In our last blog post, we were interviewing Ed Henry, Eastern Lift Truck Co.'s Corporate Parts Manager. (To read the full interview, start there
and finish here.)
(Ed's responses are listed in italics.)
Ed, a minute ago you mentioned that we sell more than forklift parts. Please elaborate.
Ed Henry: Providing parts for all makes and models of forklifts will always be central to what we do. We’re very fortunate to represent some of the most respected forklift brands in the world, such as Hyster, Yale, Combilift, Load Lifter and Mariotti. But we also offer dock and door parts, components for cardboard balers and trash compactors. We are a great source for parts for commercial vehicles, and all types of warehouse equipment, like wrapping machines, conveyors, sweepers and scrubbers. We’re also a dealer for mobile railcar movers, yards trucks, UTVs and low-speed electric vehicles. We support all of those products as well.
As Eastern Lift Truck Co.’s Corporate Parts Manager, you’re at the top of a very large and important team. What, in your opinion, makes this team unique?
We have nearly 100 people working in our Parts Dept. as Specialists, Managers, Regional Inventory Control Managers, Coordinators, Administrators, Billing and Shipping & Receiving Clerks, Delivery people, etc. What makes our team unique is that we truly care about our customers. We’re knowledgeable about their operation and sensitive to their needs. Some of our customer relationships go back many decades. We are professionals and take pride in what we do. Not many other companies can match our combination of talent, experience and resources.
That’s impressive. When it comes down to it, our customers also obtain parts through our 400+ Service Technicians and 50+ Customer Service Representatives. So, in reality the people involved in our parts support network numbers 550+! That’s about 60% of our employees.
We have to ask, what are some of the challenges you face?
There are challenges. But they keep things interesting. No one day is the same as the next. We’re fortunate that due to our size we are able to carry a massive inventory of parts. Our company founder John Pruitt used to say “You can’t sell from an empty apple cart.” We still adhere to that philosophy and have great fill rates. We also have excellent and supportive vendors. You asked about challenges. As I've said, sometimes things like back-order issues crop up and we need to work through those. Also, our customers have varying degrees of expectations related to pricing, quality and availability. We do our best to meet or exceed all of their expectations. It’s also challenging to learn each industry we serve. Each one is different and has a different set of needs. But we relish that challenge. For example, we stock expensive but rarely used parts – even if we only sell them once a year – just for our port customers and jumbo forklift users. We know they rely on our parts to minimize their down-time. Our Parts Managers like Joey Cantagallo (Piscataway, NJ) really understand this and offer great support.
Eastern Lift Truck Co. continues to grow. Our recruiting team tells us there are a handful of parts jobs available right now, for specialists/associates in Baltimore, MD, Laurel, DE and Reading, PA, as well as a driver in Hagerstown, MD. What advice would you offer anyone looking to join our parts team?
I’ve always looked for people who have a strong work ethic and attention to detail. Taking pride in what you do is important. The material handling industry is very healthy and Eastern Lift Truck Co. offers many opportunities for growth.
Ed, we’ve enjoyed our time together. We’d like to close out this interview by asking about your family and life outside of work. Most people who have met you know that you are a runner. Can you tell us about that please?
Thanks. Well, my wife Val and I are blessed to have three beautiful daughters, Marissa, Meghan & Loren. I’m kind of a quiet guy, early to bed, early to rise. Most mornings I’m up by about 4 or 4:30 a.m. I like to work out before going to the office and I have a passion for running. I’ve qualified for and run the Boston Marathon several times and the NYC Marathon. All, awesome experiences. But one of my favorite running memories was when my daughter, Meghan, and I ran The Philadelphia ½ Marathon. We ran together for the entire distance. But as we approached the finish line, she took off and I couldn’t stay with her. We still joke about that.
Ed Henry is Eastern Lift Truck Co.’s Corporate Parts Manager. He works out of the company’s headquarters in Maple Shade, NJ and may be reached by calling (888) 779-8880.
This interview occurred on January 10, 2019.
Interviewer: Mike Edmonds, Director of Marketing & Business Development.