Loading Systems | Through the eyes of #RealPeople | Blog written by Jason Sullock, Marketing Manager for Pickerings Lifts.
I’m Jason. I joined Pickerings Lifts as their Marketing Manager, literally just before the pandemic hit, and as I’m sure you’ll understand, it caused a lot of things to be put on hold for quite some time. One of the things put on hold, was me being shown around a customer’s loading bays in North Yorkshire, by Ken Oldfield, our Loading Systems Product Manager.
Ken’s a bluff Yorkshireman, with a dry sense of humour, and a no-nonsense, this-is-how-it-is approach to his job.
When we eventually meet up it’s on one of those glorious blue sky days, between the freezing cold snaps at the end of March this year. Now don’t forget, we’ve already met, because we’ve been working together, but this is the first chance I’ve had to actually go on a field visit.
Ken starts by telling me that “loading systems is a catch-all term that covers a huge range of products and services.”
It turns out there’s no easy definition of what the phrase ‘loading systems’ means.
“Roughly, it covers all the equipment and in-situ items, within a loading bay area of a warehouse, logistics hub or production facility, that help improve or speed-up the loading and unloading of road transport or freight carriers.”
“Well, that’s a bit of a mouthful.” I reply.
Ken laughs. “Put simply, it’s anything that helps you load, or unload stock, to or from a truck.”
Which makes a lot more sense.
“But the trouble is,” he continues, “because loading systems is such a catch-all term, hardly anyone uses it.
You see, customers are only interested in the specific product they need. So they’re far more likely to ask for ‘high-speed doors’, ‘scissor lifts’ or ‘dock levellers’ rather than ‘loading systems’.
“Okay” I reply, “That rings true. So when most people are looking to purchase something, they start by Googling it – tell me where the ‘Nearest dock leveller installer” is, for example. You Google specifics if you know what you’re talking about… and I can imagine the people who ask about loading systems, already know what they’re talking about.”
“Exactly! Our prospects and customers are professionals in their own right. Many have decades of experience in what they do. They see through anyone who doesn’t have the knowledge, and most already have a very good idea of what they want to do, and how they want to achieve it.”
I pause, then ask “So if that’s the case, and they already know what they want, how do they make up their minds who to buy from?”
Trust and experience
Ken smiled “Well, it’s all about trust. The buyer needs to have trust in the person they’re buying from. They need to know that you know what you’re talking about. They also need to know the company you work for can supply their needs, and that the engineers who are going to install and maintain the equipment, have the experience to deliver on time and on budget.”
“And I take it we do all that?” I asked.
“Oh yes, we do it in spades!” He smiles, then continues.
“Let’s start with experience. I’ve been in this trade… selling roller-shutter doors, bridging plates, loading houses, traffic systems, scissor lifts, and the like, for over 25 years. My brother’s in loading systems too. He covers the south of England and Wales for Pickerings Lifts. Mike Armstrong, who runs our division, has worked with loading systems for more than 18 years, and Simon Parton, the Regional Manager for the North, has a further 20 years in the trade.
On top of that experience, we have 37 engineers spread across the UK, who are installing, servicing and maintaining loading dock levellers, vehicle restraints, and the whole range of other loading equipment, every single day. Pickerings Lifts itself has been providing lifting systems since 1854. And we’ve been installing modern loading systems for over thirty years.
Now, don’t get me wrong, we’ve come on a long way since then, obviously, but you get the picture?
And, I tend to find you don’t stay in a trade if you hate it, or you’re no good at it. I know I’m blowing my own trumpet here, but we – Pickerings Lifts – are good at what we do.
We should be after all these years.
It’s a bit like that old advert ‘Nobody ever got fired by choosing IBM’. In this case, we’re IBM.
Largest independent installer and lift maintenance provider in the UK
We’re the largest independent installer and lift maintenance provider in the UK… we have thirteen regional offices, and we’re still family-run, so we have good customer service ethics.
If you call us, you won’t be speaking to an automated system, or a call-centre somewhere in London, Europe or, heaven forbid, somewhere else abroad. You’ll be speaking to someone local to you… and chances are, they’ve worked for Pickerings Lifts for a lot of years too.”
“And we can prove all this?” I ask.
“Absolutely. If prospects or customers need testimonials, or reference sites, all they have to do is ask.
Look at it this way… what we do needs to work. Loading systems need to work! They’re usually the life-blood of a company, and they’re often working 24-hours a day.
If they don’t work, then somebody’s profits are being hit, and we’re employed to install, service and maintain their kit so they can minimise that happening.”
“Alright then. That’s good enough for me.” I answer.
“Okay. Let’s take a walk-through of the warehouse and dock area.”
And so, a year after the pandemic started, and after going through several sets of security, we make our way through the warehouse to the rear of the building to see what loading systems we offer.
The best way I can show you is to paint you a picture, so I’ve created an infographic for you.