Since its establishment in 2011 by owners Michael Smith and Chris Newtown, Solution Plant Hire (SPH) has experienced remarkable growth. Starting with just 13 machines in a small warehouse, the company now boasts more than 300 machines and 400 attachments across 12 branches, serving various industries such as civil, mining, agriculture, and construction.
With a focus on supporting its customers’ success, SPH takes pride in a fleet of low-hour, compliant machinery with reliable backup, helping clients minimise downtime, and maximise productivity.
Sam Townsend, SPH National Sales Manager, says being part of the company’s rapid growth has been a rewarding experience.
“We’ve worked on many memorable jobs, from the recent upgrade to the Sydney Opera House forecourt, building the Monster Jam monster truck course at Sydney Olympic Park, the arena for the PBR bull riding in Brisbane – along with the machines working on the large civil jobs in Sydney such as the Warringah freeway upgrade and WestConnex,” Sam says.
“We also specialise in providing mine compliant equipment and offer machines for clients to work in a number of coal mines across the Hunter valley.”
Sam says that there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of seeing the SPH business develop and evolve.
“In the past two years, we’ve grown our team under the EEA Group banner and are expanding successfully into new sites in regional NSW – Coffs Harbour, Wagga and Orange – as well as interstate in SA and WA,” he says.
While Sam is now fully engaged with earthmoving, his journey into the industry started rather unconventionally.
“I started in the earthmoving industry with SPH, and having sold cars for 12 years, it was a totally foreign environment for me,” he says.
But his adaptability has not only seen him survive but thrive in his new role. He started off as an account manager for three years with SPH in Newcastle and subsequently transitioned into the role of National Sales Manager about two years ago.
“The earthmoving hire industry offers a good work/life balance and is full of excellent people,” Sam says. “The industry proved its strength during COVID, being one of the few industries to keep working through lockdowns.”
According to Sam, SPH’s robust equipment selection also reflects its industry commitment, and its ability to adapt to meet diverse client needs.
“Today, SPH covers the full spectrum of earthmoving with excavators, track loaders, dump trucks, rollers, watercarts, wheeled loaders, and more,” he says.
“Case construction equipment was originally the backbone of SPH. But since then, we have moved with the times and now own a huge mix of brands – including a wide range of machines from LiuGong.”
The LiuGong partnership
Sam speaks highly of SPH’s relationship with LiuGong and its Australian dealers, a partnership that was fostered through local LiuGong dealer Pacific Machinery Group.
“With their support, we have been able to introduce a range of LiuGong excavators and rollers to help the continued growth of our fleet,” he says.
“The relationship has been hugely positive. Our clients back the LiuGong products and have been really impressed with the performance. In a climate where sourcing new products can be challenging, LiuGong has enabled SPH to continue growing our fleet, and keep providing our clients with new machines. Plus, their reliability has ensured our clients have minimal downtime due to machinery repairs and maintenance.
“We have also had feedback that the LiuGong’s lifting and digging power outperforms our clients’ own machines, which are often better-known brands.”
The addition of LiuGong machines to the SPH fleet has been considerable.
“We have purchased a 3.5-tonne, 9-tonne, 14.5-tonne excavators – both zero and conventional swing, as well as 22-tonne and 32-tonne excavators and 15-tonne rollers,” Sam says.
“We are also looking to add a few more mini excavators in the 1.7-tonne and 5-tonne range in the future.”
Urban domination: the LiuGong 915FCR
SPH has recently expanded its fleet with the addition of the zero-swing LiuGong 915FCR excavator, the first of its kind in the Australian market.
“The decision to go with the 915FCR was easy for SPH as we get a high demand for minimal or zero-swing machine,” Sam says.
“The 915FCR fits this bill perfectly. Its size makes it versatile across all sorts of projects – it’s small enough for tighter access work but large enough to work on larger bulk works too.
“We had provided LiuGong feedback early on in our relationship through Pacific Machinery Group, and expressed our interest in zero-swing options. And they were able to bring them into the country at a very competitive price not long after our discussions.”
Jason Lyall, from LiuGong’s Australian distributor, highlights the numerous advantages LiuGong’s 915FCR brings to the table.
“The LiuGong 915FCR excavator sets a new standard in compact yet powerful machinery,” Jason says.
“Its sleek design and impressive features make it ideal for a diverse range of environments including urban areas, forests, and demolition sites.”
Safety, a critical factor in the design of the LiuGong 915FCR, includes features like the ROPS (Roll Over Protection System) and FOPS (Falling Object Protection System), which safeguard operators even in the harshest conditions.
But the enhancements aren’t just about safety. Jason points out key advancements in the 915FCR, specifically its improved hydraulic system, designed to deliver greater flow and higher swing speeds. This results in a significant reduction in cycle times for tasks such as truck loading, digging, trenching, and backfilling – thus improving overall productivity.
Comfort is also a crucial part of the package. The LiuGong F series excavators have ergonomically designed cabs that prioritise operator comfort.
“The spacious and thoughtfully arranged interior offers excellent visibility, expansive legroom, and a host of convenient features,” Jason says. “Inclusions like a new multi-function LCD monitor, automatic air conditioner, and ample storage space elevate the working environment, enabling operators to perform optimally even during extended hours.”
Jason says the LiuGong 915FCR excavator represents a harmonious blend of power, agility, and operator comfort in a compact package.
“Its impressive performance, advanced safety features, and ergonomic design make it a reliable and efficient choice for a wide range of applications,” he says.
Gearing up for growth
With the addition of the LiuGong 915FCR excavator to their fleet, Sam believes that SPH is well-equipped to meet the diverse and ever-changing demands of its clients.
This is further supported by the after-sales service, another crucial factor that has reinforced SPH’s decision to partner with LiuGong. Sam speaks highly of their backup services, which aligns perfectly with SPH’s commitment to minimising machinery downtime for their clients.
“At the end of the day, it’s all about utilisation and keeping our clients productive,” he says. “The backup from LiuGong has been second to none. Not only that, but LiuGong’s competitive pricing, reliability, and contribution to reduced downtime just adds to the pleasure of doing business with them.
Looking forward, Sam envisages a continued expansion across Australia for SPH, penetration into new market segments, and a persistent emphasis on providing an unrivalled customer experience.
And the role of LiuGong and its dealers in this vision?
Sam is unequivocal: “LiuGong will continue to assist in our growth, as they are available nationally and have a range to cover all aspects of earthmoving.
“Your chief worry with a new product is always the uncertainty, whether or not it will be reliable. But with the robust performance and support from the LiuGong team, these concerns have been put to rest.”