By recognising changes to the market, Garic is expanding its business.
The UK is all too often portrayed as a nation where manufacturing got off at the last stop. Yet not only is this inaccurate (it still ranks in the global top ten), but a constant stream of innovation pours out of its workshops.
This was illustrated at Garic’s recent Best of Britain show which showcased a range of innovative new plant from Garic, while co-host JCB had a range of construction machines on display and ran an excavator speed contest.
Among manufacturer, sale and hire firm Garic’s products, are mobile and static welfare, storage, wheel wash and drip tray solutions.
But one of the new faces was the ten-man Armadillo mobile welfare unit. Sales and marketing manager, Stephen Booth says: “The Garic Armadillo is the only 12 v mobile welfare unit and because of its PV it only uses just 0.2 gallons per hour. All the other ones out there use a 240v diesel generator.”
Managing director Lorne Entwistle says: “Carbon footprint will become more of an issue in the next two years. We can’t solve all the CRC issues, but some of them with products like our new Armadillo.”
Also on display from Garic was the welfare Ford Transit that provides mess facilities for up to seven people. It includes hot and cold water, microwave oven and fully flushing toilet area and self servicing discharge system.
Garic seems to be faring better than many and is enjoying growth in a tough climate. From a 2010 turnover of about £15 million, the company is targeting £16 to 18M turnover for 2011 and more than £60M within five years.
“This is currently 70 per cent hire and 30 per cent sell,” says Mr Entwistle, “but we’re aiming to increasing the proportion of sell.”
“One change is hirers are comfortable working with us and we’re getting a seat at the table where before we were not.”
Mr Entwistle says Garic has actually been able to take advantage of the economic downturn. “Firms had become complacent in the good times but now clients are looking more at the customer service and quality of the products they are using. It’s a different market out there now,” he says. “We are not the cheapest but we like to think we give the best service, although that comes at a price.”
He believes the firm’s continued existence through the hard times has elevated its status. “We are now getting a seat at the table because we are still here. We have not always been able to match price, particularly in the light of suicide bidding, but these companies have now fallen over and so clients are coming back to us. We are competitive on price but do not match prices below cost base.”
“There will be more casualties yet to come from big hirers and main contractors,” he says. “I do not think we will see a return of the heady times that we had up until 2008 for a long time, and in a way I hope we never do as it was unrealistic. Look to Ireland where there are sites in the property market that will never be completed.
“But it will all filter down eventually. When the banks finish writing down their bad debt they will start lending again, and house buyers will be ready to take these products.”
He ends up by adding a dose of realism to the firm’s growth plans. “Our market share is small, so doubling it is not so hard. In the next two years you will see us turn into a medium sized one at about £50M, through a mixture of growth by acquisition as well as organic. And we have made one or two distressed acquisitions,” he finishes.
Paris-based construction equipment show Intermet has predicted that next year’s event should be back to the scale of 2006 after being hit by the recession three years ago.
The organisers are forecasting a total of 1,500 exhibitors at the event oin Aporil 2012 with more than 50 countries represented. Companies returning to the show after staying away in 2009 include Terex, Atlas Copco, Sandvik and Wacker Neuson. The UK pavilion organised by the Construction Equipment Association will be hosting 20 companies across 400 sqm, with up to 70 UK companies likely to exhibit in total.
The pre-Intermat preview on 12-13 January will host a industry summit with speakers from Vinci and Bougyues amongst others, with innovation awards in the evening.
Commenting on the global plant industry, Colin Timms of Off-Highways Research said that sales were forecast to hit $90bn next year, on a par with 2006 figures. He said that UK sales were emerging from recession slightly faster than the rest of Europe with 2012 unit volumes forecast to be just below 20,000, about half the 2007 peak.
To find out more about the Intermat exhibition, visit the show’s website at en.intermat.fr