Three generations of the McIntyre family have contributed to making CAPS Australia the largest independent compressed air and power generation provider in a span of 40 years. Australian Mining speaks to them about the company’s journey.
Bob McIntyre’s decision to go solo and start his own air compressor supply business could not have happened at a better time. The year was 1980 and the place: Perth, Western Australia.
The state was going through its fourth major mining boom at the time and Bob, having spent 10 years working for the world-renowned Ingersoll-Rand brand of air compressors, had already gained a deep understanding of what the Australian market was looking for.
Still, the journey from starting a one-man business to building a company that has today become Australia’s largest independent compressed air and power generation provider with an Australia-wide network of nine branch locations and over 200 employees did not happen overnight.
Bob retired from the active running of the business in 2011, but remains today on the Board of Directors. Approximately 23 years ago, Bob’s son, Glenn McIntyre, joined his father, eventually taking on the leadership of the company as the current Executive General Manager. Glenn’s son, Rhys, also recently joined the business as National Rental Coordinator, continuing the family’s journey for the third generation.
Looking back at the 40-year journey, Glenn believes being flexible and evolving with the market’s needs has been key to the company’s growth.
“Nothing ever stays the same in the market. The technology is changing, our customer’s requirements are changing and energy efficiency is critical. So, we need to make sure we keep changing, and that’s why we’ve continually adjusted our product portfolio over time. We have added many products and services over time to complement our core offerings, or to take the opportunity to enter new segments. That’s just the nature of the market,” says Glenn.
Ingersoll-Rand compressors were the cornerstone products that CAPS began by supplying in the Western Australian market, a brand for which CAPS remains the sole distributor across Australia.
Over the years, the company diversified its portfolio to serve not just mining, but multiple industries, giving its customers access to reliable equipment from rotary screw air compressors, portable air compressors, blowers, power generators, gas generators and air treatment from world-renowned brands such as Ingersoll-Rand, Kohler, AIRMAN, Sauer, Pedro Gil and many more.
“As an independent company, we have the advantage of being able to offer a broad range of brands. We have the flexibility to search globally for the best products and technologies that best serve our customer’s needs. Apart from expanding the portfolio of the products we supply; we also work closely with our customers and our suppliers to develop or customise products that specifically meet the Australian market’s needs”, says Glenn.
Building it in-house
Early into its establishment, CAPS also quickly developed in-house ISO accredited engineering capabilities, which gave the company the ability to design and build equipment that suited Australia’s hot, dusty and harsh conditions as well as adding in features ensuring safety compliance, necessary for the mining industry.
“One of the key success factors for CAPS was that we took a standard product from manufacturers, we looked at the customer requirements and then we modified it and engineered it to suit the Australian conditions. This engineering capability was also critical to tailoring our products for our customers’ exact specifications. It has also enabled us to improve the safety features for many existing products to make them site-compliant for our customers,” says Glenn.
On the services side, the company focussed extensively on growing its after-sale services capabilities. These services included fully trained technicians able to service all major brands of equipment Australia wide and a vast range of spare parts across the network.
“The aftermarket support is a critical part of our business and something that our customers look for with our products,” says Glenn. “We have over 60 service technicians in the field and all of CAPS’ branches have workshops and service departments that can service the full range of our products. Spare parts is also a critical part of our offer to our customers, which is why we have implemented our CAPS Shop, a convenient online platform for our customers to purchase parts from.”
CAPS has increased focus in their rental equipment offering to meet demands from their customers. The addition of the ‘CAPS Rental’ brand gives their customers choice other than capital investment. An increase in demand for power or air may be an immediate or project-based requirement only, so CAPS Rental is a great way of solving customer’s needs and reducing capital outlay. CAPS Rental offers both short-term, long-term and Rent-to-Own options.
Relationships are Key
With three generations of the McIntyre family actively involved in the business at some point in time, CAPS has prioritised forging strong partnerships with its suppliers and maintained long-term relationships its customers.
Glenn says, “We’ve maintained continuity in our relationship with our suppliers, at times investing jointly with them on research and development to develop products specifically suited to the Australian market. These relationships have endured decades as we have been very careful to align ourselves with manufacturers who share the common values of; customer service, innovation, technology, safety and quality. Ingersoll-Rand we have partnered with for 40 years, Kohler Power Generation for over 25 years and AIRMAN for over 18 years. We are very proud of these relationships which result in better service for our customers.”
“In all aspects of our business, whether it is sales, parts, service or rental, we are very much driven by the feedback that we receive from our customers. It is this approach that has helped us keep pace with industry and adapt to the constantly changing market. We are committed to deepening that relationship with our customers and, in this way, ensuring that as they grow, we grow along with them.”
“Our safety journey over the years is a great example of how we have developed our own culture and beliefs which mirror our customer’s requirements in mining industry for both products and our people’s behaviour,” Glenn says.
CAPS’ innovations and developments over the past 40 years, combined with their customer-centric approach has resulted in the growth of a truly great Australian business.