We strive to be truly ‘glocal’ in our approach, combining our global power and strength with local agility and a customer-centric focus.
With overall responsibility for our North American business and a key contributor towards our global activities and ambition, Mark Veydt has an enviable helicopter view of our entire operation. But there’s no doubt that his passion for his home territory has been one of the driving forces behind our 45-year history of success in the US. Here, Mark shares his observations on how the US market has changed over the last 4 decades, and why he is so proud to be able to deliver quality solutions and products manufactured within the US territory.
Mark Veydt – Quick Facts
Position: President Gantrex Inc. and Executive VP North America
Base: North America
Gantrex Career: Joined Gantrex in March 1988 in a Territorial Sales position. Mark then went on to hold a number of positions including Regional Sales Manager, Marketing Specialist and National Sales Manager before taking on his current position as President with both local and global management responsibilities.
Guiding Principle: Only by taking real pride in what you do, and understanding what your company stands for, can you deliver true value to your customers.
You’re part of a global operation, but the NAM region is one of the longest standing territories for Gantrex. What do you think has been the key to your success in the US for the last 45 years?
I believe our success has been built on customer relationships where we strive to be a stakeholder and trusted partner, as well as a solutions provider. The trust element in these partnerships is crucial and comes from us providing consistent quality, technical excellence and commercially viable solutions. In order to deliver all of this, we have been able to draw on resources within our own local teams, but also bringing in global support and expertise when required, providing the very best solution for our customers.
And what do you see as being the benefit to you and your customers of being part of a worldwide brand?
There’s no doubt that with an operation the size of Gantrex, we have a world leading resource of expertise and technical skill. However, for me, the way we channel those resources is key. We have an incredible knowledge base of technical, commercial and installation practices to draw on, whilst having the flexibility to align these with local expectation. Over the last 33 years that I have been with the business, I have seen the globalization of our industry and the challenges and opportunities that has presented to our customers. From new players, codes, norms and practices, our global scale means we have the insight and capability to assist, educate and inform, but our commitment and passion to our local markets mean we stay relevant. We strive to be truly ‘glocal’ in our approach; combining our global power and strength with local agility and a customer-centric focus.
Can you give an example where this has played out for a customer or project?
There are many examples that I can call to mind, but here’s two that I think represent this best.
Gantrex Inc. was involved with a North American crane manufacturer that was designing and supplying two of the world’s largest single Heavy-Lift Derrick “Super Cranes” used in the construction of two nuclear power plants. The size of these colossal cranes required unique details pertaining to every component, including the rail support system to handle the extremely heavy loads. The rail system involved dual 300’ radius circular rails installed with tighter than normal installation tolerances. The rail support details involved products not available in the North American marketplace. Gantrex worked closely with the crane designer/supplier and the plant construction management team in the design, supply, testing and installation to determine the total rail solution. This included visits to overseas testing laboratories to approve details prior to final installation.
In another instance, Gantrex supported a North American port consultant involved with the design and construction management of an international port project with multiple construction phases. The project involved various construction teams from China, Europe and the local port area. Our Installation teams were involved with each phase although under different sub-contracts with various civil works contractors from Europe and China, each with varied installation and project management techniques. As part of our role, we were able to support the North American consultant and coordinate with all stakeholders and the local port authorities by aligning communications as one global team to address the issues for the port client.
In your opinion what does good business look like in your market? What do you feel that your customers need and want?
Trust is everything and good business means being a trusted supplier. And there are many ways that we can demonstrate this. We provide tested, reliable products and services from design concept to execution, including after-market support with preventive maintenance guidance to ensure the optimum value is obtained by the customer. We do this through personal connections involving all of our team members, from sales, engineering, order processing, quality control, production and installation. We believe our customers seek reliable partners to provide a vast range of services in a commercially acceptable manner, who will then partner with us for the long haul, not just a single order.
Do you think this differs to anything you see in other Gantrex territories?
