Located in Rugby, Warwickshire, family run business SM Plant Ltd, have been a Volvo dealer since their inception in 2001. Owned by husband and wife duo, Simon and Sandie Milligan they offer a wealth of experience and a consistent service, with customer satisfaction at the forefront of everything they do. SM Plant Ltd specialise in both new and used construction equipment with Volvo equipment being their biggest franchise. They are also dealers for Wacker Neuson, Steelwrist, Prodem, CompAir and most recently, Steelwrist.
SM Plant Ltd began life as BTE Plant Sales Midlands until 2006 when Sandie and Simon purchased the company fully from their business partner to head out alone as newly renamed SM Plant Ltd.
From 2014 the route to market was changing drastically and the internet was becoming ever more prevalent. SM Plant Ltd took the leap and adapted to the changes, taking it all in their stride. They have now spent ten years building themselves a strong web presence which is really paying off for the company and is something which they hope gives them a competitive advantage.
With strong growth but limited resources Simon looked to focus the business efforts and as a key member of staff in their rental business was due to retire and the lease on the Birmingham depot had come to an end, SM Plant Ltd took the opportunity to sell their hire business along with the Birmingham depot to CP Hire GB Ltd in 2016. They are now focused solely on the sale of new and used equipment and attachments and also on parts and servicing for the products they supply.
Simon adds, “With more focus we’re now able to take our business to the next level in terms of customer service. We retained all engineers from the rental business and have four vans on the road allowing us to provide servicing to anyone who needs assistance. We have a tradition of Volvo throughout the business having been a dealer since day one with uninterrupted supply of parts and support. Volvo have been very good to SM Plant and in return we are very loyal to the brand.”
(Pictured: Simon Milligan - Owner of SM Plant Ltd)
Keeping it in the family, Eldest son Sam joined the business in 2010 and having had experience working in various parts of the business, now is responsible for the Parts Department and Internal Office Sales. Youngest daughter Casey-Jo joined within the last 12 months and is learning from Mum Sandie how the accounts department is run. Simon comments, “This is very much a family business and we like to work with like-minded companies. We have long-standing relationships with many small and medium sized utility, groundworks and rental companies and are looking to build upon this foundation in the coming years. By employing Sam and Casey we are bringing the next generation into our business which is vital for staying ahead in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive marketplace”
Kevin Pawley, Sales Manager is also a key team member. Kevin joined the team in 2013 after the firm he worked for (a competitor to SM Plant) closed it’s doors. This was a major step for SM as Kevin not only brought the CompAir and Sullair franchises with him, he also brought a wealth of experience and a long list of customers loyal to Kevin and these brands. Simon says “Kevin takes time to understand what our customers want and he’s a great guy to work with. He’s friendly, approachable and really knowledgeable on all of our products and services"
(Pictured: Kevin Pawley - Sales Manager at SM Plant)
Following the sale of the rental business, SM Plant took the opportunity to refurbish their office and workshop in Rugby. With a fresh look, strong focus and an experienced team, Simon is now looking to build on their strong foundation as the UK market moves into a period of growth. Simon adds, “The interest we’ve had on social media and our website gives us confidence to push the business forward even more. We’re hoping to develop an online parts and service solution and after surviving tough times during the recession by adapting our business we are in a strong position now to maximise the opportunities presented by industry growth.”
Simon and Sandie are both fully active in the business. Whilst Sandie heads up the accounts department, Simon is involved in every other area. Selling new & used machines is always a priority, but there is always a heavy focus on promoting and delivering after sales service as well as supporting the members of team SM Plant . The mix of years of experience combined with the innovation and freshness from the younger members of the team is helping SM Plant to explore new opportunities and new routes to market.
The willingness to embrace change, a positive attitude to social media and the internet and sheer determination to succeed enabled SM Plant to get to where they are today. It is the company’s wish that these same qualities will ensure its future for generations to come.