By Lesley Hunter
Little Giant Ladder Systems says that their lightweight extension ladders have proven to be so popular within the telecom and cable industries that technicians have been known to steal them from each other’s trucks, leaving their older, heavier ladders in their place.
“It was flattering for the company but caused me some challenges for sure,” laughs Jeff Spackman, the telecommunications and cable major account rep for the Utah-based company. “There is no other company on earth that has ladders lighter than our HyperLite extension ladders, and once we get them into the techs’ hands, at that point, they just won’t give them up.”
Founded in the 1970’s by Harold (Hal) Wing, Little Giant Ladders says that it is the world leader in safety and innovation with its ladder systems and professional access equipment, and that its tagline of “preventing injuries and saving lives” is as relevant today as it was at the beginning.
“Everything that we do on our ladders, everything, is designed to reduce injuries,” added Spackman. “And those injuries aren’t necessarily directly from falls. When a tech has to carry an 80 pound ladder on their shoulder for a couple of hundred yards at a time, year after year, sometimes even decade after decade, it can cause a tremendous amount of injuries to backs, necks, and shoulders. Having a lightweight ladder is not only critical for reducing injuries like that, it also opens up huge markets of employment that companies haven’t had before, such as for techs of smaller stature, including women.”
The company’s production facility in Springville, just outside of Salt Lake City, produces the fibreglass for the professional grade equipment. Spackman and his team meet with customers to determine their requirements and then provide customized solutions for their ladder needs. Future purchases are conducted through their distribution partners.
While Little Giant Ladders has worked indirectly with Canadian providers such as Rogers and Shaw through the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (now known as NCTA – The Internet & Television Association)for almost a decade, the company has set its sights on expanding in Canada. It already has partnerships in place with distributors such as Power&Tel, KGP Logistics, TVC Canada, and Charles Jones Industrial.
“The Canadian market is really a new market for us,” Spackman continued. “Last year was our first year exhibiting at CommTech, and with the show being so well attended, we were able to talk with a lot of new customers.”
The company is returning as an exhibitor at both the CommTech East and CommTech West shows this year, and will be demonstrating new products and equipment, such as the King Kombo Ladder, that can be used as an extension ladder, leaning ladder and stepladder for the weight (and price) of one. Also in the works is a new series of ladders designed specifically for underground work that requires access through manholes.
Spackman says that one of Little Giant Ladders’ greatest strengths is its willingness – and ability – to listen to its customers and to adapt to their needs.
“When we ship our ladders out for a customer trial, we also send questionnaire forms for the techs to return to us on what they like and don’t like – we always like to hear feedback, especially what they don’t like. At that point, we can turn that information directly over to our engineering team who can make improvements to the ladders. That’s partly why we hold over 65 patents on our ladders, because we’re constantly trying to innovate and come up with the next big idea.”