....a load off my mind!

Big Things Come in Small Packages

The launch of our new catalogue is as much symbolic of our growth as it is a celebration of our industry leading product range.

FullSizeRender (2)I said in my last blog that this month’s catalogue launch would represent one of the most significant milestones in Straightpoint’s history. However, only when the first copies arrived at Havant headquarters did it really strike me just how momentous the occasion was. As soon as I opened it, the catalogue made even last year’s edition look dated. It demonstrated just how far we have come over the past 18 months.

The new catalogue represents the culmination of months of hard work and dedication from the whole Straightpoint team—a process that for many started at the turn of the year. So committed were we to hit our target distribution date of 1st April that a number of staff spent the last weekend of March in the office. We created something of a production line with one person putting folders together, another counting catalogues and me taping DHL labels on the packages. I don’t think any were upside down!

The DHL driver’s face was a picture when he arrived to collect the catalogues for distribution. I don’t think he expected a company our size to be able to generate so much information. I guess that’s testament to the scale of our growth. The level of distribution and impact the catalogue will have across the world is something we should be very proud of.

As soon as the new catalogues were being opened before the Easter weekend, the telephones were ringing and emails were arriving from our distributors and partners in all four corners of the world. I know what Pieter van Duijn, commercial director at our Dutch partner Van Gool, meant when he called the new catalogue “fresh”.
Our designer, Ian Gregory, IG Designs, who was up until the early hours of the morning working on it towards the latter stages of production, deserves a huge amount of credit for the design and visual impact of the brochure. Many pointed to the sharp design, breadth of information and general saleability of the new catalogue.

New products

Of course, what stood out for most was the volume of new products and enhancements to our industry leading range of force measurement, load monitoring and suspended weighing load cells. In the opening pages, we detail the new, remodelled Radiolink Plus. Our best selling product by some distance now features improved ingress protection to IP67, increased battery life to 1,200 hours and reverse polarity circuitry to protect the load cell should the batteries be inserted incorrectly. From mid-2015 the Radiolink product is available for use in zone 0 hazardous areas; we will be able to offer the Radiolink ATEX IECEx approved with classification Ex ia II C T4 Ga.

Pages 4 to 7 present our Wireless Loadshackle and Wireless Compression load cell ranges. These products are now fitted with a new chassis that will give all the benefits of the Radiolink Plus. Our popular SW-MWLC wireless data logging software is also improved allowing the operator the ability to view and data log up to 100 Straightpoint wireless load cells simultaneously!

As the pages are turned, great products keep coming: our wireless accessories on pages 10 and 11 now include the addition of a new SW-SD LED ‘score board’ LED display and a rugged, industrial windows tablet, while our cabled Loadshackle range is detailed on pages 16 and 17, before the compression load cells on pages 20 and 21—now fitted with an o’ring protected machined enclosure that ensures that the load cell can be used in the harshest environments.

The new Low Headroom link is on pages 18 and 19, designed for use where space is a premium and accurate measurements are required. Designed with the entertainment rigging industry in mind this will soon become a very popular product in the Straightpoint catalogue. This is a niche sector we will take very seriously over the next couple of years.

Welcome to Aaron Orsak

In the UK, Hayley Willis is settling into her new role in purchasing, having taken over from Tanya Gregory, who is leading the company’s marketing efforts. Meanwhile, across the pond, I am thrilled to announce that Aaron Orsak has joined the Straightpoint team in the position of technical sales engineer, reporting to John Molidor and based in Houston, Texas.

Aaron will cover Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama and brings a wealth of experience in the lifting and rigging industry. In fact, he sold many Straightpoint products during his time working at Bishop Lifting who are one of Straightpoint Inc.’s biggest customer. More recently, he had experience with Certex, who are standard-bearers in the

straightpoint team

John Molidor (right), General Manager Straightpoint USA and Aaron Orsak (left), Technical Sales Engineer

New recruit Hayley Willis embraces a Straightpoint load cell

New recruit Hayley Willis embraces a Straightpoint load cell

fall protection industry as well as providing industrial rescue courses and critical testing services.

We are very excited to have Aaron on board. The nature of our industry’s supply chain means we can introduce people to the business who already have an intrinsic understanding of the marketplace and our products. Of course, Aaron will still spend the coming weeks working with John and the team in Camarillo to get fully up to speed with the role and will also visit UK headquarters to complete his induction process.

Personalities are very important to our growth strategy. Hayley has proved to be a great addition to the UK operation and I know Aaron will fit in equally well in the US. When John and I decided it was time to grow the North American team, Aaron was the first person we thought of. We plan to grow aggressively in the Houston area and Aaron will be a perfect fit when we are looking for someone to lead that operation when we open an office in the not too distant future.

