Medley Material Handling Co.

Medley Material Handling Co. is a leading distributor of material-handling equipment – mainly forklifts – to companies large and small that need to store and move products. To continue growing, the company looks to broaden its equipment offering and gain new customers.

The Oklahoma City-based company was founded in 1941 by President Mark Medley’s grandparents, Joe and Francis. At that time, the company was known as Joe Medley Scale Co. and was a truck scale distributor. In 1956, the company grew organically into selling material-handling equipment when it began its long-term relationship with Yale, a manufacturer of lift trucks and warehousing equipment. The relationship continues until this day, and the company has received Yale’s “Dealer of Excellence” award for six out of the past seven years.

Today, Medley Material Handling not only offers forklifts, but also aerial, scissor, and telescopic boom lifts, loading dock equipment, pallet racking and other warehouse storage solutions for its customers in Oklahoma, west Texas and New Mexico. “We distribute to anyone who needs a forklift, which is a pretty wide range of customers,” Mark Medley says. “We provide service and distribution to anyone that makes something and needs it to be stored, put on a pallet and eventually shipped.”

Service Matters

Material-handling equipment needs to be reliable and when downtimes occur they can be costly to Medley Material Handling’s customers. “It’s a necessity to the user,” Medley explains. “They expect it to run, but it is mechanical, so when something does go wrong we come out and service the equipment.” 

To help its customers and also distinguish itself from its competitors, Medley Material Handling began servicing the equipment it distributes – along with all other warehouse equipment – about 15 years ago. Forklifts have become more technical, which requires a trained mechanic to service the equipment. 

“We service everyone’s equipment,” Medley adds. “We can fix anything in the warehouse. The fact that we aggressively sought out to repair other brands’ equipment took some business away from our competitors.”

The company’s timing was perfect when it began to service equipment. Over the past 20 years, Medley says he has noticed that the end-users have stopped using their own mechanics and are contracting out repairs to save money. “We were there and ready when they didn’t want to hire their own people anymore,” he explains. 

Medley Material Handling created a customer hotline with dedicated full-time employees to answer any billing, service or product questions for the end-user, General Manager Scott Davis says. “That person owns that phone call and gets back to the customer with any questions or concerns they had,” he adds. “That was a good step for us.” 

Because customer service is vital to the company’s success, Medley Material Handling has also restructured its sales team. Additional customer service representatives were added to the field, and major account retention managers were also added to handle its larger customers. “They will handle the needs of the current customer base so we are not leaving anything behind in growth,” Davis explains. “We have about 80 percent of our stores filled with major account retention managers.”

Balancing Inventory

Another major change in the industry is the increase in customers leasing equipment. Due to this shift, Medley Material Handling is forced to be much more capital intensive to purchase additional equipment. “It requires a bit more inventory on our end,” Medley explains. 

To make sure it always has equipment available, Medley Material Handling tracks the utilization of its equipment with an in-house computer system. “When you have $10 to $15 million invested, tracking to make sure you are getting your revenue and utilization out of it is imperative,” Medley notes. 

In December 2013, the company relocated its Odessa, Texas, branch to a larger and more modern facility in Midland, Texas, to better maintain its inventory. 

Building the Future

Medley Material Handling acquired BES Rentals and Hydraulic Sales in Carlsbad, N.M., in January to increase its equipment offering. “We got the opportunity to take over an existing company that also manufactures and distributes hoses to the oil companies,” Davis explains.

The BES acquisition came with 15 employees who Davis says have really made the transition smooth. “The thing that made it work is the employees that came over and joined Medley,” he adds. “We couldn’t do it without them.” The acquisition was ideal for Medley Material Handling because it is located in its territory and provided a way for it to grow. Medley Material Handling is eager to continue offering its equipment to oil companies in its region.

Medley Material Handling’s territory is a 1,500-mile stretch from Tulsa to El Paso, Texas, that does not have many big metropolitan areas. BES was an established, 20-year-old company with a good customer base and volume that fit into Medley Material Handling’s business. “It was good for us to get the market saturation and we have been looking at opportunities within our territory to grow the business,” Davis says. The company will continue to look for acquisitions that will add to its portfolio of equipment.

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