Linde Material Handling Australia achieved a strong market share of 18.3 per cent last year, across all market segments.
Since managing director Carl Smith took the helm in 2004, Linde’s market share has trebled and its strong growth is expected to continue.
Highly respected in the material handling industry, Mr Smith joined Linde Material Handling after a 22 year career with Crown.
Now with sales at a peak, Mr Smith has announced he will leave Linde in August this year.
“When I joined in 2004, I set myself certain professional and personal objectives, all of which I have met or exceeded, so now is the right time to move to the next phase of my career,” he said.
“It’s right to hand over the reins to someone who can come in and build on what’s been created over the last 12 years.
“Linde, like a lot of companies in our industry, didn’t have the 2014 it expected to have and I wasn’t happy with that. I wanted 2015 to be a year of changed results and on the basis of that I started this process in February last year and made the decision in December, when I knew we were going to be profitable.
“With the assistance of all the people here Linde has gone from a 2004 market share of 4.9 per cent to our current 18.3 per cent market share and healthy profitability.
“Last year we sold 600 more trucks than we did the previous year and turned the bottom line around. Over 200 sales came in the retail area, proving the broad appeal of Linde’s range. Order intake was up by 30 per cent. We also had a record invoicing year in short term rental and after sales.”
Linde head office reluctantly accepted Mr Smith’s resignation, but asked him to stay on through a nine-month transition period to make the most of his 34 year industry experience.
“In the months ahead it will be energetic business as usual,” Mr Smith said.
“We will introduce new product and continue our push into the retail segment. We’ll also step up our activity in the fleet management sphere, with FleetFOCUS and also with a specialised in-house Linde offering.”
The company will maintain its commitment to continuous improvement in 2016, including additional service resources to support the new customers won last year.
“The legacy I intend to leave is for Linde to be seen as the most professional and most customer focussed MHE company in the local market, setting the benchmark in areas such as service, fleet management and even the marketing side,” Mr Smith said.
“I’ve turned what the market regarded as a broken business into one which is now recognised as having the people, resources and behaviours all now aligned to a company which has the best product in the market.
“That has been the journey from 2004 until 2016 and now that I am leaving there is a wonderful opportunity for someone else to come in and use the very stable, strong launching pad to get this business to where it needs to be – and that is a market share of around 20 per cent.
“How do we get to 20 per cent? We leverage off all the things we have put in place, such as Linde Power Solutions, Linde Warehouse Management Solutions and Linde Fleet Focus. All of those things are the cornerstones of the momentum, which will take this business through the next ten years.
“Across the board we will be continuing what we’ve been doing for the last 12 years, but doing it better. Over the last 12 years the company has reinvented itself and done so more than once. You have to do that, to keep moving ahead.”
At the conclusion of his tenure with Linde, Carl Smith plans to develop a consultancy to pass on to young industry executives and sales people the experience and lessons he has learned over his 34 year career in the MHE industry.
“I’d like to give back to this great industry some of the things it has given to me,” he said.