It’s been a privilege to share the highlights of another busy, challenging and exciting month at Straightpoint. I hope you enjoyed reading this—and the new catalogue!

Mr Loadlink

It’s amazing what can be achieved with a vacuum cleaner …

Optimism Fuelled by First Trade Event of 2015

It’s amazing what can be achieved with a vacuum cleaner and a cold beverage, as proved during setup for the Topsides, Platforms & Hulls Conference & Exhibition, which took place in Galveston, Texas earlier this month (February).

Trade shows and conferences are hard work but the rewards can be great. For visitors, trade events start as the doors open but as exhibitors we often find ourselves onsite hours, sometimes days, earlier to setup. I have a huge amount of respect for companies who market themselves at these events given the scale of the time and economic investment involved.

At very large companies it is common for the top brass to arrive only as the doors to the event open, leaving setup to marketing teams and other staff, but John Molidor, the general manager of Straightpoint’s stateside operation, and I are hands-on throughout the process and we always like to have the stand just right.

No job too small for Mr Loadlink

No job too small for Mr Loadlink

We try to give ourselves the best possible chance of success by making the stand look as appealing and eye-catching as possible. That’s why our exhibition kit includes a vacuum cleaner that John kindly caught me using on camera! Seriously though, attention to detail and even the way you appear on your stand can make you seem more approachable, which is very important at any event, especially one like Topsides where end users from the lucrative oil and gas industry roam the aisles.

We knew Topsides would present a unique opportunity to interact with end users who apply equipment to the design, engineering, construction, transportation, installation, and modification of topside structures, platforms and hulls, so setup was as important as ever.
Whatever the demographic, it’s possible to get a sense for how an event might unfold even as early as setting up the stand. If you turn up at the designated time and fellow exhibitors are downbeat and unenthused about creating a visual representation of their products and services to capture the imaginations of attendees and delegates, or organisers have poorly filed paperwork and reluctantly engage with their sponsorsand supporters, it’s a good indicator that the event might not go off with a bang.

John and I were thrilled with the leads we received and quickly signed up to exhibit again next year where we will no doubt catch up with our new friends and generate lots more interest in the product range.

 

Galveston is a coastal city that reminded me a lot of Portsmouth near where I live and I look forward to returning in 2016 when the event takes place 9-11 February at the Moody Gardens Hotel & Convention Center. The seafood was also outstanding!

Topsides setup

John and I pause for breath during Topsides, Platforms & Hulls Conference & Exhibition setup.

Assembling a trade show stand is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

Assembling a trade show stand is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

The Straightpoint booth finally ready for the doors to open at the Topsides, Platforms & Hulls Conference & Exhibition.

The Straightpoint booth finally ready for the doors to open at the Topsides, Platforms & Hulls Conference & Exhibition.

New catalogue coming soon

While we all keep in touch when we’re travelling, it is always exciting to return to the office to see the great work that has been taking place while I’ve been away. It’s been all hands to the pump at Havant headquarters to prepare for the launch of our new catalogue, which will be released on 1 April and represents one of the most significant milestones in Straightpoint’s history.

We generally release a catalogue every year outlining modifications and improvements to equipment but the latest edition is generating unprecedented interest from our distributor network as it contains the details of a number of brand new products and innovations, including our new wireless handheld display. I don’t want to say much more than that in case it spoils the surprise!

The production process started a long time ago in our engineering department where the new products were tested and specifications outlined for each load cell or shackle, for example. Then the marketing team took it on to provide the written content and package the information in a way that it can be digested by our distributors and end users. Our talented marketing team highlight key product features so information about certain shackles dovetails with corresponding load cells to relate them to the variety of applications in which they will be used in the field.

Once we are happy with the content it will go through a design process so we have a working draft. Even then it will be dragged through the mangle an additional three or four times to make it as comprehensive as possible. We often get requests from dealers to top-up their supply of catalogues throughout the year so it is vitally important that we get it as close to perfect as possible.

I’m hugely excited about starting Q2 with the launch of the catalogue, especially as it is probably one of the most significant pieces of supporting literature that the company has ever produced. It will be converted into a PDF so customers can access the information digitally. Then we start the process again by adapting it to fit American A4 and convert it to imperial measurements. I know John and his team are relishing the prospect of distributing it to their stateside contacts.

It’s been a privilege to share the highlights of another busy, challenging and exciting month at Straightpoint. I hope you enjoyed reading.

Cheers!
Mr Loadlink