RER: What impacts did COVID-19 have on your company as an aerial equipment manufacturer and on your customers?
Parisio: Sinoboom entered the North American market in February of 2020 during the ConExpo show in Las Vegas – right as the crisis was hitting on a global scale. So, obviously, this was a challenge in itself as we were limited in visiting and listening to customers -- which is really vital for us and allows us to show the Sinoboom difference in the aerial lift market. Despite the COVID-19 crisis, Sinoboom remained committed to the North American market, and although those first initial customer interactions were limited due to lack of tradeshows, events, and in-person visits, we were able to connect to customers virtually. We see a lot of business opportunities, especially in the digital world, going forward that came out of the pandemic. Due to the limited personal contact, the pandemic propelled new digital transformations for many businesses. For some, this digital transformation was out of necessity to keep businesses up and running the best they could. As often happens in times of crisis, COVID-19 brought forward new efficiencies in the way we do business, and the way rental does business and we will embrace many of those changes going forward.
What new equipment enhancements or developments has your company come up with in the past year?
As a new entrant to the North American market, Sinoboom has focused on introducing our full scissor product line, especially our electric drive scissor lineup to customers. Our first priority was to build customer relationships, listen and gain feedback from customers -- and the things we learn from those ongoing conversations will certainly drive future product improvements. We are proud to bring to the North American aerial lift market enhancements on our scissor line which cannot be found on any other scissor lift. Sinoboom’s scissor lifts come standard with unique bumper rails. These bumpers are mounted on the machine chassis and prevent paint and decal scratches.
The machine finish is also protected by our electrophoresis primer treatment. Sinoboom’s unique process of using a specific pigment paint mix combined with an extreme temperature oven to cure the paint has led to less rust and corrosion over time. Also, we are receiving a lot of positive feedback on our maintenance-free batteries, which have proven to be a very popular feature on our machines.
Any new safety enhancements or new safety products or accessories?
We are always pursing continual safety enhancements and improvements for Sinoboom products. But, honestly, our focus over the past year has been preparing and training customers on the ANSI A92.20 standard changes. We believe this to be a top priority in the North American aerial lift market today. These new standards can be confusing and will drive different operational changes to meet them, regardless of whether you are a manufacturer, rental house or operator. We knew it was important to readily partner with customers in answering their questions and support all questions regarding these new standards.
There is more interest and growing in electric, battery-operated machines and other alternatives to diesel these days. What is your company’s strategy in regard to electric machines, electric drives, hybrids and alternative fuels?
Since Sinoboom is a global manufacturer, we have already seen the trend toward electric aerial lifts in many other regions – notably Europe – and have substantial experience with that technology. Our product development team has been working aggressively on these types of alternative fuel innovations, and this can be seen in the Sinoboom electric products that we have already launched in other regions around the world. We expect demand to grow for energy efficient machines in North America and look forward to bringing these proven products to North America as soon as customer demand dictates it.
Leak protection systems have been a positive development in recent years? Do you expect other similar safety features?
Yes, we expect to see new safety features -- especially anything around improved productivity in MEWP’s. Sinoboom is focused on listening and understanding the needs of the end user to help find solutions to their jobsite needs. As I said, we take feedback very seriously and use it to influence our future product development plans and when adding similar productivity-enhancement features.
New ANSI standards have allowed larger loads on boom lifts. What other trends do you expect to see in the near future?
The most obvious is the trend toward more energy-efficient machines that still meet the demands of the jobsites and perform as well as their hydraulic-driven counterparts. Other large trends are around data and the digital transformation, including machine telematics. As customers are able to gather more data from machines thanks to telematics technology, it is important we partner with them to analyze this data. This valuable information will lead to product improvements that translate into lower cost of ownership and higher ROI for MEWP products, while at the same time also benefiting operators to maximize equipment uptime.
Widespread usage of telematics has been a positive development. What are some of enhancements your company has made in telematics and similar technology?
At this time, Sinoboom has not launched a formal telematics program in the U.S., although we are working towards having a full solution in the future. However, our machines have the connection point and capability to “plug & play” many different types of telematics solutions. We understand that operator information and machine feedback as a whole is very important for us as a manufacturer, for our rental customers and also end-users. An intelligent interface, as featured on Sinoboom MEWP models, are effectively the eyes and ears of the machine, and can help makes safe operation intuitive for ordinary users. User-friendly communication provides timely machine status updates and quick failure diagnosis. This helps avoid long waits for diagnostic appraisals and allows technicians to repair issues accurately and in much less time. This new technology is valuable and important for overall machine ROI and rental fleet uptime.
Are there particular features that customers are asking for in the evolution of aerial equipment?
We get continual requests for advancements that can help reduce the cost of ownership and increase ROI for end users. These requests come in many different forms -- whether it is someone asking for better on-board diagnostics, telematics, or improved battery technology. Based on customer feedback, we expect that more maintenance-free features, designed to improve equipment uptime and minimize servicing will become more popular in the near future. As I’ve noted, our maintenance-free batteries – which comes standard on Sinoboom scissor lifts – are very popular because these give rental customers one less maintenance feature to worry about and allow them to get to work faster.