C&L, CICA, Features

CICA Member Profile: Komp Cranes

Barbara and Danny Toohey, the team behind Komp Cranes

CICA member Komp Cranes has stuck to what they know best, running smaller cranes and servicing the lighter end of the lifting in Melbourne.

Komp Cranes is a family business, which was started by Paul and Melinda Keinhuis in 2002.

Since 2011, it has been owned and run by Danny Toohey and his wife Barbara. The business focuses on all areas of the construction industry including residential and commercial building and it also services general industry in and around Melbourne.

“I have been in cranes and rigging for 25 years and before that, I was in the truck spare parts industry. I basically got into Komp Cranes because I wanted to do it for myself and my family and not work for someone else. It was a case of backing myself and fortunately it has paid off,” said Toohey.

According to Toohey, the business focusses on the smaller end of the market and the fleet reflects this.

“The major point of difference between Komp Cranes and others, is we remain a small company that ticks all the right boxes when it comes to the smaller end of the market and we specialise in smaller cranes up to three axle all terrains.

Currently the fleet includes:

  • 2.85t Maeda mini crawler;
  • 3t Unic crane truck;
  • 13t Kato;
  • 16t Tadano;
  • 40t Liebherr;
  • 55t Liebherr; and
  • 20t Franna.

A 60t Liebherr is on order and is due later this year.

Komp Cranes also operates three tray trucks to help with the logistics of the fleet.

“We will have up to a 60t capacity in our fleet when the new Liebherr arrives, but we also have the ability to source larger cranes from a variety of other yards when needed,” said Toohey.

“The work we do influences the mix of our fleet because there are plenty of jobs with limited or tight access. For our business it is important that we fully utilise the fleet. For this to happen I have been purchasing cranes that are in demand and which can be sent out in a variety of sizes. For example, our 55t crane can be deployed as a 40t machine if my smaller cranes aren’t available,” he said.

According to Toohey, maintenance and servicing of the fleet is the key to crane availability.

“I don’t have a fulltime mechanic and I use a mobile crane mechanic for most of servicing and repairs. We also have a fully equipped workshop and with a couple of mechanics in my staff, we can fix most things ourselves if need be.

“If we are going to see the cranes fully utilised, it’s important for the fleet to be well maintained and serviced. At a minimum, we service our cranes to the manufacture’s specification. We generally outsource the truck servicing, because I know a lot of heavy diesel mechanics,” he said.

Most of the work for Komp Cranes involves small to large building sites, steel erection and domestic work including the installation of swimming pools and spas. The team also works with arborists and moving machinery in industrial applications.

A keen focus on customer service has helped generate long term, customer loyalty, says Toohey.

“We have customers who have been using us since the beginning and we still do work for the very first customer who received invoice number one. Most of our clients aren’t interested in cheaper prices, they just want good reliable service. I take customer service very seriously and want to see every job completed on time and in full,” he said.

Safety is also a key focus for the business and every lift is carefully planned, says Toohey.

“To ensure our work is completed safely, we closely adhere to the safe work practices and guidelines set down by WorkSafe Victoria. We also run a well-maintained fleet of cranes that is periodically inspected as part of CICA’s green sticker program. It is the same with our lifting gear, we ensure it is tested on a regular basis.

“I spend a lot of time conducting site inspections, especially when it comes to the domestic jobs. You never know what you are in for with that type of work, so it’s important that our crews are fully prepared for the site and there are no surprises,” he said.

Komp Cranes generally runs between six and eight staff members, depending on how much work the business has, and most of the staff have plenty of industry knowledge. According to Toohey, the business benefits from being a member of The Crane Industry Council of Australia (CICA).

“We were members of the Victorian Crane Association and we have been a member of CICA since 2012. We see a lot of benefits from our membership. The amount of information available to us is very helpful to the running of the business on a day to day basis and the discounted green stickers is an added bonus, it all adds up.

“I am also an active member of the Victorian Steering Committee and I enjoy playing my part in terms of ‘going in to bat’ for us smaller companies. I also attend the CICA meetings along with representatives from the manufacturers, WorkSafe Victoria, the unions and other interested industry groups. I try and attend the CICA conference because there is always useful knowledge shared during workshops and the networking is also a real plus,” said Toohey.

Support from OEM’s and suppliers in general is important to his business, says Toohey.

“Good support from OEM’s and suppliers in general is a must in this day and age, and I’ve been well supported to date. If a supplier is not offering the right level of support, I don’t hold back in letting them know what I think. If the support still isn’t there, I will never make another purchase from that supplier again. The crane industry is a relatively small community and word gets around quickly,” he said.

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic downturn was of initial concern to Toohey.

“COVID-19 has certainly impacted the business, but I’m sure with the incentives and help from the government and financial institutions, we can all pull through. Initially, I thought my world was going to tumble down, but now I’m staying more positive. As they say, we are all in this together and we’ll all pull through this together,” he said.

“Five years from now, I would like to see the business still going strong with the possibility of getting into the four and five axle mobile crane market. I would also like to think we will have a management team running the business, because my wife and I are doing it all ourselves at the moment.

“I encourage all crane companies to get on board with CICA. A lot of important work goes on behind scenes such as trying to get the stamp duty removed from registration and having the man box rules overhauled. These changes are of importance to our industry and will help Victoria align with the other states.

“If you are not a member of CICA, get on board,” said Toohey.

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