Material Handling | Voice of Customer | 21.03.23

Increasing customer experience with Solideal On-Site Service – Testimonial from Gilles Robitaille

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Gilles Robitaille of Yale Industrial Trucks Inc., an Alta Equipment Group company, and Julio Otey, Territory Manager for Solideal On-Site Service (SOS), have known each other for over twenty years. Working in the same industry, they first crossed paths when Julio was Parts Manager at Les Chariots Kirmar and Gilles worked at Wajax. As both men shared values like transparency, honesty and authenticity, their relationship has evolved over the years, even as their careers led them to work with different companies. Now that Gilles is one of Julio’s customers, we spoke with him in a small Italian restaurant in Montreal, to learn more about his experience, the reasons that led him to choose SOS and his last years in the industry.

Relationships at the heart of Customer Experience

Gilles has worked in the manufacturing industry from the beginning of his career. He started at J.H. Ryder (now known as Crown), where he first learned the basics of forklifts. Not to mention his time at Hewitt, a Canadian distributor of manufacturing equipment, where he spent a few years. Gilles finally went to work at Yale, where he worked for more than 15 years.
“I have worked in all departments in this industry: parts, services, sales, etc. You end up knowing everyone, from the mechanic in the shop to the buyer at the management level.” - Gilles Robitaille
If there’s anything Gilles learned from his professional experience, it is that being respectful and receptive always go hand in hand. Creating relationships, and especially maintaining them, is how he came to learn more about other professions, to open up to new opportunities and to contribute to the sharing of knowledge.
“When you visit your client and you know one person in each department, it's easier. People end up changing jobs or companies, but you always keep an internal contact.” - Gilles Robitaille
In a world where in order to sell, you first need to be valued, Gilles adopted this philosophy: to remain as fair and as transparent as possible, in order to gain the trust of his partners. And he found these same qualities in Julio. Regardless of the problem he faced, he knew his sales rep would give him the straight facts. During our conversation, we quickly understood that the services offered by SOS represent a true added value for him.
“What is special today is that people are used to not having good service. With online shopping, people really buy differently. Before, you needed to offer good service. Now, service is constantly decreasing, and people accept that!” - Gilles Robitaille

Solideal On-Site Service Advantage

In the material handling, distribution and logistics industry, Camso has a key advantage that differentiates it from its competitors. With its service division, Solideal On-Site Service, technicians move from one location to another to provide tire replacement services right at the customer's location. Most suppliers do not have their own mobile press for forklift tires, a piece of equipment often perceived as a non-profitable investment. Gilles explains why this service is so important for him.
“If it weren’t for SOS, we would have a real problem changing the tires, because we have no press. It is not interesting for anyone to press only 2-3 tires. It's not efficient and we don't have the volume for someone to do just that.” - Gilles Robitaille
“Today, everyone wants to buy for less. The products are very comparable, so you choose who you do business with, where there is added value or a relationship of trust.” - Gilles Robitaille

Forklifts in the material handling industry

Gilles took a well-deserved retirement this year. Our meeting was therefore a great opportunity to learn more about the significant changes that occurred in the industry in recent years. Machine automation, labour shortage and supply chain issued caused by congestion at ports are some of the challenges he has witnessed. For forklifts more particularly, the growth of electrification is what mostly marked the industry.
“Going from propane to electric is the main trend since the last few years. And it started to be popular in forklifts before it did in cars.”- Gilles Robitaille
This shift in paradigm took some time to make its way among workers. According to Gilles, many were concerned that the new forklifts would be slower and less efficient than the older models, an issue that could certainly affect operational productivity. Fortunately, it turns out that the new generation forklifts are just as efficient and have, among other things, an electronic system that allows real-time monitoring of all mechanical functions. This technological development has a positive impact on the forklift comfort, stability and maintenance.
“Thanks to these electronic chips, we can see fault codes that allow us to know precisely what is happening with the forklift. We can even do some repair remotely. It's quite reliable.” - Gilles Robitaille
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