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Melrose Cranes add new Grove GMK 5150L-1, BDM to the company

The Melrose Cranes & Rigging team stand in front of its new Grove GMK5150L-1 with new BDM Kane Fuller.

Melrose Cranes & Rigging recently added a new Grove GMK 5150L-1 and announced the addition of prominent industry figure Kane Fuller as Business Development Manager. Cranes and Lifting magazine discusses the developments with Kane and General Manager Ryan Melrose.

The new Grove arrived in early May and is one of a pair now operating in the Melrose fleet, Ryan Melrose said.

“We have been operating our first Grove GMK 5150L since 2017. It was one of the first 150s manufactured by Grove and to my knowledge it was the first one in Australia. It’s been an excellent crane for the business and has performed well.

“The new model Grove GMK 5150L-1 is part of our ‘pairing strategy’ for our fleet. We aim to have a minimum of a ‘pair’ of any crane model; for some models we have three or four. 

“We also find this strategy is excellent for driver familiarisation and streamlining repairs and maintenance. Adding to that ever-changing client programs, along with the complexity of lift study and lift engineering processes requirements, this strategy is proving very successful,” he said. 

Positioned as a great all-rounder crane, the Grove GMK 5150L is ideal for work sites with tight tolerances, boasting an impressive ability to manoeuvre and a high load capacity with some of the strongest lifting charts in its class.

Its MegaTrak independent suspension system offers one of the best off-road drivelines available on the market today and allows the GMK 5150L to operate as a true all-terrain crane. 

An all-wheel steer system means its wheels always remain on the ground, so stresses and weight are continually transferred between axles. Counterweight configurations enable setup from 1t counterweight to taxi configurations of 10t per axle in NSW and 12t per axle for other states – giving the unit greater roadability and transport savings. 

The new single engine concept on the GMK5150L with the latest Tier 4 engine keeps fuel consumption low. An intelligent motor management system reduces operational cost and maintenance, while the ECOmode program makes it arguably the most fuel-efficient crane in its class. 

The 60m main boom can be further extended with a 17.8m swingaway and one 8m boom extension and or one 8m jib insert to a maximum length of 33.8m with up to 50 degree offset.

“Our first GMK 5150L was a good performer and popular with the team at Melrose Cranes & Rigging,” Ryan said.

“It was the highest capacity 5-axle crane that could be registered without a dolly in NSW when it was released. Knowing what the Grove 150 could do in terms of roadability and what I would get out of the crane, along with our pairing strategy, were major reasons for purchasing another Grove 150,” he added.

“Grove are logistically very close to us, just 10 minutes away, which means their technicians are always on hand if there is ever an issue. We also have long term relationships with their team, including Andrew Gray. Andrew worked here for a long time as our Heavy Lift Manager, so he knows how we like to work. Our relationship with Manitowoc and the Grove product prospered on the back of Andrew. We wish him all the very best in his well-earned recent retirement,” said Ryan.

Ryan goes on to introduce Kane and why he is happy to welcome him to Melrose Cranes & Rigging.

“Finding people to bring into the business with the amount of industry knowledge that Kane has can be difficult and obviously you don’t normally stand a chance of bringing someone in from an established family business.” 

“The circumstances around the closing down of Fullers Mobile Cranes business are unfortunate, however, they have led to a positive outcome for this business. We have managed to recruit a very well performing General Manager from another business to hopefully help us improve our business, hence Kane’s role as Business Development Manager. 

“It’s great to have a new approach to certain things and to discuss ideas on how we can improve aspects of the business, that’s one of the main reasons we were keen to recruit Kane. Although he now wears a Melrose shirt, he has already noted that his approach will be to treat this business like his own family business. We are looking forward to watching that progress,” said Ryan.

Kane explains what attracted him to the company.

“It being a family business was very appealing. There are plenty of businesses out there, but the Melrose business is about family and what you see is what you get. Gregg Melrose is like my father with his approach, so that is something I am very familiar with. Fifteen years at Fullers taught me how to deal with his generation, which is a good thing, you know with him it’s straight and direct. You thoroughly prepare your proposal, you head into his office, you state your case, you agree or not and you are out. 

“With Ryan being younger, I have someone who is of similar thought. I didn’t want to work in a business where management is set in their ways and doesn’t want change. I’m all for development and improving business practices. With the direction in which our industry is heading, if you don’t continually strive to improve business practices, you will be left behind,” said Kane.