It’s only my opinion, but I believe the US and North American territories are by nature more demanding than many other Gantrex territories. Due to the size and depth of our territory, we see new companies and services entering the marketplace in an attempt to obtain market share. This creates price pressures to compete with products or companies with little or no product history, and we face continual challenges to illustrate and prove the long-term value we provide. That’s one of the reasons that we work so hard to build trusted partnerships with our customers, supply chain and in fact everyone we work with. We want to ensure that we continue to delight our partners, by investing time and resource to make sure we remain the go-to solution for their projects, with a clear, evidencable and understandable position on the quality and value that we provide.
When it comes to ‘Buy America’, how does this work for Gantrex? Can you explain where the products are manufactured?
There are a number of characteristics of the current market, such as manufacturing flexibility, delivery and cost pressures, which place heavy demands on all suppliers. However, as a Global company, we have a number of production centers and resources across the globe, with one of these having been based in North America since 1975. That’s why we can lay claim to a big portion of our NAM product supply being from a US manufacture source and how we can evidence a long history of working with US supply chain partners. So when it comes to Buy America, for every product we supply we can demonstrate local manufacture for Buy America specifications.
Where do you see the future growth markets in the States?
Our NAM operation is fortunate to work across virtually every industry vertical which affords us a privileged insight into industry trends and forecasts. Our customer market research has indicated a strong desire for trusted partnerships that can help maximize operational efficiencies by limiting downtime or unexpected rail issues that may impact operations. In line with that we see future growth in the development of analysis tools and services to support our customers in these efforts.
How do / do you see your role and that of your teams changing to meet those growth areas?
We feel a strong obligation to monitor our customer requirements and develop products and services to support their needs. My role is to build systems and teams in North America to support both our local and global strategies. Currently, that involves launching new products and services, such as the Gantrex TrenchLokTM cable protection system and Gantrex HingeGuardTM STS Short Rail as well as increasing our installation service capacities. We must also support our group R&D efforts, such as the CRAMIC (Crane Dynamics Study) research project and rail monitoring systems, which can provide future direction for customers and make significant positive impacts on operational efficiencies.
If you had to pinpoint one thing what would you say makes Gantrex NAM unique? What’s your standout?
That’s an easy one to answer. Our longevity. Gantrex is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and has strong brand recognition worldwide, which I believe backs up our promise of consistent quality and reliability. We also have many “lifers” in our organization who have pride in the company they represent and the value we offer.
And can you give an example of where this has been demonstrated on a customer project?
Sure. I recently visited a Gantrex installation project involving the demolition and rebuild of a woodyard crane rail system that was being performed during a plant-wide outage that had been shortened during the Covid environment due to the essential services this papermill offered. The log handling crane runway rehabilitation was one of the most critical projects during this outage and the plant project personnel were constantly monitoring our progress. While I was meeting with our Installation Services Manager and Lead Superintendent, the plant project manager visited to complement our team for their quality and professionalism. At this point, our superintendent announced that he was involved when Gantrex installed the original rail system 25 years ago! This was just one of many examples we can provide which illustrate the experience and value the Gantrex NAM team brings to a project.
You have been with Gantrex for 33 years. What is it that has kept you within the organization for this time?
One of the main reasons is the pride I have always felt being part of a company that has such a strong reputation for bringing experience and value to our clients, and having a direct impact on how that value is delivered. In addition, the diversity of projects and personnel we are involved with on a daily basis both locally and globally is exciting and rewarding. Finally, the family-like atmosphere we work hard to retain with colleagues is important, as they are an integral part of the value we provide.
What excites you most about the next 5 years? What can we look forward to from Gantrex NAM?
We have some really exciting and interesting projects coming down the track in the next 5 years. Many of these will bring innovation and NPD to our existing product portfolio along with service innovation. I can’t say much at this point but watch this space! There’s more news to come soon on this topic!
And if you had one piece of advice to give to the next generation of crane rail specialists what would it be?
Take pride in what you do. And take the time to really understand the values of the company you represent so you can communicate these to your customer. Understand that fulfilment and satisfaction are about more than what you earn, and that great pride and satisfaction can come from delivering an outstanding customer experience.