Heartiest congratulations to Tom Yasuda, new CEO at Multiquip. Hard to imagine somebody besides the legendary Irv Levine as CEO of that continually growing company, but my contacts at the Carson, Calif.-based supplier tell me that the highly respected Yasuda is more than capable of filling Levine's shoes. And he will have ample help with experienced leaders such as Roger Euliss, president of Multiquip's general construction equipment division, and MQ Power president Bob Graydon to collaborate with.
As for Levine, still Multiquip's chairman, he is still in the office every day and very much involved in guiding the company that he founded more than 30 years ago. Levine, who was inducted into the American Rental Association's Hall of Fame a few months ago, earned the loyalty of so many rental people by marketing his company towards rental companies and their unique needs at a time when not many suppliers were doing so. He played a big role in the growth of this industry and will be missed when he eventually retires.
But that time hasn't come yet. For now, maybe I'll start practicing a comedy routine so I can roast him in the style to which he's become accustomed.
Our cover story this month talks about the importance of the human element in communicating with customers. Sure that's not a revolutionary concept, but from some of the reports I've heard from the field recently, it's one that bears repeating. This is still so much of a relationship business, and the companies that maximize those personal relationships with customers are the ones that are going to be successful.
I wonder if any rental company has ever tracked what percentage of their customers that request a particular piece of equipment are actually requesting the correct item. One of the most important questions you can ask a customer is “What are you going to use it for?” So many rental people have told me that often what the customer asks for might work but that there is often a better way of doing it. To be able to say: “Sure you can use a backhoe, but have you ever tried a mini-excavator? You might be able to maneuver more easily in that tight space if you tried one.” Satisfied customers tend to become repeat customers.
That's why the human touch is so important and while technology is important, the expedience of it does not easily replace the human element.
I'm sure the many friends of Charles Snyder, recently retired CEO of Ameco, will be happy to know that his cancer — specifically non-hodgkins lymphoma — is in full remission and he has returned to a normal work schedule. Personally I can say I've known few finer people than Charles and I'm sure that opinion would be shared by most who know him. Best wishes for a speedy recovery for one of the best guys around.