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16 April 2012

David Beatenbough talks about LiuGong’s achievements and its ambitions.

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David Beatenbough  liugong
David Beatenbough currently vice president of Research and Development for LiuGong
The year 2012 has been a milestone for Chinese construction equipment manufacturer LiuGong.

In January it announced completion of the purchase of Polish company HSW (Huta Stalowa Wola) and its distribution subsidiary Dressta, LiuGong’s first outright acquisition outside its domestic market.

HSW produces bulldozers and other crawler machines, while LiuGong is ranked as the largest wheel loader manufacturer in the world, and is also said to be among the world’s fastest growing CE companies.

David Beatenbough, currently vice president of Research and Development for LiuGong, has been named chairman of the board of the new entity, LiuGong Machinery (Poland).

While he says people are seeing a temporary slow-down in the China market, outside China things look very positive for LiuGong.

“We’re seeing good results in Europe which has encouraged us to continue increasing our commitment there. Optimism is running high in the Americas especially. Because of LiuGong’s value proposition, we see some keen interest as a result of a slower global economy,” says Beatenbough, who outlines the company’s strategy to cope with fierce worldwide competition.
“Quite simply: doing a better job. Better products, products that match customer needs exactly, and giving the product support our customers deserve. We’ve worked especially hard delivering what customers are clamouring for, which is reducing operating costs while increasing efficiency and productivity.”

He says that, like some other companies, LiuGong has restructured its organisation, but the organisation change has been driven by growth of the company in the last few years, not from a desire to reduce overheads.

“We have aligned the company into divisions based on product lines. Each division carries P&L [profit and loss] responsibility. Our main driver for this change was to bring every product line management closer to the customer, and drive improvements faster. In addition, we are expanding our production capabilities rapidly.

“When we do, we install state-of-the art equipment for our production lines and warehouses which helps us continuously gain efficiency.

“For product, of course, we meet engine emissions requirements for the markets we sell into: Stage 3B where required, but lower levels of engine emissions in markets where available fuel quality is not suitable for the high standard engines.

“For sustainability our new designs consider reusability for all components and materials. We also have high requirements for our factories where emissions must be reduced on a continuous basis and energy consumption must be reduced every year, for all of our factories.”
Looking at the global picture, Beatenbough says that growth is one of Liugong’s main global ambitions.

“As mentioned above to achieve them we must simply do a better job: the right products, the right quality, and the right support.

“In simple terms, we are growing our global distribution network constantly to ensure every market has highly trained local dealers. On the manufacturing side, we are building new factories and R&D centres so we ensure we can supply product.

“We are acquiring new product lines from respected brands, and adopting technologies when that makes sense. We are already pursuing Six Sigma quality, but recently have re-engineered our product development process to align it more tightly with customer requirements.”
Meanwhile, INTERMAT is a chance for LiuGong to showcase its deeper involvement in the European markets.

“Since the last INTERMAT we have expanded greatly. We have opened our European subsidiary, we have added a logistics centre, and a spare parts depot in Western Europe and expanded our production to include manufacturing in Poland. INTERMAT is also the first opportunity LiuGong will have to display its new line of Dressta crawler dozers.”

A few highlights includes the launch of LiuGong’s new E series excavators [10am, 16 April] and the company will also show three Dressta dozers, the TD-40E, TD-20M and TD-14M, although “much we will reserve until the opening,” says Beatenbough.

However, going forward LiuGong is always looking for the right opportunity to grow, either organically or through acquisitions.

“We will not expand just for the sake of expanding. However, expansion opportunities must match LiuGong’s strategic goals before we will invest,” says Beatenbough.

“If you look back over the past few years, you will see we grew through a variety of methods: we acquired HSW and several other companies; we announced a joint venture with Cummins, and we built factories domestically and abroad. All of these steps, along with increasing our market share, have contributed to our growth. We think this is a healthy and diversified approach.
“In general we are looking to increase the density of our coverage and improve the quality of our coverage worldwide.

“We have just taken on the Dressta distribution organisation and we are understanding the additional strengths this gives us. 

“We expect significant increases in most markets. Although European markets are not that strong, we are increasing our coverage in those areas so are experiencing significant growth.

“Our increased product offering from both our internal development efforts and through our acquisition of Dressta is drawing a great deal of interest around the world.”

Stand: Hall 6:  Stand: 6 L062