German KCI Konecranes subsidiary SWF is setting up a special programme to support older SWF-brand hoists. ‘Every year crane dealers are dying out or are bought by big companies like Demag or Abus, and then they don’t sell SWF hoist spare parts – they replace them with a Demag hoist,’ said communication manager David Rennert.

To support customers with old hoists, SWF will direct spare parts enquiries to a special network of dealers in Germany. These 10 dealers are SWF’s ‘strongest partners,’ said customer service manager Peggy Kleinhans – the ones that sell the most. They are not necessarily exclusive SWF customers, she said.

Four companies had been chosen and their staff trained as of February, she said, with the rest ready by June, she added, though she did not give the list of the chosen 10 dealers.

Chosen companies must send service technicians on a one-day training course. The training covers using the company’s new web-based stock-ordering system.

Provided the crane builder that originally set up the crane no longer exists, SWF would pass on spare parts or service enquiries to the nearest dealer.

* SWF has reported a 2004 business turnover of Euro 23m, up 30% year on year. The company’s income has grown from Euro 11.5m in 1999. ‘If we consider that SWF has no own service or crane building – which is the core business of SWF partners – it is quite a remarkable figure,’ Rennert said.

The company’s plans for 2005 include developing the Eastern Europe and Asian markets as well as a presence in the Middle East. Although it is not planning any new products, it has increased the number of technical seminars at its Mannheim head office.