Having relished completing a sheet metal working apprenticeship in his earlier years, Craig Drinnan, Managing Director of Perth-based business Welding Solutions, believes starting his own fabrication business was a completely natural progression.
“I always enjoyed my trade, and I subsequently completed a number of welding courses which included learning gas pipeline welding codes as well as three years of pipe welding which enabled me to reach the top of my game in these critical aspects of the trade,” Craig recalls. “I’m something of a perfectionist by nature, I guess, so if I can’t find a better way of doing something I tend to see it as not worth doing. I had a burning desire to base a business around the expertise I’d acquired from my trade and post-trade courses.”
It was this determined approach and passion for doing things as well as possible that led Craig to start his own business in 2006, initially doing mobile welding and repairs to earthmoving equipment before specialising in repairs to water trucks for plant hire companies. Craig says this latter experience gave him a comprehensive knowledge of water truck design and how the vehicles needed to be built to last under extreme conditions, such as those found in the mining environment. This led him down the path, back in 2008, of building his first water truck.
As the foundation of a water tanker is the cab and chassis unit upon which it is installed, one of the early decisions Craig needed to make was which brand of truck he would go with.
“I needed to be confident with what I was selling to customers – if I didn’t want to buy a product for myself, I wouldn’t be comfortable on-selling it,” Craig says. “The Isuzu product has a quality of build that is hard to beat and our local dealer Major Motors is very good at supporting the product and helping us out if there happens to be an issue.”
Further to this, Craig says the dealer support and service in remote and regional areas is another Major Motors strong suit.
“There’s a Major Motors branch at Port Hedland and the company also has multiple service agents scattered across the Pilbara and other mining regions in the state,” Craig says, adding that parts availability is also very good, “which is important for reducing downtime.”
Spare parts cost effectivity, Craig says, is also a strong point with Isuzu and he believes this is partly due to the high commonality of parts across the various models in the range.
Perhaps most importantly, Craig says the positive feedback he receives from customers serves, in his mind, to corroborate Isuzu’s status as the overall truck market leader in Australia.
“The feedback from clients has been very good and another strong selling point for Isuzu is that they are not running Adblue,” he says.
“The cost of that product has gone up so much recently, along with patchy availability, which is definitely influencing people in favour of trucks that don’t need it.”