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Voice of the Customer: the power of listening

The NFT Group has been a collaborative partner to Manitowoc for decades, delivering valuable insights to the Company’s Voice of the Customer process to improve products and support services from its unique position as the largest owner of Potain cranes in the world.

Nabil Al Zahlawi, NFT.
Nabil Al Zahlawi, NFT.

The Voice of the Customer process is one of the key enablers that harness customer insights and translate them into practical modifications and improvements in its products and services. It’s a crucial factor in ensuring Manitowoc’s customers are some of the most satisfied in the industry.


One of the most recent and relevant examples is the development of the Potain MCT 1105 and MCT 1005  topless tower cranes. The first company to invest in these powerful range-topping cranes was long-time Manitowoc partner The NFT Group, which is using two models to build a major new resort project in Saudi Arabia.


NFT was a valuable partner in the Voice of the Customer process for the cranes, and business development manager, Nawar Al Nahlawi, said the end results were even better than expected.


“We had a lot of success with the MD 1100 in the past, which has such strong lift capacities across the working radius. When we first had discussions with Manitowoc about potential evolutions for the model, we were glad to provide feedback. I’m pleased to say the MCT 1105 and MCT 1005 have surpassed our expectations. The load charts are even better than expected and the topless design means they can work seamlessly alongside other cranes.”

A Potain MCT 1105 and Potain MCT 1005 are working on a luxury island resort project in northwest Saudi Arabia.
A Potain MCT 1105 and Potain MCT 1005 are working on a luxury island resort project in northwest Saudi Arabia.

An always-on listening process

Manitowoc’s Voice of the Customer process is a holistic process incorporating multiple touchpoints with customers, dealers, and other stakeholders. Sometimes it’s a dedicated meeting for a specific new project, other times it’s a discussion at a trade show, or feedback gained at a machine handover. But the fundamentals remain the same – information gathering which feeds back to the engineering and design function.


Manitowoc and NFT continued their Voice of the Customer discussions in mid-2023, when Nabil Al Zahlawi, CEO of NFT, visited the Manitowoc plant in Zhangjiagang, China. Al Zahlawi made the trip to see the latest expansions and developments at the factory and to share his thinking on the future of tower cranes and the changing needs of contractors.


“Technological advances and more sustainable design will shape tomorrow's tower crane industry. End users need reliability and productivity, which is why Potain is the world’s leading tower crane brand. But in the future, customers also want manufacturers to demonstrate that they are making their designs more sustainable. And in addition, they want greater automation and connectivity. It was great to visit Zhangjiagang and see how sustainability and technology are continuing to advance in Potain cranes, to help the company maintain its market-leading position,” he said.

From left: Shi Zhonghua, Manitowoc; Brian Wang, Manitowoc; Jean-Francois Amet, Manitowoc; Nabil Al Zahlawi, NFT.
From left: Shi Zhonghua, Manitowoc; Brian Wang, Manitowoc; Jean-Francois Amet, Manitowoc; Nabil Al Zahlawi, NFT.

The Zhangjiagang facility is already adopting lean thinking using The Manitowoc Way tools to reduce energy consumption for tower crane production. Changes include a complete reorganization of the production floor, cutting 2.5 km off the distance components travel and freeing up 4,500 sq. m of space. A similar transformation at the warehouse delivered equivalent results, while the new paint booth area has increased product quality and delivered power savings of 600 kW per day.


NFT operates the world’s biggest fleet of Potain cranes and has an extensive business footprint supporting projects from the Middle East to Asia Pacific. The company occupies a unique and strategically important position from which it can provide insight into rapidly changing crane industry trends – and Manitowoc is continuing to listen.


NFT is also advancing its own business, investing heavily in SAP business operational software, to enhance efficiency across various company processes. Most notably this is already delivering gains in the seamless management of its parts supply for its vast global crane fleet. Under the adept leadership Nabil Al Zahlawi, together with Nawar Al Zahlawi spearheading business development, and Nagham Al Zahlawi overseeing business strategy, NFT is further poised for sustained success in 2024 and beyond. 


To learn more about the range of Potain cranes produced in China, click here.


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