Clive Montgomery, founder of Castle-Douglas based family business CAM Engineering, launched the company with wife Jennifer in 2006, having decided to branch out on his own after previously working with a local agricultural engineering firm.
Having started out providing mainly onsite repairs, the company rented premises the following year and, before long, secured its first big break by landing the Takeuchi dealership for the Dumfries and Galloway area.
Since then, CAM Engineering has played a key role in building the Takeuchi brand in Scotland and was named Takeuchi Dealer of the Year in the UK in 2010. The firm has also taken on multiple other dealerships and become a major player in the region’s equipment sector.
Clive told Project Plant about becoming a Takeuchi dealer, current industry trends, and thriving in the face of sector-wide challenges in recent years.
Q) How did you break into the industry and what’s the history of CAM Engineering?
A) Growing up, I always had an interest in excavators. CAM Engineering started in May 2006 as a mobile construction and agricultural engineering business. We soon realised the need for premises and rented a workshop in a local industrial estate for around five years. In 2012, we purchased a plot in a neighbouring industrial estate on the outskirts of Castle Douglas, built a new workshop, and moved in during August 2013. In 2019 we completed an additional building on the same site.
Currently we operate six service vans with a total of nine team members. As well as Jennifer and myself, included in the team is our eldest son Brodie, who works in our parts department, our second son Glen, who is in the workshop, and our daughter Orla, who is in sales.
As a business we focus on three main brands: Takeuchi excavators, Valtra tractors, and Krone forage equipment. In addition to these we are also dealers for Herron trailers, Major Equipment, and various other attachment manufacturers.
Q) How did the Takeuchi dealership come about?
A) Having noticed the Takeuchi brand appearing in the UK, I thought ‘I like the look of that’. I met Chris Bushell of Takeuchi UK and Jim Milligan of JMS Equipment at The Royal Highland Show in 2007 and asked about becoming a dealer. After some discussions, Takeuchi gave us a chance to prove ourselves. 15 years on, we are still promoting the brand.
We sold our first new Takeuchi machine in November 2007. Takeuchi has been great for us as a business and has enabled us to meet some very interesting people including Mr Akio Takeuchi (founder of the Takeuchi brand) himself. We have made some incredibly good friends along the way.
Q) What is it about the Takeuchi machines that your customers admire?
A) Initially the Takeuchi machine was something different in our area; the striking grey and red colours caught the eye of potential customers. They were soon to realise the reliability of the machines was a bonus to their businesses.
Q) What trends are you noticing in the industry at the moment?
A) With the recent change to fuel regulations, customers are much more focused on fuel efficiency. We are also starting to receive some enquiries about fully electric machines – but due to our location we are somewhat behind the dealers located in cities, for example.
Q) How are you finding the sector right now? What are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities for your business?
A) Against all the odds, the past three years have been exceptional. Like most manufacturers, Takeuchi has been faced with high demand and some component shortages. This has obviously impacted machine availability, but Takeuchi UK has been very fair in trying to ensure all dealers are treated equally with unit distribution.
Q) What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A) When we started in business, a successful businessperson told me ‘When in business, you will have good days and bad weeks’.
Q) Any funny anecdotes from your career?
A) A guy once told me he started in business with nothing, and he still has most of it left!