Haulotte North America Opens New Headquarters

Last week, Haulotte North America held a grand-opening celebration at its new North American headquarters in Virginia Beach, Va.

The new location replaces the company’s former North American headquarters in Frederick, Md.

"We are now better positioned to deliver outstanding products and provide the required sales and service support, along with the quality training that this facility was designed for," said Claude Fuger, managing director of Haulotte North America.

"Our Virginia Beach facility now features the space and resources we had been looking for to maintain a competitive edge and to further demonstrate Haulotte Group's long-term commitment to North America," Fuger added.

The 83,000-sq.-ft. facility holds the company’s executive offices, customer sales and service support, an equipment showroom, and a training center, as well as warehousing and shipping of spare parts and finished equipment. The site also conducts repairs and pre-delivery inspections.

The new building is roughly six times as large as the 14,000-sq.-ft. facility the company occupied in Maryland. The parts storage area now holds an inventory of about 8,000 pieces, from which the team ships an average of 150–250 per day. About 90% of service parts ship the same day they are ordered.

The facility receives new machines that have been shipped to North America from Haulotte’s manufacturing plants in Europe and China, then inspects and prepares them for delivery.

One reason Haulotte selected the Virginia Beach location is its nearness to the port of Norfolk, Va., just 19 miles away, and the speed with which the port processes cargo. In most cases, units arrive at the Haulotte facility within one to two days after the ship docks. At the company’s former facility in Maryland, it could take a week or more.

Haulotte’s new North American headquarters will also receive and distribute aerial work platforms made at the company’s factory in Archbold, Ohio. “About 80% of the equipment we sell in North America is now made in our Ohio plant,” said Bernie Duque, vice president of AWP marketing & product management.

“Selecting a location and making the move took about two years,” said Fuger, who spearheaded the process. “Major considerations included nearness to a major port, finding the right size and type of building, the ability to quickly ship from the site to customers, and easy access for people coming for training,” he said.

Fuger praised the strong support and assistance from the local and Virginia state economic development organizations in helping Haulotte locate at the new site. “The economic development support people were welcoming and wonderful at helping us with grants, regulations, and many other aspects of locating here,” he said.  

The celebration included not only top managers from Haulotte North America, corporate executives from Haulotte’s world headquarters in France, and local dignitaries from the Virginia Beach area, it also encompassed all employees who work at the new facility, Haulotte regional sales managers from across the U.S. and Canada, and several dealers and customers.

Fuger says that the company is aiming to further develop a culture of openness, communication, respect, and a familial feeling. He pointed out that the new headquarters is designed with lots of open areas for employees to talk and that most offices have windows, not solid walls, looking out into hallways. “We want to make everything visible, transparent,” he says.

About 45 employees currently work in Haulotte’s new headquarters, and more than 60 to 75% of them were hired since the new headquarters opened last October. Within a year, the company will add 15 more employees at the location, for a total of about 60.

Customer service and support is a major focus at the new location. The company has hired a second trainer and the new building has a large training room that is in frequent use. In 2013, the company trained 168 dealer and customer service people. Last year, it trained 285. In the first three months of 2016, it has already trained 100.

The new facility also houses a large customer support center where parts and service experts linked to computerized databases are available to help customer technicians by phone and the internet.

Haulotte North America’s focus on delivering high-quality products and backing them with ever-better technical and service support appears to be succeeding. In 2015, sales rose 91% from the previous year, and things look bright for 2016, as well.

Alexandre Saubot, COO of the Haulotte Group came from France for the grand opening. Among his remarks, Saubot said, “I enjoy to see that our efforts have a return on invest, we have a motivated team who is customer focused and fully involved in providing global solution to support the business of our customers.”

The new headquarters is set up to help Haulotte North America do exactly that.  

Caption: Virginia Beach Mayor William Sessons (left) and Haulotte Group COO Alexandre Saubot cut twin ribbons to open Haulotte North America's new headquarters.