EMS takes equipment and labour hire services to a new level.

From the back of a Ute to the envy of its competitors; EMS Group takes equipment and labour hire services to a new level.

EMS takes equipment and labour hire services to a new level. EMS takes equipment and labour hire services to a new level. EMS takes equipment and labour hire services to a new level. EMS takes equipment and labour hire services to a new level. EMS takes equipment and labour hire services to a new level.

An EMS apprentice at work in Dubbo

EMS Group

EMS is a New South Wales owned and operated solutions provider for Australia's mining, tunnelling, civil construction and rail industries.

EMS conducts mechanical repairs to heavy machinery; specialised machinery hire; skilled labour hire across a variety of trades; new and used parts sales and machinery sales.

Whether a greenfields site or large-scale operation, EMS has a comprehensive range of equipment and fully stocked labour pool to offer fully-resourced, integrated and scalable solutions to meet clients' needs.

EMS is backed by integrated systems and a dedicated team of around 200 staff fully focused on efficiencies, safety, quality and value.

Founder Tom Cavanagh started running business as a labour hire mechanic from the back of his Ute in Dubbo but when he saw an opportunity to expand he moved to establish a mechanical workshop.

His vision was simple: keep customers up and running to minimise their downtime and increase productivity.

Tom is a diesel mechanic by trade who did his apprenticeship in Dubbo before cutting his teeth in the industry at the copper mining town of Cobar.

Tom told Australia's Mining Monthly he had always had a hankering to work in the mines, and it was at Cobar where he identified the gap in equipment availability he would later fill with EMS.

Tom said it made no sense to him that machines were being shipped from thousands of miles away, or that machinery repairs took so many weeks, so he developed a detailed business plan to use as a map for the future.

While this plan has changed dramatically since then he said it had been a great tool to use as a yard stick.

He said times were a little tough at the start as it took $250,000 just to equip the workshop, but the risk was well worth it and great staff and great customers were secured early.

More recent expansions saw EMS start to offer underground specialised equipment for hire, imported part sales (from Italy, USA and Asia) and machinery sales.

The structure of the company was then rejigged to include six core sections -EMS Workshop, EMS Labour, EMS Hire, EMS Sales, EMS Electrical and EMS Parts- with each division standing alone as a viable sector, to more clearly define the company's values.

The divisions have slightly different target markets both interstate and internationally, which allows EMS to offer enhanced services specific to the customers' needs.

Since its establishment in 2010 EMS has seen a 20% average annual growth rate and Tom expects that trend to continue.

According to Tom, the company's competitive edge lies in its geographical location at Dubbo, which offers limited direct competition, excellent transport and logistics and access to multiple mining operations within a 300km radius.

A Dubbo local, Tom knows the people and the landscape well, and sees the opportunities in Dubbo as obvious; for despite the regional metropolis' growing economy, the type of service that EMS provides is not like anything else available in the region or indeed on the whole east coast.

Being located on three interstate routes (the Golden, the Newell and the Mitchell Highways) made freight movement easier, and mining operations were also starting to come on-line, which was expected to filter down to more work for many service providers in Dubbo.

While EMS' target market was not as large in Dubbo as it was in other regions, it meant the threat of direct competition was limited, but eventually this would change.

Tom said it is the people he loves the most.

"Our staff are amazing, our turnover is very low and our customers are loyal and appreciate a value service," he said.

"The community is great and our sporting groups and clubs are very supportive and welcome new starters, and Dubbo's facilities are always improving".

EMS recently opened a new branch in the nearby town of Orange, ostensibly to take advantage of the local talent pool but also to get in on Cadia Valley owner Newcrest's local procurement policy, which promises local suppliers preference.

EMS made some strong management choices last year, which included sending the management team on the Maliyan Experience to help enhance engagement with Indigenous people and; introducing random drug and alcohol testing for all personnel.

The Maliyan Experience is a journey into cultural excellence, a one day practical, workplace-based, phased approach to learning that teaches organisations how to integrate knowledge and gain better understandings of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples and their culture.

Tom said EMS has always been committed to helping close the Indigenous employment gap and the company was proud to have a workforce made up of 12.73% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

 "We're very proud of that number and our Indigenous staff make a massive contribution to our business, however we can always strive to do better," he said.

Business is booming for EMS at the moment, according to Tom, and they can't get their machines serviced quickly enough.

For Tom, this is a sign of what's to come, as there are many projects due to come on-line soon, which is expected to seriously impact the availability of machinery and equipment.

Planning for this contingency saw Tom go out last year and buy more than $5 million worth of equipment, which is currently spread out across the yard at the new workshop.

He said having a good production line of machines made EMS the envy of its competitors.

EMS is now looking to break into Kalgoorlie, widely considered to be Australia's mining ground zero.

Reading the market well, Tom said to do that they would seek a merge or partnership with an established business, rather than set itself up to compete with other similar companies.

Tom said this year was set to be a massive year in mining but as long as EMS's services and products offer more value to the customer than anyone else's, then everything will be fine.

It isn't important to be the cheapest he said, it is more important to offer better value, as reliable and consistent results ensure a successful business.

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