Coping with the downturn
Like everybody else in the construction industry the recession hit ECI-JCB hard and they had to come up with different methods to survive in the depressed market. According to MD Denis Murray, “During the downturn we were very fortunate that the global strength of the JCB brand helped us to work with our customers who found themselves holding a lot of machines with no local resale market. We managed this by advertising and promoting the customers machines through both the ECI and the JCB website. Through this we exported these redundant machines to many corners of the world from South America to Canada, Dubai, Russia, Iraq and Afghanistan to mention but a few!”
Denis continued, “We were lucky that JCB has such a broad range that we were able to grow our agricultural business. When construction stopped, agriculture was about 15% of our business, whereas today agriculture is 40% of our business. This meant changing up to work more with agriculture equipment.”ECI-JCB also managed to keep their sales
force intact during the recession.
Denis cites the strong relationship with JCB as a key part of their survival, “JCB were very supportive to us during the downturn – you could not sing their praises highly enough. One of the key things that JCB did was providing ECI with morecompetitive pricing for the Irish market.”
According to Denis the biggest game changer during the recession was the introduction of JCB Finance in Ireland. Denis adds, “Eight out of every ten machines we sell today go through finance. We believe that this was the biggest thing we did to survive. We are now entering our fourth year of the scheme and we are going from strength to strength – it’s a one stop shop.”