29/10/2008 - 22:00

Rising to the occasion over 30 years

29/10/2008 - 22:00

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RAPID Crushing & Screening Contractors' response to an emergency call earlier this year provided founder Neil Irvine with a good indication of just how far his company had come during the past 30 years.

Rising to the occasion over 30 years
Neil Irvine has grown Rapid Crushing into a major player over three decades

RAPID Crushing & Screening Contractors' response to an emergency call earlier this year provided founder Neil Irvine with a good indication of just how far his company had come during the past 30 years.

At short notice, Rapid was asked to help keep Midland Brick running, following damage to production machinery as a result of fire at the brick manufacturing plant.

For Mr Irvine, the company's ability to deal with the challenge epitomised its growth from a small provider into a major player with a competitive advantage in the provision of crushing, screening and conveyor products to WA's mining, construction and quarrying industries.

Mr Irvine founded Rapid Crushing in 1978 as a seven-day-a-week operation with three employees, a utility and a small rented factory unit in Cannington with only basic equipment.

In the early 1990s, Mr Irvine saw the opportunity to offer contract crushing to the quarrying and mining industries and began restructuring the company to become a competitor in the market, not just a service provider.

"There were restrictions in the early days of contract crushing in getting access to funding for the high capital requirements of the crushing industry, when we had gone from being a service provider to the industry into becoming a competitor," Mr Irvine told WA Business News.

"Due to a number of our previous customers becoming competitors, we needed to create new markets and gain the confidence of the industry in dealing with a new player. This slowed growth initially."

To successfully compete in the market, Mr Irvine implemented a growth strategy based on a low capital and human resources base. The plan was to grow the business by 10 per cent each year.

"A good client once advised me to build the crushing plant and the work would follow, and this proved true in taking the risk in earlier contract crushing days to offer the market a new plant that was available to go," Mr Irvine said.

"With continual growth we have now built up adequate finance facilities with our bank and lenders and maintained a strong cash flow."

The company was able to save capital costs by being an owner-builder and by custom-building the right gear at the right time to meet the needs of the market, he said.

Since then, Rapid Crushing has lifted its industry profile, as indicated by Midland Brick's call for assistance in March.

"The success of a business is gauged by the loyalty of employees, and despite the transient nature of employees generally in the mining industry, many of our employees have been with the company for between five and 15 years," Mr Irvine said. "Our success would not have been possible, though, if all our clients hadn't placed their trust in us, and for that we are truly grateful."

In the past year, Rapid Crushing has doubled the size of its manpower, turnover and premises, with 30 administration staff and workshop personnel in Perth supporting more than 100 employees at various remote sites throughout the state.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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