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Adapt or die – the opportunities are there

Leigh W Sparrow, Publisher
Leigh W Sparrow, Publisher

March 1, 2010 - Most agree that we are now at the bottom of the business cycle, there are though still plenty of opportunities and the notion that our markets are saturated does not stand up.

We all know that the world’s economy is picking up and has started growing out of one of the world’s worst recessions ever, at least statistically. What we don’t know of course is whether this will be a slow and gradual climb or a bumpy ride with a dip or two back into negative territory along the way. 

A lot depends on where you are and what part of the industry you are in. One thing we know for sure is that it’s it not going to be one of those steep and rapid climbs back to the boom times we saw between 2006 and 2008. 

How all this affects the markets we cover varies between product types. All too often I hear people saying "It will never be so good again" Rubbish! I have heard that said during every slowdown since I started my career and that is a long time ago.. The market has always bounced back, usually to better levels before the downward cycle began.

One grossly stupid comment I have heard several times recently - probably for the first time in relation to powered access – is "The powered access market is now saturated and mature" 

This means that everyone who might be able to benefit from using an aerial lift is already doing so. In my teenage daughters parlance "Get Real!" you only need to look at our Death Wish series to see that this is patently not the case. And if you ignore this perhaps you can tell me how thousands of ladder and scaffold companies continue to earn a crust?

And finally all this makes no allowance for the fact that the majority of the world’s population have no idea about powered access or certainly have never considered using it. 

The telehandler market also has some enormous growth potential, the arrival of more compact and larger models will help extend the opportunities in even the almost mature markets. With cranes it is a little more challenging although even here there are some excellent opportunities for specific models such as those involved with the renewable energy business and mini/spider cranes, and cranes suited to congested city centre work. 

The point is that there are still plenty of opportunities even during these hard times. The secret is adapting to and exploiting them. I know that this can be easier said than done and previous investments can of course be like a ball and chain when trying to change direction. 

The key thing though is to focus on is the real business you are in.. and that is not 'All Terrain crane hire' or 'Boom and Scissor lift rental' just as our trade is not magazine publishing. 

Providing lifting solutions, high efficiency/safer work platforms and specialist information on working at height and lifting is what we all ought to consider as our respective trades if we are all to adapt and grow over the longer term.


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Will we ever learn

Leigh W Sparrow, Publisher

Once again we are on the verge of a major trade war as a tariffs and protectionism are promoted as a simple solution a range of complex issues. Will they work? Are they misguided? Or just a simplistic reaction the challenges of change?





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