Insights into the Future of the Global Equipment Finance Industry | Equipment Finance Advisor

Aug 6, 2018


Article originally published by Equipment Finance Advisor.


In May, DLL announced the appointment of Mike Janse as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and member of the Executive Board of DLL, succeeding Carlo van Kemenade, who left the company at the close of 2017. Since joining DLL in 2004, Janse has held several leadership roles within Finance and Operations, as well as international assignments in Europe and Latin America. Most recently, he served as Senior Vice President for the Latin American Region, overseeing business activities and operations in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico. During his tenure in Latin America, the region grew substantially and exhibited strong financial results.

Recently, Equipment Finance Advisor met with Janse and Bill Stephenson, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of DLL, to learn more about this important leadership appointment and to gain their insights into the future of the equipment finance industry from a domestic and global perspective.

Equipment Finance Advisor: Bill, from your perspective, why is Mike the best choice for this important role of COO for DLL?

Bill Stephenson<br/> CEO and Chairmanof the Executive Board DLLBill Stephenson: Mike has been with us for close to 15 years and has been responsible for some major operational turnarounds for DLL in key markets. He is someone we have consistently relied upon when facing business issues in geographic regions that required significant attention. Mike possesses a unique ability to go into a troubled situation, quickly identify the issues requiring attention, and build effective teams – surrounding himself with people he trusts. His business methodologies and track record of successfully restructuring troubled businesses validate his ability to take on the responsibilities of this high-level position. I also believe Mike’s “soft skills” are critical to being successful in this role. His commitment to his family, his transparency and willingness to listen to and work with people, and his authenticity are qualities that make him a model for the type of leader we want at the highest level of our organization. Finally, I was proud that we were able to promote from within DLL. Mike is the right man for the job, and with him in his new role, we can continue driving our very aggressive plans for the years ahead.

Equipment Finance Advisor: Mike, you have worked in many areas of the world over the years. Are there any specific experiences you have encountered over your years with DLL that you believe have best positioned you for this COO level position?

Mike Janse<br/> COO and Member of the Executive Board of DLLMike Janse: I believe it is very important to possess experience in the field at the regional level before moving into a higher-level position. Having personally worked at the regional level in different countries, I learned the importance of getting close to the business and the people driving the business locally. As a country manager living within the country, I gained the unique and important experience of understanding the daily operations of a business, enabling me and my team to find the best solutions for our clients. If a person merely jumps into a high-level role without that experience, I believe it makes it much harder to gain a deep understanding of the issues within an operation. These field experiences will help me better understand the issues I will be facing in this new position.

As for specific examples, when I was in Spain, I had to focus not only on the business as a whole but some very particular aspects of the business. For example, I learned a great deal about how to deal with recoveries and collections, as well as how to remarket assets – which is a very important part of our business globally. While working in Brazil, I learned the importance of making quick decisions – specifically on the personnel side. Several years ago, we needed to establish an entirely new country management team and build new operational teams at various levels within the organization. By surrounding myself with the best team possible, we were able to realize a successful turnaround in Brazil, and that was a very important experience for me personally. Today DLL operates in more than 30 countries, and I am certain that experiences such as these will position me for success in this new role.

Equipment Finance Advisor: As the equipment finance industry continues to evolve, so have the demands of vendors. Are the requirements of vendors in different areas of the world changing as they are here in the United States?

As a global player, we can leverage our experiences from many diverse markets around the world and provide financing solutions in mature, new and emerging markets."

Janse: Yes, we see differing needs in specific markets. In the United States, we are certainly seeing a move toward usage-based programs. However, in India, we are exploring the market with the help of our vendor partners and are currently in the process of creating a small-ticket loan product offering because India is just beginning to gain familiarity with equipment financing. In Latin America – which is experiencing political and economic turmoil – opportunities for the utilization of operating leases are more prevalent. As a global player, we can leverage our experiences from many diverse markets around the world and provide financing solutions in mature, new and emerging markets.

Stephenson: The industry has been talking about pay-for-use and managed services for years, and the trend is certainly going that way; but very few companies are pursuing these strategies because they require a complete disruption of their current operating systems, credit underwriting, and asset management processes. This model requires much more discipline than lending money and amortizing a loan or lease through termination. We plan to be the leader in this area, and we are already heading in that direction. By year-end, we will have opened three innovation hubs in Dallas, Jacksonville and Las Vegas, with the sole intent of incubating and testing new ideas with customers who are eager to work with us. We are also recruiting the next generation workforce – professionals who don’t have any preconceived ideas about the leasing market.

By year-end, we will have opened three innovation hubs in Dallas, Jacksonville and Las Vegas, with the sole intent of incubating and testing new ideas with customers who are eager to work with us."

Our goal is to disrupt ourselves rather than wait for the market to do it – knowing that utilization and acquisition methods are going to change. We don’t know exactly what the market is going to need, but we believe this is the best way for us to approach the evolving market. Companies that get disrupted are singularly focused on the “wants” of their customers. The disrupters – or the innovators – focus on the “needs” of their customers. If Henry Ford had asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse, but what they needed was a safer and more efficient mode of transportation, and thus the automobile was born. Across our business, we are anticipating what our clients’ future needs will be – and that is where innovation comes into play. We may not have all the answers, and we may fail often, but we are confident we will prevail as a leader in this new era of equipment finance.

Equipment Finance Advisor: Technology is impacting the entire equipment finance process and the finance industry. Does the focus on technology need to be different in each country, or can you take a more global approach to the utilization of technology?

Janse: We don’t believe one global system will work in all markets. We need to adapt to each market accordingly to utilize technology to positively impact our customers. Today, we are investing significantly in our digital roadmap globally, and we are investing in technologies that will have the greatest impact on our customers, be they client portals utilizing APIs, mobile applications or other technologies. We are also investing more and more in artificial intelligence and machine learning as well as digital labor. Technology is a big focus for us, but we must also remain focused on exceeding the expectations of our customers in each market we serve.

Equipment Finance Advisor: We are currently experiencing steady growth in CAPEX spending in the U.S. Do you anticipate growth to continue in the U.S. over the next 2-3 years, or do you expect a slowdown due to impending interest rate increases and changing trade policies?

Stephenson: I am optimistic overall. At DLL we anticipate tremendous growth even in a flat global economy because we believe our value proposition of providing superior service and products will enable us to capture greater market share from our competitors. Compound this with economic growth and an optimistic outlook from our vendors, and we are very confident that the years ahead will be strong.

Janse: I agree with Bill’s comments. DLL serves various sectors, and when one sector experiences a slowdown – as we have seen in the agriculture sector, for example – we can offset this slowdown with growth in the other sectors we serve. Technology investments are certainly on the rise, and we see the next few years being strong years for DLL in the U.S. On a global scale, we will be continuing to invest in a few of our core markets, including Canada, Australia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. These markets are performing well with relatively strong economies, and we will benefit greatly from this growth.