GOSCOR Lift Truck Company (GLTC) has appointed Cecil Oates as the MD of the company. He takes over from Darryl Shafto, who recently stepped down for his semi-retirement.

Oates, who joins the forklift and materials handling equipment company from Babcock, has been tasked with further growing the business in terms of profitability.

GLTC was the most profitable business unit within the Goscor Group last year, and Oates is expected to build on this strong position to further consolidate the business’s leading position in the forklift and materials handling equipment sector in southern Africa.

“GLTC is an established business with reputable brands, and I am looking forward to even growing it further. One of the areas of immediate priority is diversification, looking at more solutions-based business opportunities rather than pure product sales,” Oates said.

He has identified key areas of immediate priority, starting with safety.

“I regard safety as a big priority. We need to establish safety as a culture, in line with the industry’s quest for Zero Harm. We need to grow the business in a safe environment where every one of our employees goes home uninjured every day. To me it’s key and I see it as a gap I have identified in the business.”

A safety culture, he said, is an important foundation for the business, from which every other attribute can develop.

Another key area of focus for Oates is the used equipment market. “We need to make sure that we grow that part of the business,” he said, adding that this should start with identifying suitable applications for these machines, and then push volumes to ensure sustainable growth of the second-hand equipment business, “to ensure that we don’t have it as a liability on our balance sheet”.

Another priority is transformation. Oates believes GLTC has already gone down this road, but there is room for improvement. “I think it’s a responsibility towards the country and I would like to see more of that happening here.”

In his 14 years at Babcock, Oates – a mechanical engineering technologist by profession – held a number of positions, starting as a sales director for Babcock’s Engineering business, before he was promoted to chief operating officer and, later, MD. He ran the business for about six years before moving to International Business Development within the Babcock International Group.

In the last three years of his Babcock career, Oates was MD of its Transport Solutions business, which is responsible for the importation and distribution of DAF Trucks in southern Africa.

Looking ahead, Oates is optimistic of driving GLTC to new heights, even in the face of the current tough economic conditions. He believes a solutions-based approach to the business will broaden the opportunity basket going forward.