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VIEWPOINT: Moving machinery 5 March 2013

Experience and expertise in both heavy machinery and information technology are vital to Sweeney Kincaid’s success, says Russell Kincaid

From Aberdeen to Aberystwyth and from London to Washington (Tyneside), Sweeney Kincaid, one of the UK’s leading industrial auctioneers, runs some of the largest and most successful sales of industrial equipment.

Formed in Glasgow in 1991, Sweeney Kincaid now operates throughout the UK, selling everything from large textile plants through engineering company equipment to computer and IT kit.

Throughout the 22 years of its life the business has focused on maximising returns for clients by a clear and targeted approach to re-marketing.

In the early days this was done through brochures and mailing runs to businesses in similar industries to the company whose assets were being auctioned.

Two decades on, the aims are the same but the results are dramatically better, due to the company’s experience and expertise exercised through the technology it has developed.

The company’s focus on auction sales has led to it building one of the sector’s most respected databases of buyers of plant and equipment around the world.

It is the very detailed and ever expanding Sweeney Kincaid (SK) database that sets it apart from many other agents in the field. For example, during a sale for Ernst & Young as administrators of Stoddard Carpets (the largest carpets manufacturer in Europe until its closure in 2005), Sweeney Kincaid contacted more than 24,000 carpet makers globally.

This resulted in a hugely successful auction realising £3.3m, only £10k of which was from UK buyers. The other buyers came from 45 countries from Egypt to Argentina. That success prompted agents for a competing carpet firm sale soon afterwards to approach SK to engage their database for their sale.

Innovation brings results

An early milestone that shows SK’s innovative approach was its appointment to Mackie International Plc in Belfast by receivers Deloitte. SK won the contract from many bidders by offering the receivers a guarantee (a minimum return) secured by performance bond of £1.2m, which SK put up nine weeks before the auction.

SK achieved success by double-shifting two teams around the clock to prepare the vast array of engineering assets for sale.
Mindful of buyers’ fears of the Troubles that were then current in Belfast, Deloitte wanted to have offsite bidding, so SK set up a three-channel ISDN link to a Birmingham hotel suite where bidders took part in the auction. The sale grossed over £2m, giving the receivers £600k more than the best dealer bid.

This commitment to innovation led to SK running the first online auction, in 2001, using an early version of its own system. Online bidding had been enabled for tender sales from the early days of the SK website, but when the company experimented with using this approach for an auction, the results were very positive, with £100k being realised.

SK enhanced this approach over the years, developing an industry-leading online auction platform driven by a very sophisticated back end system and database. A new version has sold more than 10 million a year since its launch in 2008.
One key feature of the platform is AutoBid, which allows buyers to place their maximum bid on the system when they can’t make it to auction day.

SK maintains this market-leading online platform through continuous upgrading. The large investment in enterprise grade hardware it made in 2012 along with new datacentre partnerships will ensure that buyers continue to receive excellent service. SK is now working on a new version with brand new tools.

SK runs valuations and online auction sales all around the UK for a huge variety of clients from insolvency practitioners (IPs) through banks to plant hire companies. They have conducted recent significant disposals in the north of England in food, engineering and construction.

The company is regularly appointed to sell individual machines or fleets for IPs and finance companies, and often has to recover and store equipment all across the UK.

Its facilities range from seven acres of SK’s own secure yard space and warehousing to a network of partner firms in such locations as Southampton, Cardiff and Preston.

Among its most recent innovations, SK is replacing its traditional UK office network approach with smart systems based on computer Cloud technology. This approach will be extended with the new agents that SK is currently recruiting around the UK.
This leading edge technology is matched with old-fashioned personal responsibility with a phone number straight to the company’s managing director. Sweeney Kincaid is a business that works tirelessly to fine-tune the tools it uses to bring sales fully to the right audience.

For further information:
Russell Kincaid
Call: 0141 570 4000 / 07909 900177
Email: russell@sweeney-kincaid.co
Visit: www.sweeney-kincaid.com

 

 

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