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Atlantic & Southern Equipment Expands Footprint

Bringing Expertise to New Customers Across the Southeast

Strategic growth has been a key part of the success of Atlantic & Southern Equipment LLC. Beginning 23 years ago, the Atlanta-based crane dealership has steadily expanded its footprint from a single distributorship to multiple locations throughout the southeastern U.S.
“Our customers are becoming more regional,” said Michael Ogle, vice president – crane sales & rentals. “To be a preferred supplier, you need to serve a larger geographical area. Today, across Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, the Florida Panhandle and the Carolinas, we’re building on our reputation for providing a full service and one-stop solution for new and used crane sales and rentals.”
The latest expansion at Atlantic & Southern was the July 2023 acquisition of Pinnacle Cranes in Charlotte, North Carolina, a move that Ogle said made sense because both companies have customers throughout the southeast and they have an opportunity to build on their many similarities. “This acquisition is a step forward toward better serving our customers as they take on infrastructure and development projects,” he stated.
“We are both top 5 Link-Belt dealers,” Ogle also pointed out, “and we have an industry reputation for providing exceptional service, employing highly trained personnel, having an experienced management team, and long-standing relationships with our customers and manufacturers. This acquisition is an opportunity to expand our business into a contiguous territory by incorporating one exceptional company with another.”
Relationships with customers begin with choosing the right crane, Ogle noted. “When we sit down to discuss their needs, we bring our expertise and a list of factors to consider that will impact what type of equipment and model may or may not be right for them.”
For example, Atlantic & Southern recommends that customers ask themselves these questions:
  • How much weight do you need to lift with your crane, including current and future lifting needs?
  • What are your required lift heights and how high can loads be raised with the crane you’re choosing?
  • How much driving will your crane need to do? Do you need a model that is mobile?
  • What kind of ground will you be operating on? Do you need to invest in an all-terrain model?
  • How will you finance the crane and what is your budget so you can make sure you can afford the model that you want to buy?
Meeting Industry Challenges in an Active Market
Today as well, that conversation needs to account for the limited availability of new machines. “As manufacturers continue to address supply chain issues, we have the same challenge as everyone in the industry,” Ogle said. “But our market is very active as well. While OEM allocations and longer lead times for new cranes are pushing out delivery timeframes, infrastructure and other projects are taking place year-round.
“Part of the key for us is effective inventory management so we can meet the needs of retail buyers and maintain a rental fleet of more than 60 machines,” Ogle continued. “We’re also advising buyers to think about their replacement needs earlier than in the past, especially when they’re bidding on job contracts a year in advance.”
There is a challenge with used equipment that Atlantic & Southern is addressing as well. With availability limited because crane operators are running machines longer, Ogle related, there is a greater need to find available units for sales and rentals.
“Our job as a dealer is to manufacture used equipment,” Ogle explained further. “We have to work with what’s available to have a sizable rental fleet, and customers may have to buy or rent more crane than they need to get jobs done. Our focus is also on offering used machines that are priced right.”
With used and new equipment pricing elevated, the Atlantic & Southern finance department is also working to offer options that address the cost of funding purchases. For example, rental purchase offerings enable customers to convert earlier and finance at a lower rate.
With more older machines in service, Ogle also noted that Atlantic & Southern is seeing an increase in its parts and service business, and meeting those needs can be challenging as well. “The ups and downs in the supply chain for everything from boom materials to wiring harnesses, radiators, and engines can mean we may have to keep customers waiting longer for repairs to be made,” he said.
A highly experienced service team at Atlantic & Southern is always on hand to meet customers’ service and repair needs. All the dealership’s technicians are factory trained, including many who have completed the Link-Belt Master Technician Training program. Other training includes online courses and factory schools on different disciplines, and Parts Training from Link-Belt.
“Training is not an expense for us, it’s an investment,” Ogle said. “Cranes are not what they used to be 30 years ago, so the diagnostics, maintenance and repair of these machines requires a higher level of support. We provide what is needed to keep our technicians and parts staff up to speed.”
A Reputation for Service Excellence
Atlantic & Southern routinely services the cranes the company sells, as well as other makes and models for customers with mixed fleets. The company is also a service dealer for Cummins engines and has expertise in diagnostics for the latest aftertreatment systems.
On-site service is a hallmark of the Atlantic & Southern operation. “A lot of crane service work needs to be done on jobsites, so we field technicians in fully equipped and stocked service trucks,” Ogle related.
Service trucks at the dealership are built on Ford F-450 and F-550 and Kenworth chassis and are fitted with Knapheide and other makes of bodies. The trucks are equipped with Auto Crane or Palfinger telescopic service cranes, compressors, and a range of tools, including welding equipment.
Serving Customers Effectively
Atlantic & Southern also makes sure its sales and product support groups are up to date on technology and that knowledge goes into training customers. “We don’t just drop off a crane to a customer,” Ogle said. “We make sure they understand the equipment so they can operate the machines efficiently, productively, and safely.
“Our customers are not only well trained; they also know their operational needs well,” Ogle continued. “They often come to us with lift plans but if they need help, we have tools available. For example, the Link-Belt preferred program gives them instant access to vital information, including technical publications, parts details, and service and operator manuals.”
Many Atlantic & Southern customers are road and bridge contractors, although many are also involved in wastewater treatment plant, cell tower, and factory and general construction work. To meet that variety of needs, the dealership offers Link-Belt rough terrain, telescopic truck/all terrain, telescopic crawler and lattice crawler cranes.
Also available from Atlantic & Southern are Manitex crane and boom trucks and Magni telehandlers. As part of Miami-based Kelly Tractor Co., the company has access to a range of construction and agricultural equipment as well.
“Regardless of what our customers need, we have the equipment and the expertise to help them,” Ogle stated. “Our ongoing growth is not just about getting bigger. It’s also about getting better at everything we do while we expand our business.” 

Article written by Seth Skydel


Crane Hot Line is part of the Catalyst Communications Network publication family.