Munck Cranes Inc.
The Munck brand has been a trusted and reliable manufacturer of lifting equipment since 1924. Sverre Munck started the original brand in Norway, and the company remains one of the major crane and lifting equipment producers and suppliers in the world.
Munck Cranes Inc. started in Canada in 1983, and 2013 marked their 30th anniversary of providing exceptional products and engineering solutions to North American, Latin American, and the Middle Eastern markets. The company manufactures and services overhead bridge cranes, gantry cranes, hoists, under hook attachments, and transfer carts.
Over the years, this recognized industry leader has grown to over 90 employees in Stoney Creek, Ont., Buffalo, N.Y., and in the company’s brand new production facility in Mexico. Between its locations, the company currently produces between 100 and 150 pieces of “customer specific” material handling equipment annually.
Because Munck Cranes operates in a mature industry, the company faces a lot of competition from large multinational players, midsize companies, and small engineering firms that focus on specific geographical areas or industries. In this landscape, Munck Cranes’ success stems predominantly from the team’s ability to understand the clients’ needs and deliver quality product and custom solutions. Rather than becoming a cookie cutter or catalogue commodity producer, the company remained faithful to its niche markets, creating customer-centric solutions.
In this aspect, the company’s dedicated management and engineering teams always strive to be a “total” supplier, investing time into understanding clients’ needs, devoting its engineering skills to design application-specific material handling equipment, and contributing to the clients’ processes solutions, and so adding value to the customers’ operations both overhead, and on the plant floor.
“What happened in the industry is that large multinationals, in many cases, switched to treating their product as a commodity. Munck wants to disassociate itself from this model, and remain a design built provider. We provide custom solutions at affordable pricing,” says Mike Mikoda, President, and one of the founding partners of Munck Cranes Inc.
“The overhead crane has been around for centuries, and it’s still considered the most viable method of moving heavy loads today,” explains Stephen Marczi, Sales Manager, and continues, “We have seen many technological advancements in automation and communication speed, but this is usually only relevant to lightweight processes. When it comes to moving heavy weights, Munck is still one of the most recognized material handling brands of choice.”
The company supplies mining, steel processing and warehousing, pulp and paper, water treatment and sewage, fabrication and manufacturers such as automotive, ship building and repair industry, etc. The manufacturing sector remains the company’s bread and butter, and Munck Cranes provides manufacturers with total solutions, moving everything from clients’ raw materials coming into their plant, through the manufacturing process, and all the way to shipping the product out of the facility.
The ability to adapt its products to the clients’ needs has brought the company quite a lineup of new customers coming from the Ontario’s emerging green energy sector. Munck Cranes Inc., supplied innovative equipment designs to a variety of wind energy product manufacturers, such as wind tower manufacturers, blade manufacturers and rotor manufacturers.
“This is an emerging market in Ontario, and a quite interesting market for us. There has been a tremendous push towards wind energy in the province. The global wind energy equipment manufacturers are moving to Ontario, and we have successfully designed and installed application specific equipment for a number of these manufacturers,” says Marczi.
As it is the case with many professional equipment manufacturers, Munck Cranes also faces the issue of companies losing their knowledge base in the transition of retired employees. Formerly, the companies who used their in-house experienced and technical teams to build and service their facilities and processes have chosen to abandon this model and outsource expertise which results in slipping knowledge base. This trend leads company focus on the bottom line price rather than on the cost of operation seeking the best and most efficient process solutions.
“This situation has only developed over the past 10, maybe 15 years. We used to work with people who were knowledgeable about the crane operation, making purchase decisions on the product and its merits. Today, these decisions focus mainly on dollars and cents.
“In order for us to grow, we are adapting to this and becoming more and more customer-centric; we take the time to tie the clients’ crane needs to the whole of their production process, and educate them in what we are doing to enhance their production process, because an enhanced production process lowers the production overhead, therefore contributing to their return on investment,” says Marczi.
Munck Cranes also plans to grow by expanding its geographical focus outside its established markets. In Ontario, the company serves its clients directly, nationally, through its distribution network of authorized dealers, internationally, the company expanded to Mexico, where the company’s new plant officially opened on December 6, 2013. Here, the idea is to target the flourishing Mexican automotive, manufacturing and Latin American mining industry.
“These are the biggest sectors we are targeting today. Mexico is an emerging market and continues to grow very rapidly. I think our business growth has been and will be coming through product innovation. The innovation success will come from three key areas – effectively training and passing on our experience to our younger staff, adapting our technical sales approach to the market needs while changing to a customer-centric model, and our expertise in adapting our products to meet our customers’ needs,” says Marczi.
Targeting New Media
The company marketing and advertising also plays an important role in the company growth, and while the core of the industry changes slowly, the Internet and new media had proved themselves an important marketing tool for the company, as the new generation of media savvy engineers and managers enters the workforce.
“We work hard to showcase Munck Cranes Inc. online. We showcase what we are capable off, and how we can better serve our customer by adapting our products to their material handling needs,” explains Kevin Marczi, Marketing and Advertising. “Our online objectives are threefold. First, we strive to create a comprehensive, user-friendly online experience for our clients so they can find the product and information they seek faster. We also offer images, videos and brochures, so they can see our past projects and capabilities, and third, we educate and offer the option to ask our engineers questions about the products and their application challenges.”
While Munck Cranes faces shifting markets, in terms of both, challenges and opportunities, the company plans to remain faithful to building reliable equipment that best addresses clients’ needs. The goal is simple – continue to create not just solutions, but create satisfied customers wanting to return for the Munck Crane experience.