Over the last three years, Two Way Cranes has surprised many with an aggressive approach towards growth. Many in the industry won’t be surprised to learn a further expansion in services is happening, but they might be surprised to learn the direction in which the company is headed.
Two Way Cranes recently announced a major expansion of its services into the Illawarra Region with the opening of a new yard in Unanderra, near Wollongong.
Frank Zammit, managing director Two Way Cranes explains more about the strategy.
“We’ve been working on this development for 12 months. In this time, we have been looking for the right premises which we’ve now found in Resolution Drive, Unanderra. The yard has 4000 sqm of hard stand with a good shed and office so it’s a great starting point for us.
“We already have a number of cranes located in the yard including a 25t Franna superlift, a 55t capacity Liebherr, a 100t capacity, four axle Grove and a 200t Liebherr. As we establish and grow the business, the plan is to build on the capabilities of the fleet.
“There are a number of restrictions on four axle and five axle machines in the region, so we’ve also located one of our four Dolly machines in the yard to enhance the mobilisation of the larger cranes,” said Zammit.
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According to Zammit, the expansion is as a result of the opportunities presented throughout the region.
“There is a lot of industry in the area and there are a number of significant infrastructure projects planned. There is also plenty of diverse activity throughout the Southern Highlands including quarrying and mining which has been a big part of my background. I want to get back into lifting the chocks, the shuttle carts and mining equipment. There is a lot opportunity for this business. In my opinion, I have more opportunity to utilise my machines between Sydney and Nowra compared to heading north where there is more competition.
“In terms of other crane businesses in the region, we are aware there are one or two significant players and a number of smaller companies in the market, but we’ve never worried about competition with our business. The crane industry is competitive wherever you are, and customers have the choice to work with who they want. As always, it comes down to the quality of the people you have, the comprehensive nature of your crane fleet and the service you provide,” said Zammit.
Being local is going to be a key ingredient to the success of the venture says Zammit.
“I am going to employ local people and we are interviewing for key positions as we speak. With small markets like Wollongong, business is very much relationship driven and it is often based on who you know. That is why it is important I employ people from the local area. I already have a local supervisor based in the yard full time and I will be working between the two operations for some time to help build the momentum which every new venture requires,” he said.
“We were recently approached by the procurement departments of several major Tier One builders regarding upcoming projects in the Illawarra area. The fact that Two Way Cranes has for some time been Certified by Supply Nation and an Assured member of the NSW Indigenous Chamber of Commerce will stand us in good stead. We have been involved with a number of major infrastructure projects in Sydney and working well with the Tier One builders. Having the business close to a major centre like Wollongong makes it possible for us to apply the same expertise to these large regional infrastructure projects,” he said.
Zammit is realistic about the time frame for the new venture, but he wants the local market to know he is committed for the long term.
“It will take time to build the business, I am aware of this. It has taken me time to build a good reputation in Sydney and I like to think I am there now. It will take time for the southern business to get traction, but we will show customers in the area the same levels of expertise, service and respect we afford everyone, and the rest will follow,” he said.
One person who is not surprised by the move is Maury Ellis. He has been with Zammit when the business was just the two of them and Choa Yan in accounts.
“I’ve been in cranes for almost 17 years and I’ve been working with Frank since June 2012. When I met Frank, I moved from a large business to his small business. When Frank and I came together, we recognised we had to do anything and everything together, to get the business to where it is today.
“This meant the implementation of a safety management systems, looking at jobs, measuring and quoting them through to putting lift plans together and allocating the work. You name it Frank and I were doing it.
“At the time, it was a bit of a risk moving from a large well-established business, but I could see the dedication, the passion and enthusiasm Frank had for the business and I knew he had the potential to grow,” said Ellis.
Zammit’s dedication and drive are key factors which have contributed to the success of Two Way Cranes says Ellis.
“Frank has a ‘go get’ attitude and not much gets in his way. From the beginning, we put the right business management structures, paperwork, policies and procedures in place. When we first started, we were working as subcontractors to other crane companies and managing their overflow work.
“When we were ready, we approached larger and higher-level clients and began to develop our own relationships and the work came. Frank and I were working on these jobs during the day and then planning for the next days’ work at night. I’m not the type that needs or likes a title, I get on and do what needs to be done and whatever it takes to get it done, I do it,” said Ellis.
When it comes to vision and ambition, by anyone’s standards, the Two Way Cranes story is exceptional. It takes a special team to realise this type of vision. Ellis explains how he and Zammit first saw the opportunities and then explored them.
“At the end of the day we have focused on providing the best service we can, having the right business structures in place and not letting people down. We have delivered on everything we have promised with every project. Our success has come down to reliability and delivering customer service at an elite level.
“Our treatment of employees has been another key factor. We have always valued our team, we’ve treated them as mates more than anything, and we haven’t asked them to do something we are not prepared to do ourselves,” said Ellis.
“Frank has always said he wanted to be one of the largest crane companies in Sydney and at times, I have told him I thought he was absolutely mad. We have locked horns on many occasions and we still do. He says black, I say white and at the end of the day we meet somewhere in the middle.
“In the business, Frank uses the motto ‘We will not fail’ and this will apply to the expansion south. With that attitude he won’t let it fail, and whatever is needed to make the venture successful, it will be done.
“We have started by approaching clients in the local market, tendering on projects offering them an elite level of service, including the best equipment available, and then we will deliver project in full, on time and on budget, as we always have.
“It been an incredible journey with Frank and I am proud of everything he has and will achieve. I am also extremely grateful to the Zammit family for everything they have done for me and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the eight and a half years I’ve spent with them,” said Ellis.