Drake and D&B together for everyone

As a key addition to its core trailer building and refurbishment operations, The Drake Group has acquired Archerfield-based Dalzell and Bagley Engineering from retiring owners Cameron and Adele George.

The Georges took over the D&B business in 1994 and from small beginnings have grown it into a highly successful and well-respected company. As a result, Cameron and Adele George have since become long-time trusted suppliers and friends to Drake and have been responsible for the competent and reliable supply of various components needed to manufacture its world-class trailers.

The deal was sealed on 1 December, with the smooth and seamless transmission of ownership enabling D&B to continue producing the high-quality engineering work for which it is renowned.

“It’s been a great journey and with the business and whilst its emotional to hand over, it’s comforting to know that it’s in good hands going forward with the Drake Group,” says Cameron and Adele George.

The Drake Group General Manager, Khali Lake, explains that it was a strategic acquisition to provide stability in the supply chain, diversity in the company’s product offerings and growth across new and existing sectors.
“It was the first time we’ve bought into our supply chain, so it was quite a big thing for the company to step across that threshold,” he says. “But the fact that the business had been so well-run by the previous owners and such a key supplier to a lot of industries gave us a lot of comfort.”

Khali’s ambitions for the business seem to be going to plan, as the acquisition has since helped Drake’s supply chain in many aspects.

“It’s allowed us to work a bit closer with the management team at D&B and being able to forecast our workloads a bit easier together,” he says. “A lot of our products are long lead time, and when you’re dealing with a supplier at arm’s length sometimes the forecasting’s not as good as it could be. By having it as an internal supplier it just smooths those things out and means less people involved, less confusion basically.”

Angus Absolon (Branch Manager D&B), Khali Lake (Group GM), Cameron and Adele George, John Drake (Managing Director) and Maggie Nilson (Projects Manager).

The acquisition has also benefitted The Drake Group in many other ways, as Khali says it has played a huge part in their forecasting and inventory system.

“We’ve been able to give better forecasts to all the raw material suppliers, once they see us as a group,” he says. “From a purchasing point of view, we’ve been able to work with steel manufacturers, a lot of the major suppliers, a lot of the labour companies, and bring a focus to that. We’ve been able to bring better system orientation to the businesses by having all of the inventory in one system, so we’re not double handling things like we would have been in a traditional customer-supplier relationship.”

The advantages don’t stop there. From a financial perspective, Khali believes the deal has brought a lot of benefits to the company, especially adding value to it.

“It’s a good alternative revenue stream that bolsters our overall position,” he says. “The main thing for us is being able to shore up a lot of that key component supply, to be able to build stock down there in the with the long-term view. In addition to this we are excited to grow the D&B business with their traditional customer base and maintain the relationships that Cameron and Adele developed over many years. There is an amazing loyalty to the D&B brand that we are excited to be a part of.”

Khali says this has also allowed Drake to deal with long-term customers from D&B and discuss opportunities, while on the other hand also supplying Drake’s customers with D&B services.

“It’s opened up our group to another customer base,” he says. “We’re now dealing with customers that we would never have dealt with as a trailer manufacturer, and vice versa. Being able to add on those customers and then expose our customer base to D&B has been really beneficial.”

Clients may also benefit from some of the services that D&B offer, particularly some of the rebuild services that The Group has for certain mining, crushing and quarry equipment. Along with providing customers with top-quality customer service, the new deal will also provide staff members of both brand with opportunities to advance in their careers.

“It’s another business unit that can provide opportunities for staff if they want to move into other fields and types of manufacturing, engineering, production management or operations management,” he says – adding the long-term mutually beneficial relationship that The Drake Group has forged with the Georges over more than a quarter of a century will not be forgotten. “We wish them both the best in retirement and look forward to remaining in contact.”