Equipped for success

With an encouraging pattern of growth in the European construction market during 2015 so far, IronPlanet has been capitalising on an increasing demand for used heavy equipment through a number of initiatives. We spoke to IronPlanet’s Vice President of European Sales, Felipe Fernández-Urrutia Massó, to find out more

A wave of strategic developments in 2015 so far mean that IronPlanet, the world’s leading auction marketplace for the buying and selling of used heavy equipment and trucks, has seen a significant rise in its European activity – a pattern that is set to continue throughout the rest of the year and into 2016.

The combination of an increased demand for both the buying and selling of used heavy equipment, as well as the pursuit of new business opportunities as part of a carefully crafted global expansion strategy, means that there are exciting times ahead for both the company and its customers in Europe and beyond.

“The strongest markets in Europe are still Germany, the United Kingdom – which is flying at the moment – and France,” explained Felipe Fernández-Urrutia Massó, Vice President of European Sales at IronPlanet. “The Netherlands has picked up and has now surpassed Spain and Italy, and Belgium and Poland are showing promising signs too. The reality is that these economies are not yet close to a level experienced before the global economic crisis, but there has been a definite improvement.

“The performance of Europe’s construction industry in these key economic regions means that there is currently a strong demand for a number of machine types,” he continued. “For example, medium and small sized construction machines are working particularly well, such as mini excavators, wheel loaders, telehandlers and backhoe loaders.”

The nature of the construction industry means it is often an excellent means of gauging the state of a country’s economy. As such, IronPlanet is in a prime position to monitor how and where to focus its attention, which ultimately benefits its huge volume of buying and selling customers. “We are a used marketplace selling used equipment. We have a 1.3 million-strong user database and that is what drives the participation that drives the prices,” he continued. “But if we feel that specific countries have a strong market at any given time – for example Poland, where we have a lot of good buyers at the moment – we invest our resources into these countries accordingly. It means we can help our sellers to find the right buyers from the right locations.”

But whilst fluctuating market trends dictate how IronPlanet’s core marketplace business operates, the organisation has spent 2015 implementing innovative strategies to take advantage of new demand opportunities: “Our most important strategic developments in 2015 have been IronPlanet’s merger with Caterpillar Auction Services and our activity as the equipment disposition partner for the United States Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) here in Europe.” explained Felipe.

“Caterpillar Auction Services (CAS) was an independent company in the United States set up by a number of large Caterpillar dealers,” he added. “IronPlanet has merged with CAS and we will be using that brand to help our user-base participate in high-scale, onsite Caterpillar auctions via our own online auction facilities. Many international Caterpillar dealers have already decided to participate, and it is now something that we are confident of replicating here in Europe.”

The partnership puts IronPlanet in the unique position of being directly and deeply integrated with one of the most renowned construction equipment manufacturers in the world.

In addition to the CAS merger, IronPlanet forged an agreement with the United States Department of Defense and its Defense Logistics Agency to act as its equipment disposition partner both in the U.S and Europe. The partnership means that IronPlanet will offer registered auction participants with the opportunity to purchase used U.S. equipment from an American military base in Germany. “We hosted the inaugural DLA auction in Europe in July and the audience has been huge – over 40,000 attendees, from military equipment enthusiasts to construction companies. It was extremely impressive and obviously the DLA is very happy. That is why we will soon be selling equipment out of more U.S. bases across Europe, including in the UK and additional bases across Germany.”

Felipe is confident that the early promise of this first auction will help IronPlanet to attain similar partnerships in Europe in the near future: “The success at this early stage will be very helpful for us because organisations will begin to appreciate just how big an audience we can attract and how much demand there is for this kind of equipment,” he said. “It means the operation will not just be limited to the U.S. military – other militaries will be motivated to work with us as a disposition partner, but also organisations like the U.N and even from the public sector. That is what we are working on in the coming months and we are looking forward to achieving some great results.”

In addition to these latest developments, Felipe is keen to emphasise that a strong focus will continue to be placed on the development of IronPlanet’s relationships with some of the largest contracting and rental companies that operate on the continent, including Vinci and Bouygues: “The services we can offer are fantastic for these types of seller,” he said. “We have different platforms and different routes to the market, be it through our monthly feature auctions or our reserve-auction Daily Marketplace. This combined with the special marketing campaigns we can offer makes IronPlanet an extremely attractive equipment disposition option for these larger companies.”

For IronPlanet so far in 2015, ambitious expectations have been met with exceptional application and the business looks certain to continue its evolution in Europe and beyond. “As a business we have been working extremely hard, but all of these developments and initiatives mean that IronPlanet is an exciting company to be involved with right now,” concluded Felipe. “However the real winners here will be our customers. They are the ones who will be able to experience an unrivalled level of all round opportunity and service in both the buying and disposition of used equipment.”

IronPlanet is the leading online marketplace for used heavy equipment and an innovative participant in the multi-billion dollar heavy equipment auction market. Since 2000, IronPlanet has sold over $4 billion of used equipment online and has built a database of more than 1.3 million registered users worldwide.

For more information please visit: www.ironplanet.com