Distributor Spotlight: Macquarrie Corporation
Macquarrie Corporation has been the exclusive distributor of Murphy products in Australia and New Zealand since 1972, but the company’s history dates back to the 1940s. Based in Melbourne, Australia with 20 employees, this family business meets the complex needs of their customers in a unique environment.
Timara Talbot, General Manager and third generation Macquarrie, has been in the family business since she was 12 years old. When she was on vacation from school, she would help build panels and put gauges and switches together. Now after three years in a full-time capacity as general manager, Timara is continuing her family’s legacy.
We spoke to her to learn how Macquarrie provides custom solutions in Australia’s diverse market and rugged terrain.
How did Macquarrie get started?
Timara: My grandfather, Sid Macquarrie, started the business in 1946 selling ex-World War II diesel engines and parts. We started selling Murphy products—loose gauges and switches—in 1972, and that was something that my grandfather and his brother pioneered by visiting the U.S. and meeting the Murphys. We became the exclusive Murphy distributors in Australia and then subsequently New Zealand. Once they started distribution, my father and his brother took over the business, and now I’ve come in as the third generation to take the business on into the future.
A lot of our customers have been with us for a long time. They know our history, and we’ve sort of evolved together. So, the Murphy brand in Australia is incredibly synonymous with Macquarrie. The two kind of go arm-in-arm. If you were to see the signage at the front of our business site, you’ll see that the signs are side-by-side. It symbolizes the way the businesses have worked together over these 47 years now.
What unique needs do customers in your area have, and how do you solve them?
Timara: Australia and New Zealand are innovative places. They come up with these amazing ideas and eventually commercialize them, so it’s a really great stomping ground for us.
Something about Australia that typically a lot of people don’t know is that it’s about the same size as the U.S., but we only have 25 million people living here since most of our land (about 80 percent or more) is actually desert. So, we live on the fringes of Australia in these lush areas for agriculture and other industries. We do have mining and some marine as well, but we don’t live in a lot of our country. With far less population and far less workable land, it’s quite different.
We have a really diverse base of customers who buy basic engine controllers to fully integrated control, monitoring and protection solutions that we customize to a specific application. We really are a one-stop-shop for all of that. We can do the really simple to the really complex, and I see the Murphy product as lending itself to this.
What is a unique benefit you provide your customers?
Timara: We absolutely pride ourselves on being expert integrators and turnkey control solution providers. A really big part of that is the Murphy by Enovation Controls products. They provide us with a platform to develop these products for any application.
I now employ a really strong team of technical sales engineers. This is a benefit to our customers because collectively we cover mechatronic, electronic, mechanical, and automotive engineering, as well as telecommunication and industrial design. All of that is part of the capability statement of my team.
These girls and guys also have to be able to engage with customers —they’re all customer facing and have accounts that they manage—and we all bring these unique skills together to create the best sticky solutions for the customers, and I think that’s the unique benefit that we provide.
What is the most interesting use of Murphy product you’ve seen a customer use?
Timara: I’ve got two. One is an amphibious vehicle. Basically, it works in mine sites and moves all of that sludgy stuff—all of the mud and residual soot that is left in a mine site—to keep it from hardening and becoming a wasteland. That one is incredible. It’s huge!
The other one is a frost fan application. The amazing thing about this one is it’s portable, and telemetry is huge in that space. It’s got a PowerView 380 display and an IX3212 power distribution module, so it’s predominately a Murphy solution with an add-on telemetry product.
Why do you tell your customers to use Murphy products?
Timara: Many reasons. They’re top quality, they stand up brilliantly in the rugged environments of Australia and New Zealand, they are reliable, they are very adaptable, very well supported and they can pretty much do anything.
Although we’re already halfway through the year, what trends do you think have been and will continue to be important in 2019?
Timara: Automation and the ease-of-use in technology. The future and where our customers are at is all about a smartphone-like device. They can pick up a smartphone or tablet and run their whole life, so why can’t they run their diesel engine or turn on their frost fan from their office? That’s where the Enovation Controls partnership has been really key, because Enovation Controls is all about innovation, and that’s what our customers want. We see the displays as being a big piece of that trend for this year, so that’s definitely something we’re trying to push with our customers.
What’s your favorite part of working for Macquarrie?
Timara: Well I have two parts. One is continuing the legacy of my family’s business that has been built up over three generations and the constant opportunity to do better and exceed our customers’ expectations using the innovative product offerings from Enovation Controls. We always want to do better, and that’s absolutely a part of why I love working here.
The other one is the diverse talent that I have the pleasure of working with every day. The synergy that we can create by putting like-minded people together with their different skillsets to solve these complex control issues for our customers is truly inspiring and keeps me here.
We bring our problem-solving hats to work every day. I would say there is no control application too complex for us here at Macquarrie Corporation.