Industry stalwart Greig Maver has strong opinions on the Australian forklift and materials handling industry in which he has worked for the past 38 years.
For starters, he believes the name ‘materials’ should be dropped: "It’s confusing and makes us sound like we’re dealing with bits of cloth!"
As owner and founder of the aptly named Maverick Equipment which specialises in customised handling equipment, he now operates on the fringes of the forklift industry but spent over a decade directly involved when he began his career in 1969 with Crown Controls in Richmond.
"I only intended to stay with Crown for a few weeks as a trainee before heading off to Sumatra, but ended up staying for 13 years," he says. After serving as sales manager for Victoria, state manager for Queensland and then back to Victoria again, as state and major accounts manager, he grew tired of ‘corporate politics’ and left to start his own business, based in Surrey Hills, Melbourne, initially supplying Crown equipment to country areas.
He then expanded the business to include brands such as Bishamon, Safetech, Logitrans, Edmolift, Pronomic, Cefam-Atlas and Liftaide.
Maver is a firm believer in Australian-made equipment which, he says, is better made, more innovative and adaptive than most of the competition - especially his pet hate, imported Chinese equipment.
"They (the Chinese) have got a long way to go in producing high-quality forklifts and definitely cannot compete when it comes to one-off customised equipment for a particular application."
Maver expresses concern at the number of independent suppliers of forklift equipment who have been "swallowed up by the big guys".
As for the bigger players in the Australian market, he accuses them of "chasing the holy grail called market share".
"It’s all about who can cut their own throat the deepest and still be standing – it’s suicidal and, in the end, it’s not sustainable."
Maver’s personal philosophy when dealing with customers is to provide them with the best solution for their particular problem, regardless of the cost. "That takes a lot more skill and dedication than simply flogging someone the cheapest product on the market."