One GSE supplier is looking at many different ways to grow
TB Davies (UK) continues to expand and is having a steady year, despite the difficulties of the European economy and the consequent effects on procurement and investment in all sorts of industries, explains Steve Meredith, founder and managing director.
Ground support equipment (GSE) supplier TB Davies (UK), founded in 2003 and based in Bridgend, Wales, has had a busy decade since its establishment. And things continue to look good; the second half of this year is going to be better than the first, he observes, sufficiently so for the company to have recently appointed a new international sales manager.
This investment is very much in keeping with TB Davies’s strategy to expand its overseas footprint, with particularly foci being on Europe and the Middle East, Meredith says.
Significant progress is also being made in the North American market. TB Davies (UK) has allied with TESCO Equipment, the Florida-based supplier of GSE. Indeed, the two companies exhibited together at the recent International Airport Expo held in Las Vegas in October.
The two firms are helping to distribute each other’s products in the markets in which each specialises. The collaboration is “in its early stages”, but he believes that this sort of co-operation is certainly a useful model for spreading the company’s influence where synergies can be achieved and there is no conflict of interest.
Outright acquisition is another alternative that TB Davies (UK) has been quick to exploit. In 2009 it purchased Owen Holland, the specialist in handling equipment. This brought into the TBD fold a “mature, well-respected product range”, Meredith notes.
Moreover: “Owen Holland’s emphasis used to be overseas customers buying specialised types of GSE such as container dollies, so it also brought in a number of new customers,” Meredith continued.
“We have been very pleased with the acquisition and the product ranges. The equipment is very well engineered and of a very high quality,” he adds.
While he obviously views the purchase of Owen Holland as having been a big success, will more companies be acquired and brought under the TB Davies (UK) wing? Perhaps not, at least for the time being – “We have more than enough to handle at the moment,” Meredith points out.
That is not to say that new products won’t be launched, improvements made and new markets breached, of course. The Middle East is going to be one particular priority, while in terms of equipment the environmental aspect is not being forgotten. TB Davies (UK) offers different towbarless tractors and the line has expanded recently with the launch of new equipment in Geneva – “it’s created a lot of interest,” he believes.
“We have put some style into the design as well as ensuring the engineering is sound,” Meredith notes. “In addition, the vehicle has only one set of controls built into a swivel driver’s seat, which offers obvious benefits over similar products with dual controls.”
Towbarless tractors add to many other types of GSE equipment that the firm currently offers. These lines include passenger and crew boarding steps, lavatory and water vehicles, scissor lifts and maintenance access equipment, numerous trolley and dolly types, trailers and cargo handling systems.
“We try to let the products speak for themselves; it’s about hard work and creating as much value as we can for our customers. The most important thing will be looking after our customers”, he says.