Adapting to change

One of the most diverse businesses in Scotland, Garriock Bros. Ltd. provides a vast range of machinery to the commercial, domestic and international markets, all of which it maintains to the highest standards possible

When Construction & Civil Engineering last spoke with George Garriock, Managing Director of Garriock Bros. Ltd., one of Shetland’s largest privately owned companies and a provider of a diverse range of civil engineering, quarry operations, house building and plant hire services, he told us not only of the company’s significant growth over the past few years, but of the relationship it has with some of the best equipment manufacturers around. One of those mentioned was Metso Minerals, whose mobile quarrying and recycling equipment it had been using since 2001.

Fast forward to 2017, and the partnership between Garriock Bros. and Metso was further solidified at the latter’s global distribution meeting in Tampere, Finland. It was here, as part of Metso’s Distributor Award Gala Dinner, that Garriock Bros. was presented with the ‘Excellence in Large LT (Lokotrack) Sales’ award. “This was an award with global scope, taking into consideration companies from all around the world, from Africa to the United States, and therefore we were extremely honoured to be chosen to receive such recognition,” George proclaims.

This winning of the above award was one of many high points in what George calls a very good year for the business. “Following on from a somewhat sluggish 2016, last year was one in which we shifted a lot of equipment and experienced extremely positive sales figures. In that time, we have seen more and more customers, who perhaps in the past when budgets were tighter made do with some of the cheaper models of crushers and the like from our competitors. Now they appear to have seen the error of their ways and have returned to us to supply Metso machines for much higher quality, tried and tested equipment that will stand the test of time.”

This pattern of behaviour has continued into 2018, with the first half of the year bringing similar positive news for the company. “To date, this year has also seen excellent sales across the board,” George adds. “For example, one of our customers based in Wales, Jones Brothers, recently purchased five machines in a single deal, and we have continued to supply a regular stream of Metso’s for some of the UK’s busiest quarry companies. At the same time, we continue to export all over the globe, into countries including Norway, Germany, Spain, South Africa and Hong Kong. In fact, with the somewhat volatile nature of exchange rates these days, the strength of our export activities is all the more important.”

Hands-on approach
For a company that began life in 1975 as a small joinery firm in Westerwick in the Shetland Islands, the growth, maturing and diversification of Garriock Bros. into an entity operating ten different divisions across five branches in Shetland, Orkney, Edinburgh, Inverness and Coventry has been hugely inspiring. In the time that it has achieved this feat, each division has gained a significant market share by building strong, trusting and long lasting associations with satisfied customers. “We have always strived to be very hands-on with how we work with our customers, providing them with the very best levels of service possible,” George explains. “When you combine this with the huge array of high quality, reliable and durable equipment that we provide access too, it results in lots of repeat business.”

Fleet renewal
Another key component needed to secure this repeat business is being able to respond to the demands of the industry as quickly as possible. “The landscape of the industry changes on a fairly regular basis, with different types of equipment or machinery falling into and out of favour at various times,” George says, “and with the market constantly moving we have to ensure that we are able to respond quickly to what our customers want from us. This involves the regular renewing of our fleet. In addition to the different varieties of Metso products that we have to offer, we have also been building up our inventory of Manitou machines, including fork lifts, man lifts and diesel access platforms, and Doosan excavators, loading shovels and dumpers, which we have also found to be of an excellent quality with a good backup service.”

Metso’s order books are quite full at the moment but Garriock Bros. continues to place regular orders for new machines, while at the same time upgrading its plant fleet at its depots. The demand for new and second hand machines has also re-emphasised the importance of the company’s machine hire service, a facet that provides it with another degree of flexibility for finding solutions to its customers’ needs in such a demanding environment.

“When it comes to the machines we supply, these are typically not things that you can order off the shelf, rather they take time to be manufactured and shipped to us. Consequently we always try to keep a stock of ten to 12 new Metso machines ready to supply to our customers. There is nothing that is easily gained in this industry these days, but those that are able to adapt and respond to the conditions around them are the companies that succeed,” George concludes.

Garriock Bros. Ltd.
Services: Civil engineering, house building, plant hire, quarry operations, concrete supplies, machine sales and window manufacturing services