36 Years Of Ensuring Success & Excellence
Material Handling Specialist Ivar Lonon Talks Collaboration and How a DIY Attitude Means Better Service
“It’s more about the solution than the sale.”
Advanced Equipment Company Material Handling Specialist Ivar Lonon is not your typical salesman. As a person who has worked in the material handling world since 1983, he understands the business inside and out, and cares more about the solution than the sale.
We managed to track down Ivar and ask him a few questions about his experience, and what it means to work for Advanced Equipment Company.
You say you’ve been in the material handling world since 1983. How did that start?
My career in material handling started shortly after graduating high school, working for a local manufacture of automatic palletizers in Montgomery, Alabama. I spent six years there gaining experience as an Applications Engineer. This position moved me around a bit into Kentucky, Georgia and Florida before finally coming to Advanced Equipment in North Carolina; home for the last 21 years.
Was all of that time before AEC spent working as an engineer?
Yes – I spent the first 15 years of my career in systems applications and engineering, which I think gives me a unique perspective when looking at options or recommendations for equipment or potential solutions. I have created thousands of solutions for just about the most challenging, uncommon applications out there.
After moving into a sales role, what has kept you there for so long? Why make the change?
Well, I love the challenge. And my goal is to help customers find the right solution, not just sell equipment. So my experience as an engineer plays a big role there.
I approach every project as if it were going into my own facility. I’m really a firm believer in putting the time on the front-end—the quoting and ordering phase. Mistakes are easy to fix on paper, but not so much once the equipment arrives.
I also try to be as detailed as possible to help shape expectations. It’s important for my customers to understand what’s being quoted and why.
Let’s talk about your customers. As an engineer, how do you approach those relationships?
I just approach every customer as if they’re going to be my customer for life. I know that may sound naïve, given the ever-changing business climate, but I like to view my clients as business partners. And that takes trust, dedication and teamwork.
I imagine with 21 years at AEC, that process must work pretty well.
I think so. I’m a self-admitted do-it-yourselfer, so I can appreciate that customers are looking for value—not necessarily the lowest price but the most cost-effective and reliable solution to get the job done right.
My material handling systems are known for performing as promised. I have a reputation for bringing in my projects within budget and on time, and at that point I aim for exceptional after-sales support. It’s about the partnership; making sure my clients are well taken care of and satisfied.
So after all these years, what has kept you at AEC?
What I like most about working for Advanced Equipment Company is that we’re responsible for our own projects from inception to reality. I feel that in a culture where the separate phases of a project are handed off to someone else, the next person, you run into a loss of information, of vision and ultimately a loss of responsibility. Since we’re responsible for all phases of the project, and that includes being held financially responsible, we can really ensure that success for our business partners.
Ivar specializes in conveyor systems for palletizing and robotic work cell sortation and accumulations, distribution centers, and conveyors to integrate packaging equipment, as well as mobile aisle pallet rack systems, automatic storage and retrieval systems, ergonomic lift and position equipment and heavy material lifts for floor-to-floor applications and mezzanines. It’s his goal to draw on more than 30 years of experience to deliver unique, cost-saving solutions.