Mining and construction services company EMS has experienced a 20% average annual growth rate since its establishment in 2010. Director Tom Cavanagh says the company’s competitive edge is in its geographical location at Dubbo – with limited direct competition, excellent transport and logistics, and access to new mining operations within a 300km radius.

About EMS

What does EMS specialise in? 

EMS specialises in servicing the mining and construction industries. We offer mechanical repairs to heavy machinery; specialised machinery hire; labour hire of skilled mechanics; new and used parts sales; and machinery sales.

We pride ourselves on our skilled workforce and our personalised customer focus.

Who is the target market?

Generally, our markets include the mining, construction, agricultural and government industries as well as owner-operators of machinery. However, EMS offers great options for anyone who uses machinery; from sales and hire, to parts, repairs and advice. We've recently changed the company structure to include five core sections - EMS Workshop, EMS Labour, EMS Hire, EMS Sales, EMS Parts. Each of these sections has a slightly different target market, some of which are interstate and international, and allows us to offer an enhanced service specific to our customers' needs. 

How does EMS operate?

EMS is based in Dubbo and services customers all across the world. Our labour hire division is mainly suited to the mining industries and has been contracted to all parts of Australia, including Western Australia, South Australia, and all parts of New South Wales.

To cater for growing demand, we have recently purchased land in Dubbo's Moffatt Estate to develop purpose-built premises and we will soon launch our new and improved website to better serve both our local and international customers.

How many people does EMS employ?

20+ employees, mostly full-time however some are casual and sub-contractors.

When was EMS established?

3 March 2010.

How has EMS evolved since it was established?

Initially it was just me working from the back of a ute as a labour hire mechanic, but I saw an opportunity to expand into supplying labour and so secured a mechanical workshop to use as a base. This first step was a pretty daunting task. To equip the workshop alone cost $250,000 and we needed to ensure that we could succeed in this expansion. The risk was well worth it. Over the past few years, EMS has been very fortunate to secure great staff and great customers. In the more recent years, we have expanded again into offering hire machinery (mainly underground specialised equipment), part sales (most of which are imported from Italy, USA and Asia) and machinery sales.

Each division is fast becoming a standalone viable sector, which is what prompted us to re-brand our company and more clearly define our values.

What does the future look like for EMS?

Since day one, we have always had a detailed business plan to use as a map for our future. Obviously this has changed dramatically, but it has been a great tool to use as our yard stick. We have just completed our plan moving forward into the next five years and I am confident that with the staff and knowledge we all share here, we can push EMS into a strong, proudly local, success story for many years to come. 

We have managed to continue our growth by around 20% p.a and we are expecting this trend to continue as we move into our new premises and target the online market more extensively.

About EMS Director, Tom Cavanagh

Why do you choose to do business in Dubbo?

The geographical location - we're in the centre of NSW with a lot of mining activity within 300km radius. Dubbo is a growing City with a growing economy, which is helpful when trying to build a large business. 

I'm also a Dubbo local, so I know the people well and have friends here. This is where I want my children to grow up.

How was the experience of establishing a business in Dubbo – what were some of the obstacles and highlights?

The experience has been great. For me, the opportunities in Dubbbo were obvious and the type of service that EMS can provide is not like anything else here. While our target market is not as large in Dubbo as it is in other regions, it means the threat of direct competition is limited. Eventually this will change, so we need to make sure that we am always improving our services and products. This is a challenge I am looking forward to. 

Some highlights have been meeting other like-minded business owners in Dubbo who are willing to share ideas and issues, which is an invaluable tool, and when people assume that EMS is a nationally-based company. When people ask ‘where is your head office?’ and I say ‘Dubbo’, it usually generates an interesting response.

What is the biggest lesson you have learnt by being in business?

As long as your service or product offers more value to the customer than anyone else’s, you will be fine. You don’t have to be cheaper – just better value. You can conduct competitive business without resorting to smear tactics and tricks. Reliable, consistent results will ensure you have a successful future.

It's also good practice to research and study your market, your business, your competitors, and your staff as regularly as possible.

What advice would you give to others thinking of establishing a business or relocating their business to Dubbo? 

As long as it isn’t a business the same as mine, get here now! *Laughs

Generally speaking, being on an interstate route, the freight systems are great with many options.

Talk to people in a similar industry that isn’t necessarily a potential competitor (i.e. builder talking to plumber). You could get an idea of where the market is lacking and see if you can find a niche service to provide.

Also, mining operations are starting to pop up which will filter down to more work for almost every type of service in Dubbo.

What do you love most about living in Dubbo?

The people. Our staff are amazing and our turnover is very low. Our customers are loyal and appreciate a value service.

The community is great – sporting groups and clubs are very supportive and welcome new starters – and the City's facilities are always improving.

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