Small Is Big
If you’re an equipment operator, dealer or even a homeowner with aggressive DIY tendencies, you should read this. The growth of the compact equipment market is worth your attention. While there are variations in how that categorization gets used, here at SANY, we think of compact equipment as all-purpose machines that perform in a confined area. For end users and dealers, however, the big news here is that growth across the small and compact equipment market is leading to significant developments in competition, price and innovation.
So, why all the fuss about compact equipment? Well, it comes down to a number of factors, including cost, utility, transportation, dealer network and parts availability. Perhaps the biggest influencer here is cost. As with typical markets, growing demand inspires increased competition, which leads to competitive pricing. More OEMs are looking for ways to make it easier to buy their equipment, and that’s good news for buyers and dealers alike.
A big change when it comes to competition is the decline in brand loyalty, as the traditional giants of the equipment industry are losing their grip on the average buyer. According to Tito Sosa, Product Manager for SANY America, “Cost is a huge motivator. More and more small equipment buyers are realizing the value and incentives that are offered by emerging brands and opting to invest where they have more influence.”
Running a close second to cost, utility is a big driver behind the surge in compact equipment. These machines are incredibly handy and can do a lot in a limited space. Take the SANY 35U, a mini excavator with an operating weight of 3.5 tons, dig depth of 10’ 2” and gross power of 24.4 HP. This 3.5-ton excavator is the “best-selling size in the U.S. and the machine to watch,” says Sosa. With a limited tail swing radius and independent boom swing, the 35U is optimized for utility in extremely tight configurations. It balances power with smoothness, versatility and fuel efficiency.
The agility and versatility of compact equipment is driving demand across audience segments. The construction and landscaping industries are big influencers in the market, finding equipment that can work in formerly unworkable spaces. Meanwhile, DIY-savvy homeowners have discovered that the equipment fits in their garage, and rental companies are capitalizing on equipment that is easily transported, is easy to operate and can achieve a lot at a daily rate.
Transportability is another popular feature of compact equipment. Because DOT regulations limit non-commercial vehicles to 10,000 lbs., equipment like the SANY SY16U-SY35U can be hauled by anyone with a heavy-duty truck and trailer. This is a huge benefit for landscapers, utility companies, residential construction companies, equipment rental companies or any user who has the means to tow their own equipment.
SANY and iShed
Case in point, SANY recently partnered with The Shed to offer three mini excavators for daily rentals. The Shed is a new and growing online rental platform that offers everything from party tents to medical equipment and now earth-moving equipment. Beginning in the Richmond, Virginia and Denver, Colorado markets, The Shed offers the SY16, SY26, and SY35 excavators for daily rental. “We are very fortunate to be the sole excavator partner with iShed,” says Dean Heistand, Director of National Accounts for SANY America. “To be part of a vision, to be the Amazon of the rental space, is both exciting and rewarding.”
The Significance of Parts
The growth of compact equipment and the changing user experience are having an impact on maintenance as more users are looking to service their equipment themselves. Smaller equipment means smaller parts, and smaller parts are easier to repair and replace. They’re also easier to ship and sell. As more and more buyers look to compact equipment to fill their needs, they are also looking for dealer networks and parts availability to maintain that equipment.
We can’t talk about parts without talking about the influence of globalization on the equipment industry. The availability of high-quality components and equipment from around the world has helped accelerate innovation, accessibility and affordability of compact equipment. As Sosa puts it, “The question is not about whether globalization is good or bad. Globalization is here. It’s ubiquitous in the equipment industry. The real question to ask is what brands are doing to make the most of globalization.”
SANY, for example, is one of the top four manufacturers of construction equipment in the world. If you consider the engineering expertise and operational efficiency that a company like SANY has to offer and merge that with the nimble responsiveness of SANY America, you get a company that is working every angle to make its equipment easy to buy.
For those operators, dealers and homeowners that are still reading, here’s where we give you some friendly advice. Considering the steady upward trajectory of compact equipment, it’s a great time to invest in the future of this growing industry. If you’re an operator, it’s time to get in the seat and experience these job-site multitaskers. If you’re a dealer, consider the growing demand that you can tap into. And if you’ve got yard projects that need major muscle, make room in the garage. Whoever you are and whatever your needs, SANY has the right machine for you.