C&L, Cranes & Lifting, Features, Uncategorized

Understanding TRT’s DNA

Over 57 years, TRT has worked hard to be recognised as a progressive engineering and manufacturing business specialising in the crane sector. Managing director Bruce Carden says it’s a busy time for the business, not only manufacturing the TIDD pick and carry crane, bespoke crane trailers and crane pads but representing Manitowoc products, including Grove all terrains, in New Zealand and Queensland, as well as the Kobelco range of crawlers throughout Oceania.

Inviting existing and potential customers to visit the manufacturing facility in Hamilton, New Zealand is an important strategy which enables customers to better understand TRT’s DNA, said Bruce.

“Over the last three years we have focused on getting customers to our factory and demonstrating what TRT stands for. For us, it’s imperative that we bring groups of potential buyers to view the business and show them firsthand how TRT goes about its business. There is no doubt that all visitors are impressed when they see raw steel entering one end of our facility and rolling stock, which could be either cranes, trailers or crane pads, rolling out the other. Understanding how we do things helps customers better understand TRT’s DNA,” said Bruce.

“Our approach has always been to understand the customer’s business and then look at what solutions we can offer to help make their business A: more profitable, and B: fix the issues the customer is experiencing.

“This approach is something our team does very well, we ‘deep dive’ into customer enquiries and really get to the bottom of what it is that they are looking for in terms of lifting or transportation solutions. When we understand what the customer requires, we can provide the best solution,” he said.

TRT’s specialist and bespoke crane trailers have been extremely successful over recent years, said Bruce.

“One area where we’ve had good success in is our specialist crane trailers. Customers can come to us with a particular model of crane, and it doesn’t matter what brand or type, we’ll look at the specific product and figure out the best transport solution for that particular crane.

“We now have a significant number of crane trailers operating in both the New Zealand and Australian crane sectors. Existing customers return for new trailers, and we are increasingly talking to new customers who see our trailers in the marketplace, they can see how they would benefit their businesses, and they are coming to us also,” said Bruce.

Borger Crane Hire is a major purchaser of TRT crane trailers.

“It’s been a nice long-standing relationship with both Shawn and Nathan [Borger] and their father Jon, although Jon is not so active in the business these days. Shawn and Nathan have taken that business to another level, and I would like to think we are one of the partners that have helped them get there. They came to me almost 10 years ago when their first crane required purpose-built trailers –  a 500t capacity Liebherr all-terrain and wanted crane trailer solutions for that. And since that time, we’ve built over 100 crane trailers for all the various cranes that they have in their fleet.

“It’s now got to the point that virtually every time they buy a new all-terrain crane, they order a set of TRT engineered ground pads to go with it because they’ve realised that the engineering behind the pads and the certification we provide can be presented to Tier One sites which is beneficial for their business,” said Bruce.

A key element of the recent factory visit was the demonstration of the all-new TIDD PC28-3G.

“We wanted to reinforce to the market that the development of our new TIDD PC28-3G Pick and Carry Crane has been driven by a continuous focus on innovation and actively exceeding expectations for customers.

“For the factory visit we had our second production 3G unit, as we call it, ready for demonstrations. During the two days that they were on site, they witnessed both the build quality of the product through the manufacturing and assembly processes, but just as importantly, we put on a live demonstration, which showed them a lot of the safety features that are with the crane,” said Bruce.

“And one thing that came out loud and clear is that from an operator’s perspective, there is a significant step up in drivability compared to the PC28-2. The new Euro 6 Cummins engine is a lot quieter than the old Mercedes engine and another feature they love is the retarder that’s put on the transmission for helping the crane with its braking. All in all, we had a really good response to the 3G, and we’ve now got a number of customers talking about placing orders as a result of the tour,” said Bruce.

TRT’s range of crane pads were also on display.

“We’ve been designing and manufacturing crane pads for 10 years and we have a customer in Empire Cranes who has taken a position in the market to dry hire these crane pads. Their business model’s a little bit different to others and we’ve supplied them with a number of these pads. The attraction for Empire Cranes and others, is that the pads come with certified engineering documentation so that when they go onto a Tier One site, they provide the Geotech Engineer with all the ground pressures that these pads are going to produce. That allows Empire Cranes to supply not just the pads to the market, but a complete engineered lifting solution, which is again, part of TRT’s DNA,” said Bruce.

Bruce goes on to discuss the business philosophy in terms of design, engineering and manufacturing and the investment in robotic manufacturing.

“About 15 years ago, we decided to bring a lot more of these processes in house. And the reason for that is that we were having issues with our subcontractors, both from a quality point of view, but just as importantly from a delivery point of view.

“One thing we pride ourselves on is when we give a customer a delivery date, we want to stick with it. Particularly as a company manufacturing in New Zealand and exporting to Australia, we need to ensure that the product is ready on the day the ship sails. And by having a lot of these processes in-house, we manage to do that. We’ve invested heavily in high-definition plasma cutters, we’ve invested in robotic welding. And the learning curve with the robotic welding has been a steep one because of the range of product that we manufacture.

“It’s a very complex solution. It’s not like we’re building hundreds and hundreds of small repeat parts as happens in the automotive industry. Our robot can build two of a kind and then immediately have a totally different product put on it and build two of that kind. So, it’s certainly well-suited for our industry now that we have it up and running well.

Neil Webb joined TRT Australia a little over two years ago. Bruce discusses the TRT Australia operation with Neil at the helm.

“We made a decision back in early 2021 that we wanted to get someone within our business that had cranes in their blood. We were looking for someone that had general manager skills, had that background and could manage a team of people.

“I got put in touch with Neil during the days of COVID-19, and that was an interesting joining of our two paths. We offered 20 per cent shares in our business over a number of teams calls and signed Neil as the General Manager to run our Australian operations.

“I’ve got to say, it’s been one of the best things that TRT has done in the last 10 years and certainly set TRT Australia up for success. Neil understands exactly what is required in the crane industry to make a successful business. And that’s not just selling product, it involves offering the best possible product support which makes the business model work,” said Bruce.

Bruce looks to the future and confirms his vision for the business.

“My vision for the business is to carry what we have built on for the last 57 years and to take TRT into the future as a family-owned business. My wife Mary, our son Jeremy and myself are working in the business and we see that TRT is well positioned for the future. We’ve got some great agencies and we’ve got great people – and without the people behind us, it wouldn’t be the business that it is today. We’re planning for, and looking forward to, the next 10 plus years with the intention of taking the business to new levels without losing sight of the values that have helped the business succeed for the last 57 years,” he said.


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