Michael Trusler took out the Young Achiever of the Year award for creating a plant and machinery hire website that takes the hassle out of sourcing equipment for mining projects.
PlantMiner.com.au has been live for three months and in that time Trusler said the site has already received over $20 million worth of quote requests and enquiries.
The judges said Trusler was recognised for an ingenious idea that was implemented to perfection.
“For setting up his own company and addressing the issue of sourcing capital equipment Trusler should be congratulated,” they said.
After working at a mine site in QLD as a project manager, Trusler said he saw the difficulty in sourcing plant and equipment to hire for mine site construction projects.
“One of my job roles was to hire the plant and equipment for our jobs and there was a real struggle in that there my no type of CarSales portal where you could just jump on and find what you need.”
The idea for the site came to Trusler on a plane ride from Moranbah to Brisbane where he jotted the light-bulb moment down a piece of paper.
“Around $3 billion a year gets spent on plant and equipment hire and for there not to be a centralised database or portal for that is an absolute crime,” Trusler stated.
“We looked to really fill that gap and solve the problem within the industry.”
Since then the young entrenpenuer has hit the ground running, with the site quickly becoming a go-to for workers in the mining sector.
The online portal lists over 400,000 pieces of plant and machinery for hire from more than 700 companies Australia-wide.
The site presents itself as a one-stop shop for the procurement of plant and hire equipment, stating that there is no longer the need for procurement officers to trawl through thousands of Google and Yellow Pages listings to find what exactly what they're after.
The site works by connecting searchers with the specific plant and equipment for hire that they are looking for, right down to all of the safety features and attachments.
The search functionality of the site features a location tracker so users are able to see exactly what plant and machinery is immediately available to them in their region.
While a safety features tab means users can update their search with specific requirements including BMA compliance, hand/safety rails, and mine spec just to name a few.
Search results then include the availability of equipment and machinery along with pictures, specs, descriptions and the direct contact details of the plant and equipment supplier so users can contact them.
Expressions of interest can also be sent from the site, as well as tender documents.
Users can also opt to send a direct enquiry where the supplier will be notified by SMS or email and get back to them.
The site says it can save businesses time and money by having plant and hire equipment needs in one place.
From portaloos to 100-tonne excavators - the website caters for all the equipment.
The easy-to-use portal breaks down into categories everything a mine site may need including forklifts, generators, lighting, site amenities, excavators and light vehicles.
While specific industry categories features lists of all the equipment imaginable in that sector.
For example the 'mining and construction' category features graders, chutes, water trucks, tractors and tanks just to name a few.
And for many companies preferring to stay loyal to the tried and tested machines, popular brands such as Bell, CAT, Kenworth, Manitou, Hitachi, Crown and Volvo are also listed for users.
Not only does the site benefit those looking for gear, but also hire and rental companies who may have been affected by the downturn in the mining sector.
The portal puts hire and rental companies’ equipment right in front of the eyes of key decision makers - with high quality photos and company logos featuring heavily throughout the differing categories.
With the initial success of the portal in Australia, Trusler hopes to expand the site into the U.S.A, Europe, and Asian markets this year.
“The US market is on absolute steroids compared to Australia so if we can find the right investor to really hit the market hard over there we would love to expand our business model which has worked so well here,” Trusler said.
Trusler said the most important advice he could give to other young professionals wanting to go it alone was to find a good team of people.
“Doing it on your own is extremely difficult,” he said.
“Finding one or two people who are extremely passionate and invested in the idea that you have is important.”