For a company that was founded in 1998, Combilift has made extraordinary headway in terms of developing new lines of material handling equipment and expanding its global footprint, all from its home of Monaghan, Ireland. Engineers Robert Moffett and Martin McVicar founded the company and lead it to this day, overseeing its early growth throughout Europe and then into North America where it now has approximately 100 dealers representing, and often stocking, its products. Paul Short is the vice president of North American Sales, and is based in Greensboro, North Carolina. A full inventory of spare parts are also housed at this location.
“Combilift was always meant to be an exporter, since Ireland is a relatively small country,” he says. “But we design all of our equipment, manufacture the chassis, and assemble a few components from longtime local suppliers, such as dashboard gauge professionals, here in Monaghan ready to be shipped. We shipped to 85 countries last year, in fact.”
Short says the impetus for the pace of the company’s growth as well as the diversity of its product lineup comes straight from its customers. “From the very beginning, they’ve told us what they need – machines to carry massive weights, or extremely long, large circumference metal pipes, for instance – and our job is to make it. Once we’ve addressed their need, we take a look at the larger market, because that customer may have identified what could become a new product line for us. Plus, if something is a problem in one place, it’s generally causing another manufacturer problems somewhere else.”
Its product categories are primarily grouped in four ways: pallets and long loads; long load handling; oversized/heavy goods; and warehouse solutions. But each of those areas is comprised of dozens of designs for specific applications, counting more than 80 to choose from, as well as categories such as machines specifically for work in poultry operations and pedestrian equipment. Short says that Combilift reinvests 7 percent of its annual revenue to R&D to keep this spirit of innovation alive.
One of the primary benefits the company provides to its customers is space optimization. A Combilift planner can walk into a warehouse, learn about the product flow, and suggest equipment and strategies that can both increase a facility’s storage capacity as well as employee safety. There are circumstances where a company has experienced a period of growth and wants to avoid slipshod additions to its warehouse, plant floor, and material flow. That’s one point at which Combilift would be an invaluable resource in helping make that a seamless transition. Or a company may be creating an entirely new operation, physically adjacent to other operations but otherwise independent. That would be an ideal time to consider Combilift a resource for helping plan and equip a leading-edge material handling operation from the very beginning.
But it’s probably the companies that have been dealing with unorganized and inefficient storage and material flow systems that would most appreciate the transformation Combilift can provide. Sometimes it’s hard to think clearly until you’ve minimized the surrounding clutter, after all, whether that involves noise, bulky boxes being stored temporarily that will just cause another headache when they have to be moved again, those strange zones where things begin to accumulate that nobody remembers what they were once for. Those are probably the folks who would most appreciate an optimized warehouse with increased capacity, material-handling equipment specifically designed to accomplish the task your operation requires, and just not having to start each day worrying about what goes where, and how.
“We want people to know that we’re a resource they can call on whenever they want to improve or optimize their storage and material handling challenges,” Short says. “We’re here, and we can help.”