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Handling Specialty, an engineered specialty handling equipment manufacturer, promotes itself as operating in a prototype equipment niche, but actually, the Grimsby, Ontario-based company is quite diversified, President Tom Beach says. It makes handling equipment for the automotive, aerospace and defense, entertainment, transportation and advanced manufacturing industries.
From its 1962 inception into the mid-1990s, Handling Specialty was pigeonholed in the automotive market, but when that industry began to struggle, the company began to diversify. Now, when one market is up and another is down, the company enjoys a fair balance of work.
It caters to end-users and OEMs, and it works with many departments within an operation, be it procurement, project management or manufacturing.
“We are respectful of all these different disciplines at a company and pay direct attention to them and their particular needs,” Beach says, “in the end, hoping for a strong reference on all fronts and a repeat client, which, I think, is your ultimate goal. The client becomes very familiar with our supply chain in that they’ve already done business for us directly. This provides us with an immediate market of those who have an appreciation for the work we’ve done.”
Handling Specialty was founded in 1962 by George Mechan. Before Beach joined the team in 1984, he was managing a dealership for a large industrial equipment and supply company, which is how he met Mechan and then-Vice President Dennis Parass. When Beach and Parass met, a spark ignited and the two saw they were destined to be business partners.
“That relationship still exists now, 26 years later,” says Beach, who rose from sales representative to executive vice president to president in December 2009. “I left a business that I was doing very well in, but it was just one of those life-changing moments where you make a decision, commit to it and go. I knew that I wanted to work for this gentleman and his pursuits.”
Not long after Beach joined the company, Handling Specialty saw that the crane and scissor lift industry was becoming too saturated and driven to a commodity-based market. It ventured into the specialty handling equipment industry in the 1990s and evolved into a turnkey solutions provider. “We recognized that these turnkey projects have a demand for project management in which we are able to move projects from the sales group into actual client management through the process,” Beach says.
“We invested a great deal in final testing and validation of our equipment. We have produced the advanced research testing system that allows us to provide our clients with live, real-time, online evaluation of [a piece of] equipment’s performance during testing. We provide video links so that they can see the equipment from their computer.”
For Handling Specialty, the sky is the limit. “We have embarked on a journey for global business,” Beach states. “But we are taking it very slow as we try to learn what demands it may apply upon us so that we are ready and prepared to be successful when the opportunity knocks.”
The company has completed three overseas projects in the past five years. “With technology being what it is today, we can become very visible to international markets without expending a great deal of costs,” he says. “We plan to take advantage of the three projects performed internationally to determine if we can open up a business stream in Europe and the Middle East.”