confidence, our customers are not sure what lies ahead. This lack of confidence will cause sluggish capital sales.”
But Russo said the moves TCM took put it in good position even if the economy continues to be sluggish.
“Given the recent cost cutting measures and consolidation, TCM can grow our business even with the current state of affairs. TCM is no stranger to adversity. With the core of the TCM operation now in Columbia (South Carolina) it allows much better communication with our dealers, “ he said. “It will be a slow, cautious comeback for TCM, but we are convinced that the new sales marketing group can build a solid foundation for TCM to grow on. TCM is being very pragmatic about dealer development, as this is the foundation on which you build for growth. Though business will be tough in 2012, we are now positioned to grow as never before.”
The company implemented new dealer and retailer incentive programs and financing programs. It improved its standard warranty.
TCM America distributes TCM forklift truck products and supports those products with parts and technical serviced through its dealer networks.
Founded in 1949, TCM is headquartered in Osaka, Japan. “The tragic March tsunami in Japan set TCM back a little, but now that is all behind us,” Russo said. “Our deliveries are improving monthly from Japan. By the end of 2011, our deliveries will be back on track. Bring on 2012.”
Mary Glindinning is a freelance writer who has worked at daily and weekly newspapers for more than 20 years. She lives in rural Shullsburg, Wis. You may contact her by e-mailing email@example.com.