C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Features

Flexibility key to Melrose evolution

Utilising his private business, Melrose Industries, Gregg Melrose is making a massive range of cranes available for dry hire.

Utilising his private business, Melrose Industries, Gregg Melrose is making a massive range of cranes available for dry hire.

The construction sector is continually assessing methods and processes to increase on-site productivity and reduce inefficiencies. Recognising that in a highly competitive market, this drive for greater efficiencies will impact crane hire businesses, Gregg Melrose is doing something about it.

“We have experience in the dry hire market over many years, but I will now have specific points of contact for hire within the Melrose Group of Companies. Nothing will change with Melrose Cranes and Rigging (MCR); my son, Ryan, will run the business day-to-day and report to me on the wet hire side of things.

“MI is well-established as a company so it’s not a major transition to offer dry hire. We have the equipment and the contacts and it’s our intention to test the market for customers who want excellent quality dry hire equipment,” said Melrose.

Melrose explains what types of equipment he can offer.

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“Our Sydney fleet ranges from 3t-capacity mini crawlers up to our Evolution crane, a 500t-capacity Liebherr all terrain. The new 500t features the standard 50m and optional 84m long boom, with every accessory.  We also have a fleet of dry hire machines with capacities up to 750t in both lattice and hydraulic booms, rough terrains, all terrains, Frannas, TIDDs, and mini crawlers – whatever the customer needs. Heavy transport is also done in-house.

“The cranes are all local and made available through the network of contacts I’ve made during the last 40 years. There are over 80 cranes in this network; some I own, others I cross-hire. I rent cranes from my connections and they rent cranes from me; it’s a reciprocal relationship that’s been in place for a long time. I will quote on any project, anywhere in Australia,” he said.

“We have just tendered for a major government project in South Australia. The cranes range from a 400t capacity crawler crane down to a Franna, and a lot of access equipment. I am able to provide whatever they require. If they want cranes and access equipment, with a full Melrose crew, they’ll get that. If they want to dry hire other units from me, I’ll send a supervisor to put them together using the client’s local crew.

“What I am pushing here is flexibility. We are prepared to be flexible to meet the customer’s needs and I’m talking about customers across all industries, not just in specific markets,” said Melrose.

Melrose can also see an opportunity to involve Melrose Access Hire (MAH) in any dry hire agreements. “Wherever you see a crane operating, you will see an elevated work platform or boomlift,” he said.

“MAH is run by Dean Halliwell and his wife, Kristine, who are long-term friends of the Melrose family. Dean is great mates with my youngest brother Mick; he was our next door neighbour growing up as kids and has an older brother who is a similar age to myself and my brother Tony. Our relationship goes back 50 years,” said Melrose.

The Halliwells are very successful entrepreneurs in the access hire market, having bought, built up, and sold various companies in the sector. Six years ago they were planning to retire, but then decided they wanted to be involved with the Melrose brand and build a new company, which they have done. “Dean and Kristine own half the business, Tony and I the other half,” said Melrose.

“When we started the access business, Dean said he didn’t want more than 60 pieces of equipment,” said Melrose. Today, they run a fleet of 250-plus units of all sizes, from 12” vertical lifts to ultra booms. They also have all terrain telehandlers for hire.

The three companies are run as separate entities, but they are very closely linked and there is an obvious strong synergy between access equipment, crane rental and heavy transport.

“MCR has seven project managers who push the MAH brand to all of our clients. They will also now increase customer awareness of the dry hire business and the opportunities and benefits it offers whilst keeping the development of the MCR wet hire business as their major priority. The project managers in MAH do exactly the same thing, in reverse, so there is a constant stream of information shared between the various businesses. This combines to ensure we all offer our customers the most efficient and economical solution, from one enquiry.

“Our clients can expect only the best quality. Equipment is always presented as everyone expects a Melrose unit to be presented, be that in the Sydney market or any other,” said Melrose.

“People are not necessarily aware, but we’ve always had site-based machinery on dry hire. I recently placed my Linkbelt TCC1400 crawler onsite with a couple of multi-use Manitous on long term hire. The rough terrain fleet is all out currently (130T, 80T, 55T & 30T). A Liebherr LTR1100 crawler was just dropped off in the Snowy Mountains and two all terrains are headed to the Hunter Valley. We have all types of equipment that we have not pushed before and we feel now is the right time to do it,” said Melrose.

The word that Melrose wants to strongly reinforce to customers is flexibility. “Take the contractor on a big project who needs a heavy crawler crane, but only for two to three days a week. He’s going to need a Franna/TIDD occasionally, plus a Manitou with all the attachments to be the access piece of equipment and also do all the ‘dog’s body’ work. The combined Melrose Group can tailor a package to give the customer all his requirements.

“We have an exceptionally good team at MCR and with builders and constructors examining productivity and wastage in the construction process, that’s my focus. We think this flexible approach to clients will work well, helping them make significant cost savings into the bargain,” said Melrose.

The new Grove GMK5250XL-1 all terrain will join MCR’s wet hire fleet in early October. With 78.5m of main boom and compact dimensions, it is sure to impress clients across all industries.

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