Rhys Millington, founder of 2020 start-up Machine Control Australia (MCA), believes the company has created a foundation for growth this year in Australia’s competitive mining equipment technology market.
Having started scaling on the back of exposure to civil activity in eastern Australia, and reasonably small-scale links to mining, MCA is seeing increasing opportunities to bring its diverse mix of products and expanded support capacity to a market with a growing appetite for vehicle control and automation technologies.
“We have goals to deliver top-notch equipment and services to the mining sector this year,” Millington told InvestMETS.
“Previously, lengthy payment terms would have been a challenge, but we are confident that would no longer be an issue.
“Another challenge we faced is extensive travel for my technicians and taking them away from their families and the areas we support.
“We have plans to expand and move into regional areas and hire local technicians, to ensure the mining sector gets the same level of support as our current [civil] customers.”
MCA has seven technicians and Millington sees scope to double that number this year and next.
He said the company was also set to add new brands to the top-shelf Trimble, Topcon and Hemisphere machine control products currently in its portfolio.
“We are getting great traction in the market due to our expertise in working with multiple brands,” Millington said.
“MCA’s ability to work with mixed fleets at a site reduces the need for multiple technicians and ensures that all brands work seamlessly together.
“This sometimes sounds easier than what it is.
“The company also offers after-hours support, making it convenient for customers who require assistance outside normal business hours.”
Multi-brand sales, rental and support were key planks of Millington’s business plan when he funded and kick-started MCA during Australia’s lengthy COVID lockdowns in 2020, “to fill a void in the market for support services and installations of any blade guidance system on the market”.
“One trend I observed is the increased investment in technology and automation for the construction and mining sectors,” he said.
“[It] is driving efficiency and reducing costs for companies operating in these industries.”
MCA is already working with “tier two” mining contractors.
Millington recognises that attracting and retaining skilled technicians will be key to the company’s growth in the sector.
“Our commitment to excellence drives us to invest time and resources in the development of our technicians,” he said.
“Our training procedures are designed to set us apart from our competitors and are built upon their foundational knowledge and experience.
“Many of the technicians [MCA hires] are trade-qualified instrument technicians. This reduces the amount of training required, allowing us to focus on honing their skills and providing specialised training where necessary.”
Millington says MCA has had a strong start to 2023.
“The pace of work is relentless,” he said.
“The thirst for technology continues to grow.”
The founder has already knocked back early interest from outside parties in buying into MCA, saying he wants to maintain its growth and build value in the enterprise before opening the door to potential investors.