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CICA Member Profile: Two Way Cranes

The management of the Two Way business is run by Frank Zammit and his family but their success revolves around listening to their customers.

The management of the Two Way business is run by Frank Zammit and his family but their success revolves around listening to their customers.

Over the last 18 months, Frank Zammit from Two Way Cranes has pieced together an acquisition puzzle that’s changing the crane hire landscape in Sydney. Throughout the process there has been one constant every step of the way – his wife Nichole.

Nichole first started working in the business seven years ago and with the birth of their second child, she continued working from home managing pay roll and other roles. She’s now back fulltime.

“Since the purchase of DJ Adair business, 12 months ago, I’ve been in the office five days a week, managing invoicing, accounts and payroll and everything to do with the administration of the business,” she said,

Nichole has been very involved in Frank’s journey every step of the way.

“We are a husband and wife team; he has always bounced his ideas off me and I’ve always been there to support him. I admire him, I think he’s amazing, starting with one crane on his own to what he has now, who wouldn’t be proud of and pleased for him?” she said.

“It keeps him busy and it keeps us busy as a couple, the kids love it and enjoy coming into the yard and looking at all the cranes.

“With long hours – 60-70 hours a week – it is a factor in a family and can be difficult to manage a work life balance. At times it can blend but it is also important to keep work separate. Frank spends a lot of hours at work but he’s very good with family time. If we have something important as a family, he is always there, and we don’t always talk work at home,” said Nichole.

Bringing together the three businesses is the main challenge for the Zammits.

“Working with Frank on the acquisition of the DJ Adair business and now Gillespie Cranes has been an interesting journey for us. The big change came last year when we took on DJ Adair, that was a massive change,” said Nichole.

“Overnight, we doubled in size and we changed systems. They were doing things very differently to us, and if I’m honest a lot better than us, and it was natural for us to take on their systems and do things the way they do it, and we’re still learning. That was a massive change,” she said.

“As a big a deal as the Gillespie acquisition is for us, and it is massive, it’s not as over-whelming, and now, it feels like we have got some serious momentum and we’re just going to keep going.”

Nichole is not fazed by the challenges ahead.

“It might sound funny, but nothing has really changed in terms of how we operate. There’s going to be more work and I’m currently trying to fill gaps with staff. We’ve retained staff from Gillespies and I’ve got gaps in the administration team that I need to fill, but I don’t think a great deal will change,” said Nichole.

“From an outsider’s perspective, this must look like a massive step. There have been a couple of major acquisitions, we have a lot invested in ‘brands’ like DJ Adair and Gillespie and ours (Two Way Cranes) is relatively unknown. We are also bringing together different cultures and business systems,” she said.

According to Nichole, Frank’s management style is one of empowering his team.

“I can see Frank is learning as he goes, he’s always bouncing ideas of Danny (Adair) and he has a lot of respect for him. But Frank is also very good at what he does, and he is very passionate about the business,” said Nichole.

“He’s not the ‘my way or the highway’ type, he’s open to everyone’s ideas and he wants the business to be a team effort and for everyone to have ownership of what they are doing. He always talks about ‘Team Two Way’, it’s on our cranes and it’s the culture he’s instilling in the business,” she said.

“In this business you never stop learning, and Frank is no different, he won’t get to a position where he thinks he knows it all, he’s not like that. He wants to build on a team environment where everyone works together,” said Nichole.

The immediate objective is to see the three businesses come together under the one banner.

“We’re working to get everything under the one banner and to gel the team,” said Nichole.

“Frank’s immediate plan will be to sell old and buy new cranes, for example he’s selling a 130t and replacing it with a 150t, to keep up with market demands. He’s not going to buy cranes to add to the fleet, we’ll consolidate and focus on quality machines and maintain the solid customer base we have,” she said.

The plan also includes the purchase the facility in Cox Place, Glendenning while retaining the Two Way Crane premises in Kilto Crescent.

“The Gillespie acquisition will keep us busy for a while, but we have worked with Danny and Amanda (Adair) since we acquired their business and it will be the same here.

This is a different type of business, it’s a 60 year old business and it comes with its own ‘wow factor’ and legacy,” said Nichole.

“Gillespies have customers of 30 years, staff of 30 years and as best we can, we want to maintain those customers and staff and continue to provide stability to the business. We will focus on the quality of our business, support and service we provide our customers. To do that, we need to ensure we have the right type and quality of machinery at our disposal,” she said.

“We’re setting a plan for the fleet, so we know when the new cranes are coming and what we’re going to need in the interim. We’re going to be project managers for tier-one builders and we both recognise there’s a high level of expectation when you are operating at that level and we want the market to know we are going to deliver at that level,” said Nichole.

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