It comes as no surprise that the world could use a little more positivity right now. And Skyjack, a Canadian access and material handling equipment manufacturer, has come to the rescue.
In July 2020, the company unveiled their WE RISE global campaign. Its focus is to build upon the company’s core values and the steps the rental industry has taken to become stronger and more connected with communities and employees during COVID-19 and its aftermath.
They aim to do that by recognizing the positivity in the rental industry by highlighting the steps people are taking to get back to growth. They’re encouraging rental companies and business owners to share their stories of things like community donations, volunteering, customer care and protection, staff care, and new approaches or practices for the “new normal.”
In a press release, Skyjack President Ken McDougall said, “In the past few months, we have seen how COVID-19 and other social issues have changed the way our customers and we see the world. These have been serious and worrying times. However, out of adversity comes strength. We aim to support the rental industry during the good times and the bad, and we have been heartened by the positive attitude of the rental industry.”
Rental spoke with McDougall to find out how the campaign was started, its lessons for the industry, and Skyjack’s outlook for the future of the rental industry.
Q. How did the idea of the WE RISE campaign come to fruition?
The last six or more months have been disruptive for everyone. Skyjack, like many other businesses, were meeting daily to manage the crisis. As you can imagine, the mood was negative at times. Yet from time-to-time, our mood was lightened by reports of community spirit, and many of these stories involved rental companies.
Therefore, we thought about what we can do that celebrates human nature and the extent to which our own rental community has rallied around the communities where they are located. That led us to WE RISE. Specifically, WE RISE refers to a quote from Robert R Ingersoll, a 19th century writer and orator, that says, “We rise by lifting others.”
Q. Skyjack has an extensive history of community outreach and support. What makes the WE RISE campaign stand out?
I think the one thing that stands out is the scale of the global campaign. So far, we have stories from China, New Zealand, and Europe, as well as North America. Equally, it does not have to be about our equipment; many stories are about people and what they have done within their community and with their own time and resources.
Q. What do you foresee the WE RISE campaign teaching the rental industry? What are some lessons that can be taken away from this campaign?
I am not sure we are looking to “teach” anyone, but more to learn by what others have done and to inform the rest of the rental community and focus on the positive. The takeaway so far is that “tough times do not last, but tough teams do,” and the rental industry is a great example of that. Also, for all of us to see the good in humanity and that the stories of support and giving back may provide a sense of hope or at least bring a smile in a time where we aren’t seeing enough “feel good” stories.
Q. Are you seeing a lot of positive stories and reactions for the campaign? What has been one of your favorite stories so far?
Yes, that is what it is all about. Each month, we highlight the one that has appealed to us most. The latest is a husband who rented a Skyjack scissor lift to visit his wife in a long-term care facility.
Q. In such a difficult time, how can rising others within the rental industry benefit the industry as a whole?
The stories we have heard so far have one thing in common…community. Whether it be the community within a rental company or the wider community supporting healthcare workers and charities. Sharing stories like this with a wider audience can draw the attention globally to the great things that are being done within the rental industry, thereby raising the positive profile of rental.
Q. What do you think is the best way rental businesses can approach COVID and 2020, and get back into growth and opportunity?
First, by remaining positive. COVID has taught us about flexibility and responsiveness, so a culture of agility is going to be important. Increasingly, that agility is going to require quick decision making and that, in turn, demands live data from business systems, telematics, and the like.
The other important item is that we remain calm and controlled, as the entire industry and the entire world is going through the same issues with COVID. Making short-term and uncontrolled decisions will only harm the market and industry for the longer term, and this would outweigh any perceived short-term gains.
Q. What is your outlook for the future of the rental industry post-COVID?
At a high level, the fact remains that the fundamentals that drive rental penetration are unchanged. The demand remains in major markets for infrastructure development. It’s going to take some working through, and as things stand this minute, we would anticipate seeing improvement in the latter quarters of 2021. It’s probably more about how the rental industry does things that will change.
Q. I think one of the most important facets of this challenging time we’re living in is innovation. What are you seeing come out of the rental industry in this regard?
Ironically, we have had more interest in our telematics, ELEVATE, that allows more effective fleet management. This allows not only more effective fleet management but also feeds into some of the needs for social distancing as many items can be diagnosed and/or predicted using ELEVATE rather than a direct service call. Other innovations will continue to become paramount as we collectively look for ways to increase ROI in rental fleets and with the OEMs.
Q. What is next for Skyjack?
Well, 2021 will be an exciting year. Hopefully, we will see some improvement in terms of COVID. The first quarter will see us launch a number of new products. Whether we have a traditional tradeshow season or we “go virtual” we will have to see, but we know we have at least four exciting projects to talk about in 2021.
In return for sharing stories, any submissions will be entered into a drawing for a free SJ3219 or its cash equivalent to be donated to a charity of the winner's choice. The winner will be revealed in 2021. In addition to the main drawing, each entry will receive a Skyjack thank you gift.
Stories can be submitted to: skyjack.com/we-rise.
As McDougall said, “As we say at Skyjack: ‘Tough times don’t last, but tough teams do.’ This is true of Skyjack, but importantly, it is clearly evidenced in the rental industry as a whole.”