Photo by Genie
Genie Z 45fe City

Interview with Terex’s Simon Meester: Flexibility of Performance

Sept. 27, 2020
Simon Meester, chief operating officer, Terex (Genie), talks with RER about the company’s response to COVID-19, its ANSI-compliant product line, the potential of electrics and hybrids and its maximum-range telematics solution.

RER: What are the latest safety developments from your company?

Meester: You can’t talk about safety and health in 2020 without mentioning COVID-19. We have a manufacturing facility and team members in China, and our China team was on the front lines of developing health and safety protocols to allow our teams to return to work safely. Our teams in other parts of the world were then able to leverage our China team’s experience to put health and safety protocols into place globally that are helping keep our team members safe during the pandemic so we can continue delivering our commitments to our customers.

In terms of products, we had the new ANSI and CSA standards that took effect earlier this year. Our team has been working for several years now to make sure our boom and scissor lifts were updated to meet the requirements of these standards. Our XC boom lifts, for example, were designed with these new standards in mind and they were introduced a few years ago. Our scissor lifts were also updated to meet the new standards requirements. In addition to platform load sense, they also have standard folding guardrails, standard swing gate and dual zone control, which allows them to be operated indoors or outdoors.

What impact has COVID-19 had on your business and what do you expect going forward? 

The impact of COVID-19 on the aerials industry has been significant, starting with slowdowns we saw in several parts of the economy, like, for example, entertainment and travel. These slowdowns caused rental companies to adjust their Capex plans, which reduced demand and impacted equipment manufacturers. We do expect the market to come back over time.  

What have been the latest developments in your company’s product line in the past year

As mentioned, we launched our XC boom lineup in late 2017, well in advance of the ANSI standards change. As a result, we now have more than 12,000 ANSI-compliant booms already in the field, fully proven and making money for our customers every day.

To give customers the flexibility of performance and cost of ownership, we launched the J-series, which started with the S-60 J boom and will follow shortly with our S-80 J. We also launched a brand-new hybrid drive, the Z-45 FE, which gives our customers a fuel-efficient option coupled with the advantages of electric drive. Together, these three product lines — XC, J and FE — allow our customers to match the right boom to the right job and manage their ROIC more granularly.

In the second half of 2020, we will be launching the aforementioned full range of ANSI-compliant scissors with a few exciting surprises that I don’t want to reveal just yet! 

What have been the most important recent trends in aerial product development and what trends look most important in the near future? 

The ANSI/CSA Standards, telematics and electrification. In terms of telematics, we are only just starting to scratch the surface on the use of data to more effectively and efficiently manage, maintain and utilize capital equipment. In terms of electrification, there is obviously a lot of potential for electric power. With the right design, the right cost, and for the right applications, electric power can deliver improved ROIC for our customers.

Now that new ANSI standards have become a reality, how would you assess the impact they are having so far?  How are customers adapting to newer machines with load-sensing technology, terrain-sensing, indoor/outdoor restrictions and so on?

The industry has gone through standards changes many times before and is very responsive when they happen. We introduced our XC booms in 2017 so, for booms, we have several years of experience and I would say our customers and their customers have responded well. We have helped them with training, and the changes have made their way into standard, day-to-day processes and operations. With scissor lifts, as the industry continues to learn and adapt to the changes, we are still at the beginning of the process, talking and working with our customers daily, providing training and replicating what worked for them when we did boom lifts. 

What level of demands are you seeing for electric MEWPs, hybrids, alternative fuels? 

We see a lot of potential for electric drive, especially for specific jobs that have the available battery charging infrastructure. We are at a point where the technology can cost effectively deliver on the performance requirement for a sizeable part of the jobs out there. But there will continue to be jobs where a hybrid solution makes more sense (hence our FE line) and jobs where it will take a few more years before full electrification will be the best choice.

How do you see adoption of telematics systems changing the rental industry?

Telematics is a critical tool that enables our customers to more effectively and efficiently manage their assets. It helps them save time, save money and increase their asset utilization. The opportunities go way beyond just location and operating hours. I personally believe we are still only at the beginning of realizing what digitization can bring to our industry. That’s why we have brought a solution to the market that gives the maximum range of data/sensor options so our customers can leverage this opportunity not only now, but for years to come as they continue to explore and evolve its application.