Member Profile: All Lift Service Company

All Lift Service Company: Serving With Authenticity

By Nicole Needles

For 50 years, All Lift Service Company has provided the “All Lift Difference” and plans on doing so for years to come. From a family business to a 68-employee company with three facilities, All Lift has been diligently serving the material handling industry.

John P. Gelsimino founded All Lift Service Co. Inc. in 1972 as one man in a van. After 50 years in business, the Ohio company is a forklift dealership representing CLARK, Komatsu, BYD, NobleLift and Columbia. Another company under this umbrella, All Industrial Engine Service, remanufactures forklift engines and sells them to other forklift truck dealers throughout North America. In addition, they have a standalone battery business named Arcon Equipment Inc. What packs a punch behind all these facets of All Lift is their diversified material handling model.

John L. Gelsimino, current President of All Lift Service Company and MHEDA Chairman of the Board, says this diversified model sets them up for a rebuilding era that he believes is coming in the economy.

“Back in the day, not everyone bought new. They would rebuild everything because the price of new and the financing wasn’t available,” he said. “So as we go into a high interest rate environment and potentially a slowing economy, I think we’re going to go back to a rebuilding mentality, and our diversified businesses are set up very well for that.”

“It’s not some magic switch that cures everything,” Gelsimino said. “But it’s a way you can talk about culture every single day before there are issues and have some sort of guiding light of where you’re trying to go and how you’re trying to operate.”

He thinks bridging the gap between the seasoned and incoming workforce is essential. He says the seasoned crew was taught these fundamentals but may not be applying them every day, and the younger workforce often needs to be taught in terms of the workplace. This sharing of knowledge gives everyone an equal playing field and a way to develop professionally alongside colleagues from all career and life stages.

“It’s called work for a reason,” he said. “Not every day is rainbows and unicorns. But the goal here is we want people to enjoy going to work. Whoever can recruit, train and retain the next generation of workers will win in the long run. To me, the fundamentals outweigh any mission statement of a full-service material handling dealership.”

Cultivating a positive work environment is critical since the work is difficult and often taxing, which reflects the material handling industry.

“This is not a remote-owner business. This is an all-hands-on-deck, every single day, bloody knuckles street fight,” Gelsimino said. “Whoever works the hardest wins. This business, I always say, can make a grown man cry.”

While this might not sound like some people’s idea of fun, this perspective is what many love about the business. It is an ever-changing environment, and because it is so complex, it has many more opportunities for those willing to go after them.

“Thirty or 50 years ago, most employees were all the same age. Most of the employees had the same work ethic. Most of them had a common goal to support their family, grow with the company and have long-term employment. What’s changed is the availability of people and their priorities, and the technology has become far more sophisticated,” he said.

While the forklift business is the same at its core, because of the more advanced and complicated technology, it’s become more integral to perfect training processes and to ensure everyone pays attention to the details. Luckily, the human element of the business remains the same, and forklifts break and get fixed again.

When asked how All Lift will evolve with the industry, Gelsimino said, “I see continued growth in our diversified business. I see more growth organically. I see more growth through acquisition. I see financial stability due to the conservative nature of how we run the business.”

This growth is essential because customer demands have changed. All Lift has found that customers demand more communication and immediate service. This communication gap is something All Lift, as well as many other businesses, are striving to improve each day. One resource that Gelsimino notes as vital is technology and data that works for all levels of the dealership.

Another concept that customers are looking for is intralogistics. Many companies are incorporating the word in their business names to show they are adept and hopefully attract more customers. Gelsimino says that it’s vital for businesses to look into intralogistics, turnkey solutions and automation because that is where the industry is headed. As with everything, these trends and niche markets will ebb and flow with the economy.

Gelsimino prefers the word “vibe” for how they’ve set themselves apart. Anyone involved with the business – employees, suppliers, customers, etc. – can catch All Lift’s positive and genuine vibe.

“We are blessed to be in this great industry, and we show up each day and give it our best,” he said.