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Important Update: Applied Machinery Sales and the Future of Merlo in North America

Since 2018, the FocusOn Group worked with Applied Machinery Sales in their efforts to develop the Merlo product line in North America. The campaign to introduce the Merlo brand to the marketplace confirmed that Merlo was not just as another “me too” line, but a complete line of top-quality telehandlers with industry leading technology and features.

As the brand awareness grew, so did the dealer network and soon the line had sales and service outlets throughout the US and Canada.

As we entered into a new agreement with Applied Machinery Sales for 2023, changes were happening. Our primary contact announced her retirement, which was expected yet disappointing. In early 2023 Applied Machinery were not paying their bills and rumors began to swirl that the company was in trouble, serious trouble.

On July 4th, Applied Machinery issued the following statement:

The owner of our company, Applied Machinery Sales, passed away June 21st,2023 and we are currently under receivership and a cash flow analysis is being done. Once the analysis is submitted, payables will be prioritized, and you will be contacted directly regarding the status of your account.

On July 24, we were informed that the company had filed for bankruptcy and were informed that few, if any, of the secured creditors would be paid. There is much more to the story, but the bottom line is that the demise of Applied Machinery Sales negatively affected many, the most serious, in our opinion, are the end users of the Merlo equipment and the Merlo dealers.

Many of you (dealers and end users) have called us with questions: “What happened? Can we still get parts and service? Is my warranty still valid?”

We have been doing our best to get you those answers and, while the following is lean on specifics, we see this as great news for the Merlo customers and dealers in North America.

We have now learned that MERLO S.p.A. Industria Metalmeccanica, the Italian based manufacturer is in the process of establishing a wholly owned subsidiary in the US . The following is all we know at this point, but we assure you that we will keep you informed as we gather more information.

Merlo Announces New President and New US Subsidiary

Paolo Merlo has been named as the new president of Merlo Group. The appointment follows the death of company founder and president Amilcare Merlo late last year.

The Italian company was the first in Europe to manufacture the modern design of telehandler, in 1981. Today the group comprises nine specialist companies and six subsidiaries in France, Germany, UK, Spain, Poland, Australia and a new addition in the US – alongside a distribution network of over 80 importers and 600 dealers worldwide.

More than 90% of production is carried out at the Italian site, where control over the production process allows the company’s know-how to be developed and protected, it said.

The goal for the next three years, according to Paolo Merlo, is to achieve an output of 10,000 telehandlers annually, as well as about 25,000 attachments. To achieve this, significant investments are planned for new production lines and new infrastructure, aimed at an increasingly efficient, technological and sustainable production system.

Development services for the interconnection of logistic flows with regular suppliers will also be enhanced, which will streamline and make the supply chain more efficient. There will also be a major focus on the workforce.

Merlo said, “Today, the solidity of the Merlo Group allows us to look far ahead and plan for the long term. There are still many applications and areas where we can grow; we aim to strengthen our historical markets, starting with Italy and the countries where we are present with subsidiaries and importers.

International expansion

The company is also seeking to expand into markets that are relatively new to it and where there is plenty of room for growth. “In the USA we have just established our new subsidiary Merlo America and are strengthening our presence in Asia”.

“Today Merlo engages with the world market, but the strong link with our territory and the choice of having only one production plant today certainly make us a very special organisation. This allows us to develop without ever losing our vocation for all-round innovation and to present ourselves as a unique and appreciated player worldwide.”

Merlo points out there is the constant search for balance between process industrialisation and sustainability, towards which the company is directing most of its efforts and investments.

“For a company like ours, which occupies an area of around 330,000 square metres, sustainability is an important commitment that we approach with enthusiasm and conviction,” Merlo continued.

In 2013 the company presented the world’s first hybrid telehandler and in 2021 launched its first electric telehandler. “Sustainability also involves making important choices, such as opting for an energy supplier using only renewable sources. In addition, we have an internal production of more than one megawatt thanks to the solar panels installed in recent years.”

Today, said Merlo, the opportunity for growth is still great and Merlo telehandlers are finding more applications where work quality and safety can be improved, along with the other products in the range: tracked carriers, tool handler tractors, waste compactors and self-loading concrete mixers

To improve services and get closer to the customer, Merlo has established Movimatica, which deals with fleet management software.

Environment and labour

Beyond that, Merlo boasts over 90 patents, the latest of which are dedicated to the safety of operators, including the Suspended Cab (CS) – a low-frequency system to reduce vibrations inside the cab, and the ASCS (Adaptive Stability Control System) that prevents the risk of the machine tipping over while handling a load.

This year, the company opened the Merlo Academy, an in-house school to train newly recruited employees to better integrate them the company. “Innovation is fundamental, both in terms of product and production, but it is not enough, added Marlo. “The human component is also crucial, because companies are first and foremost made up of people,” said Merlo.

“With us this will always remain central, we believe in people, we believe in those who work with us and we believe above all in talent. Today it is important to find a way to attract and retain new talent, so that with them we can continue to grow.”