“That’s where we were successful at Fullers, we adapted well, we bought new cranes, we kept pace with the changing requirements from our clients and I can see there is a commitment from the Melrose family to keep improving and grow this business,” he said.

Kane explains how his approach to managing a business will benefit Melrose Cranes & Rigging. 

“In terms of work experience, Ryan and I are  similar in that we’ve worked  extensively within our respective family businesses Joining Melrose has been an eye-opener for me. I have been part of the decision-making processes for 15 years and I am confident this experience will add value to the Melrose business and with Ryan, I’ll have an opportunity to do just that,” said Kane.

Ryan and Kane go on to discuss what the role of Business Development Manager will mean from an external perspective and what clients can expect to see.

“The most important aspect of my role is to be that middle person where I can relay feedback from the clients to the teams and to Ryan. With the size of the company and with what he has on his plate, he can’t be everywhere… that’s the nature of the beast.

“I am going to be an extension of him, I’ll be able to let him know what’s going on in the core of the business, what’s happening with the crews, what the chat is in the yard and provide him with feedback from our clients,” said Kane.

Ryan explains how he sees Kane’s role.

“The most important part about the title Business Development Manager is not to associate the role as being a salesman. Across a lot of industries, Business Development is about bringing income and increasing sales.

“A component of what we’d like Kane to be able to bring is to keep and maintain customer relations. But development of the business happens internally as well, our approach to everything, our policies, our procedures, how we’re going to manage certain situations; that’s business development in itself,” said Ryan.

Kane has been impressed by the levels of experience Melrose Cranes has in Project Management.

“With Melrose Cranes &Rigging, I am surrounded by very experienced people, especially in the Project Management Team, headed by Projects Director, Mick Melrose. I didn’t really have that at Fullers, and I wish I had someone like Mick to turn to. At Melrose, there’s a lot of experience in the room, and we lacked that,” he said.

Long-term relationships with clients and long-term project management are the key to success, says Ryan.

“For customers to keep coming back for our services you must have a level of pre-qualification and experience to get the chance to even tender for the project.

“If you don’t have the right amount of people in WHS, compliance and project management, you will struggle to be awarded the job. You might be awarded a project based on cost, but the bigger builders will quickly spit you out if you can’t keep up with their requirements. These requirements are intense and constantly changing,” he said.

“You need people that can adapt to accommodate these changes. Kane brings his own experience with the same customers. He can tell them what he’s experiencing within the business and hopefully continue his relationship with them, because we were on the same jobs. There are a few projects currently running where both Fullers and Melrose had contracts.

“As I have said, the day gets very busy for our Project Management Team. They will be attending meetings, dealing with specific lifts, dealing with day to day problems that might pop up. The constant management of a site, especially with multiple cranes, or more permanent cranes can be very time-consuming for them.

“Kane is introducing himself to our customers and he’s there to say ‘if you’re seeing issues across the Melrose business, I can help you resolve these as a I’m direct link to executive management. 

“The customer will see we care. We are sending Kane to see how things are going, I think that kind of approach will benefit the business, and keep the customers happy,” said Ryan.

“Relationships and feedback are probably the biggest issues for me right now,” said Kane. “At the end of the day, you can be as cheap as you want, but if you can’t deliver the right levels of service, you won’t last long in this business. Customers will continue to return for the right levels of service and if the relationships are strong. That is why Melrose has long-term clients”. 

“Customers keep coming back because they know that they are going to deal with very experienced PM’s, led by Mick. 

“Add to this the fact that our allocations department is first class and customers can deal with Ryan, and now myself, on more strategic issues, this business is ticking all the right boxes,” said Kane.

For Ryan, the motivation is in exceeding customer expectations – a phrase the company utilises as a motto. 

“We stand by the slogan ‘Exceeding your Expectations,’ but if you are not asking customers for their feedback you may not find out until it is too late,” said Ryan.

“A key part of Kane’s role will be asking for feedback, and to understand what we are doing well and where we could improve”.

“This feedback is very important, as it will help us improve aspects of our business, to build on our strengths but also work on our weaknesses and improve the overall service we provide our customers.”

“It’s important to me that they are not just words, the slogan dictates how our people should approach work. Close enough isn’t good enough, we are striving to be excellent in everything we do. ‘Exceeding your Expectations,’ is how we want our company to perform at all levels, all of the time,” said Ryan. 

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