Bringing new elevated work platforms into the Australian market is challenging at the best of times, not to mention having to enter in the middle of a pandemic. It must have seemed like the odds were stacked against them, but that did not stop Jason Rigby and the team at Sinoboom.
Director Jason Rigby has had a range of roles in his life and each has given him the experience and understanding to get Sinoboom off the ground in Australia.
“My background is ex-military. Once I left I stepped into a management role in the hydraulic and industrial hose and fitting industry. In 2016 I stepped into the EWP [elevated work platform] industry and then Sinoboom approached me in 2020 and said they wanted to start up in Australia.”
Sinoboom provided a number of positives for Rigby, but he was not going to rush into a partnership with the Chinese family-owned and based company.
“When Sinoboom approached me, I wanted to first look at the machinery before making any decisions. Having a technical background allowed me to look at the quality of the machines the same way our customers do, then I followed that up by doing a bit of research on the company,” Rigby said.
“Once I got in front of the scissors I saw a very high quality product and, for me, that was most important. I was not going to go round selling a product I did not believe in,” he said.
Founded on February 28, 2008 and located in Changsha, China’s capital for construction and heavy machinery, Sinoboom specialises in the research, manufacture, sales and service of a wide range of access solutions.
Bringing fresh products into Australia can pose a number of challenges, but the Covid-related lockdowns gave Rigby the opportunity to work closely with the hire and rental industry to grow the brand when other manufacturers where struggling.
“It was a tough year with all the lockdowns, but we used that time to really talk to our customers and understand what they needed. Even though I already had experience with EWP’s I was able to understand the finer details of what people needed and implement those into our machines,” Rigby said.
“A few people took a chance on us last year and they have been impressed with the quality of the machines, as well as the aftersales service provided. Stock availability has been important for our success in growing the business. Our timeframes have been at almost pre-Covid levels, which I know a lot of big businesses are still struggling with.
“It has been the perfect storm of poor delivery times from other manufacturers and constant fluctuations in prices that have allowed us to enter the market in such a strong way.”
In previous decades, products coming from China have been met with scepticism in Australia, with operators unsure of their quality and reliability.However, Rigby is confident in the product Sinoboom is delivering.
“Everything you look at is made in China. Whilst, in the past, the Chinese brands’ EWPs have not been great, they have come a long way and after now seeing the quality of our units coming into the country, that perception is slowing changing. Sinoboom is certainly ahead of the pack in quality and reliability,” he said.
“It is amazing when you actually start to show the componentry in the machine and what goes into it. People begin to recognise the quality of the machine and its capabilities.”
Sinoboom has entered the market steadily, ensuring the business can fully support its customers as it scales.
“We have about 17 products in the market at the moment – four telescopic booms, four knuckle booms and nine scissor lifts. This is increasing almost monthly,” Rigby said.
“The 19-foot [5.8m] electric scissor lift has been the entry-level machine into the market; it’s the perfect EWP to trial for both utilisation and market acceptance, so we have seen good numbers being added to large rental fleets.
“The standout for us has been the 48-foot [14.6m] knuckle boom. It is built tough, goes a little bit higher than the standard 46-foot [14m], has a 5° tilt angle, multi-function controls, and it is very striking to look at, making it the perfect package.”
Whilst Sinoboom is ensuring it is comfortable with the products it is bringing to the Australian market, it is looking to the future to deliver a complete range within Australia.
“We are slowly bringing in our hybrid and electric models,” said Rigby.
“These will allow us to deliver a diverse range of products to suit the needs of customers, whilst also doing our part for carbon emissions reduction.”
Rigby has supreme confidence in the product he is delivering and he understands that the industry needs a quality network to meet servicing requirements.
“Immediately we set up our parts and aftersales service. We bought in an industry heavy weight, Mitch Ely, to set up our Sinoboom operations effectively as an OEM and not just a dealership model, to truly deliver to our clients.
“I think a part of the growth is due to the fact that we can support the product with our after sales service,” said Rigby.
“We partnered up with Access Services Australis [ASA], whom are a national service provider who attend onsite breakdowns as well as in-house servicing. We have been able to utilise their services to maintain all the fleets that are out there for varying customers and they have been integral to our success.
“ASA is spread all across the country, so if a breakdown occurs, a team can be mobilised quickly to get on site and get machines up and running; minimising down time and increasing efficiencies.
“In the event ASA cannot figure out an issue, having a team of engineers at the ready in the factory ensures we are able to sort out any issues in a timely manner.”
With Sinoboom beginning to make its way onto Australian construction sites, Rigby has the opportunity to grow the team in Australia.
“Having a dedicated sales manager [Owen McInnes] and a national operations manager [Mitch Ely], the Sinoboom team is growing at a rapid rate to keep up with demand and to continue to grow the business.”