In October this year I, along with other members of the trade press, was invited to attend a two day factory visit and product demonstration of Dennis and Sisis equipment at the Derby Headquarters of Howardson Ltd, parent company of the two marques.
The purpose was to catch up with how Howardson has progressed since taking on the Sisis brand which, most people will agree, was a smart move by the company's MD, Ian Howard, to bring together two historic companies. He confesses that it has been quite a challenge to bring all operations under one roof, the logistics and cost of relocation was certainly a huge investment in time, money and resources.
However, twelve months on, Ian Is confident that the right choices were made, and he's been very pleased with the support received from both customers and dealers.
The investment saw over £500,000 spent on new CNC Machining tools, making the process of producing parts simpler and more cost effective. The company also invested another £300,000 on a new building to store and assemble SISIS parts.
At the same time, Ian was mindful that some of the Sisis range needed modernising and altering to make it more competitive. A lot of time was spent looking at branding and improving the information available for customers. In fact, Ian was happy to admit he had taken information from a thread on the Pitchcare message board to help evaluate what they needed to discuss.
After a lot of consultation, the team then began the task of redeveloping and remarketing the Sisis brand. This has already seen improvements being made to the Dart Aerator and their Syn-Pro range of synthetic maintenance equipment, which saw the Brush-Pro replace the Rosca model.
We then moved on to Brailsford Golf Club, just a couple of miles from the factory, to see Andy Walker and Ben Lloyd - experienced demonstrators from the company's Field Support team - putting the full range of the company's products through their paces on the greens, showing the effectiveness and efficiency of scarifiers, aerators and mowers.
Ian is confident that the hard work involved to bring Sisis up to speed, and fit comfortably with the Dennis range, has been very successful, with the knowledge that the company's 80 plus dealer network now have a fantastic range of machinery to offer the sports turf industry, particularly in the football, cricket and bowls markets.
Ian was pleased to report that, even in an economically poor climate, revenues were up by 11% in the first nine months of 2012 compared to 2011. It would appear that the marriage of Dennis and Sisis will be a strong one for years to come.