Features, Products, Victoria

Servicing Grove for Victorians

With a commitment to customer service and high quality product support and repairs, JDM Services has been servicing the Victorian crane sector since 2015. 

Since then, Owners and Directors John Mahoney and his wife Kreston have gone on to become the Victorian Service Agent for Manitowoc including Grove all terrains and the full range of products. John takes up the story.

“After years of working for multiple businesses and with a long history in the crane sector, especially in crane repair, Kreston and I decided we had something to offer by owning and operating our own crane repair business and providing a highly personalised service to support customers. 

“So, seven years ago, with a couple of good clients, we started JDM Services and we haven’t looked back. There hasn’t been much need to advertise as the business has grown through word of mouth because we were well connected with the crane industry here in Melbourne,” said John.

John explains how he worked for crane OEM Terex in Melbourne. It was a great opportunity to work directly for a manufacturer, learning about the latest technology on the vast array of Terex products alongside his mentor Terry Cameron. This opportunity gave him a chance to work with a wide range of customers he is still in contact with now.

JDM Services has been the Manitowoc Service Agent since 2017.

“I started off back in 1996-97 working for Terry Cameron and Brian Green, at Mantaura Diesel which was a private crane repairer back in the day. This was really the foundation for getting into the industry in the first place. I enjoyed meeting new people within the industry, and I still deal with a number of them today.

“We are very grateful to both Terry and Brian who took the time to share their knowledge and experience of the industry and giving me a ‘can do’ attitude to fixing cranes and running a business,” said John.

“Today, our services include everything from general crane servicing and breakdown support, right through to accident repair work and major inspections. We also provide a 24-hour product support service to all our customers. 

“A chance to become a crane safe inspector has allowed the business to continue to grow whilst maintaining a high standard of cranes throughout the Victorian industry. It also allows us to continually improve the performance of our technicians in the field with ongoing training and a focus on safety.

“At the moment, we are also working on a number of major crane overhauls in the workshop. We offer a vast array of services, but pretty much everything we do revolves around cranes,” he said.

John goes on to explain more about the Manitowoc Service Agent and JDM Services.

“We’ve been the Manitowoc Service Agent since 2017. This came on the back of meeting with Gary Barker when he came back to Australia and was appointed National Service Manager. I’d had some dealings with Gary in the past when he was here in Melbourne years ago.

“Obviously, we knew each other, and he was pretty keen to put something together. I’d had plenty of experience with Grove all terrains over the years having worked for a large crane hire company in Melbourne which operated a large fleet of Groves. 

“We had also worked closely with Danny Hall, who is the Senior Technician here in Melbourne and these relationships continue today and have developed over time. We virtually started off by supporting Danny in what he was doing here in Melbourne to the point where right through covid we provided the ‘full service’ ourselves due to the border closures. 

“And this continues today. We provide everything from Pre-Delivery Inspections (PDIs) on the new cranes as they come off the wharves and are delivered to customers. We provide driver training right through to product support as well as servicing and repairs,” John said.

John goes on to discuss the facilities JDM Services operates from and the experience he has in his team. 

“Our facility and workshop is located 45 minutes north of the Melbourne CBD.  We are just breaking ground on a new purpose-built crane workshop facility that will be constructed later this year.

“This will cater for all customers’ needs going forward. We operate with five technicians which includes four crane mechanics and an apprentice. We have one admin staff and five service vehicles on the road every day. These are pretty much operating in and around Victoria, be it onsite or in the workshops of other crane businesses carrying out repairs and servicing cranes,” said John.

John explains how JDM Services various brands on the market and what a customer can expect from the business in terms of service levels.

“We don’t just service and support the Manitowoc product line, we are working right across the various brands; anything a customer needs.  It doesn’t matter what it is, we work on Japanese brands, and I have a lot of customers that bring their Demag products to us because we have had a long association with that brand when I was working with Terex.

JDM Services provide driver training right through to product support as well as servicing and crane repairs.

“We work with Japanese crawlers and we are also supporting the TRT product here in Victoria as their Service Agent as well. So, we service all their products including the TIDD pick and carry range as well as purpose built TRT trailers,” said John.

The Melbourne crane sector is very busy at the moment and John explains why.

“The market is extremely busy in Melbourne. We could probably keep 10 technicians busy if we thought we could get the right quality of technicians to maintain our high standards. 

“Even with that number you still wouldn’t have enough to support the demand. There’s a tremendous amount of infrastructure at the moment, and this is driving the demand for cranes. This has led to a large uptake of new cranes into the sector, but the high levels of demand have also meant older cranes have stayed in the market. 

“Long lead times on new equipment have encouraged customers to overhaul older equipment and machinery to help keep their fleets at sizes that help meet these increased demands,” said John.

“These market influences are good for a business like ours, but they also bring headaches. Crane servicing and repairs is a hard trade to work in just because of the product you are working on, and the nature of the work required. This means it’s not for everybody. 

“The industry is strong and will remain so. There are more cranes than ever in sector but there is a limited number of technicians to work with. I think the industry needs to make itself more attractive for youngsters for example, who can have a really bright career with cranes,” he said.

John goes on to discuss the work culture of JDM Services, how he attracts technicians to the business and more importantly, how he retinas their services.

“Our focus, and outlook has always been on the business, and we will continue to do that. To a customer, that means it doesn’t matter what their needs are, they know they can call and will get me on the phone 24/7.

“Every day, I’m in touch with what the guys are doing either in the workshop or on the road. I’m still on the tools to a varying level every day, which I think helps motivate the staff because they see that the guy paying the bills is also the one on the floor. That can be helping the guys in what they’re doing, or it can be assisting in training as we go look to further their knowledge and skill levels.

“We are a small family business, and we take a personal approach to doing business. I think we are able to attract technicians, look after them and keep them because of that personal touch and the fact that we understand what the guys are going through because I’m there in the trenches with them. 

“That makes a big difference, and it means the guys are very supportive of what we do. We look after them extremely well and we wouldn’t have a business if we didn’t have good technicians working for us. We’ve just been extremely lucky to pick up some great people along the way and they continue to stay with and work hard for our customers every day,” said John. 

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