Since its inception in 1979, Scarab Sweepers has been through considerable changes. So what can we expect now that the French family- owned Fayat Group is taking a majority shareholding in the Kent-based sweeper manufacturer?
The Fayat Group is a privately-owned business that already has the Mathieu and Ravo sweeper companies under its wing, as well as having interests in a range of road building and maintenance equipment, including Bomag ' a global market leader in compaction technology. With a combined turnover around three billion Euros, Fayat is at the leader board of European companies involved in sweeper manufacturing and now has a range of surface cleaning equipment across its brands.
Current Sales Director for Scarab, Dave Cassingham, explains what is to be expected under the new ownership: “From the customers perspective we will obviously be sporting a new company identity. That in itself is no surprise, but the core values and ethos of Scarab remain unchanged. We may be under the new ownership of a hugely successful organisation but we are still empowered to make important decisions about our business at ground level. This helps to ensure that decisions are not delayed and are being taken by those closest to the action.”
Fayat is no stranger to Scarab, says Dave: “The company was first introduced to Scarab in 2000 when they acquired a stake in our French distribution partner ' 3D ', based in Arras. It has been interesting to watch 3D grow its business over the last years. Sound investments and an expanded portfolio of products have allowed 3D to achieve a market leading position in France, where the sweeper market is even more competitive than the UK.”
Scarab has been in the hands of Managing and Financial Director John Affleck for six years. His financial experience and engineering background has ensured that the company has remained strong despite having been through a fairly tough UK recession. With John's official retirement approaching in December, he will maintain his crucial financial role but passing the position of MD to Dave Cassingham commencing in 2012.
“The advantages of larger group purchasing power and shared development costs between sister companies will undoubtedly benefit Scarab and its customers in the future,” explains Dave.
The ever increasing need of customers to ensure intelligent spending and reduce ownership and operating costs have led to Scarab increasing its market share in the UK by more than 15%, with a similarly significant increase in the global market. The company puts this down to offering bespoke solutions to satisfy the varied needs of clients globally.
“One such specialism being single engine technology, which has seen us deliver more of this type of truck-mounted sweepers than virtually all other manufacturers put together,” he adds.
With the topic of “appropriate technology” high on the company's agenda, it is no surprise that since being the first sweeper company in the world to successfully introduce CANbus control eight years ago, Scarab has recently launched the third generation of this award-winning product to the marketplace.
The user interface has been simplified and the system integrates ECO modes to further reduce the already low fuel consumption, exhaust and noise emissions whilst still maintaining equipment performance and current PM10 compliance.
In consultation with key clients about their on-going and future needs the system has been recognised as being a tool to assist monitoring and benchmarking of the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are becoming increasingly imposed on service providers.
Functions such as live-time telemetry transmission and water consumption monitoring have been options added to the standard package.
Paul Mannering, UK Sales Manager, believes that taking on the Mathieu products has been a fantastic opportunity to offer a truly compact machine that compliments the well-established Scarab Minor.
“Over the past decade, we have developed and improved our product range and introduced new variants to better meet the needs of our customer base. The current Minor has evolved from its original design back in the 1980s and been recently updated with our latest CanBus system. Our truck mount range still has the Merlin and Magnum single engined units with the choice of Hydrostatic or Unidrive transmissions, which remain ever popular with local authority clients, whilst we've also enjoyed considerable success with our Twin-Drive Mistral and M6 models to sweeping contractors and councils alike,” says Paul
“Recent deliveries in South Gloucester, Rugby, Redditch, North Warwickshire and Luton have all demonstrated that customers have been seeking an alternative to their traditionally purchased products. Bromsgrove have now also placed a further order for Azuras, taking their Scarab supplied fleet to seven machines,” says Paul. He continues that Mathieu has put a great deal of effort into developing and perfecting the Azura platform which is capable of carrying a sweeper, scrubber-dryer and street-washer. Scarab has been heavily involved in that process and is now manufacturing significant elements of the machine such as the stainless steel hopper at its fabrication facility in Marden.
Development continues with introduction of the Azura-flex which is the first compact sweeper providing a quick-change multipoint attachment for a three-brush scrubbing head, an articulated third brush, a snowplough, a snowbrush and a salt spreader which can offer operational flexibility to counter the already strapped municipal budgets in the years to come.
“The quality and diversity of the product is one important thing, but the integrity and knowledge of the staff is also key to our success,” explains Paul. “Customers appreciate the vast experience across our front line sales and support team and that includes our regional sales managers, demonstration drivers, instructors and service engineers who are the face of Scarab to most of our users. Their combination of experience, support and our broad product offering means we listen to our customer's needs and can provide a tailored solution.”
Dave Cassingham believes a company should build on its strengths. “Our senior management team consists of key staff that have progressed through the company and now hold senior roles; many with over 20 years service. Their experience and enthusiasm has long since been driving the company forward and we will continue to nurture the home-grown talent within the business.
“With the support of the Fayat Group we are in a position to invest appropriately and develop sweeping technology for the benefit of our customers both independently and through joint development projects with Mathieu and Ravo, taking full advantage of further synergies across the Fayat group as a whole.”