For more than four decades, McLellan Industries has provided personalized service for customers and produced reliable, high-quality mining equipment. According to Product Manager Rick Romney, the company has its family ownership and strong corporate culture to thank for its long-term employees who provide such great service to clients.
“I previously worked for a larger company, where employees were basically treated like a number,” Romney says. “At McLellan, there is a much more personal feeling, and there is a lot of trust and involvement from the owners.”
McLellan Industries remains a family owned and operated business, focused on “not being the biggest, but the best,” the company states. The company initially entered the industry in 1965 by manufacturing water trucks on a new chassis system. At the time, it also purchased and sold used construction equipment, and eventually added a complete line of fuel lube trucks, straight fuel trucks and field service trucks. In 1971, McLellan diversified by manufacturing grinding mill relining equipment and currently serves more than 40 countries in the mining industry.
Today, the company is best known for truck body equipment and has developed a position in the market as “the Cadillac of the industry,” Romney says. “We are always known for having the highest-quality products available. We might not have the lowest price, but we’re proud of our products. Even though we’re rarely the lowest bidder, we’re able to sustain our business by providing a high-quality product.”
In addition to being known for its quality, the manufacturer also has been able to adapt to an increasingly competitive market. As a result of a slower economy, the firm has developed a line of lower-cost products for customers struggling to stay afloat. “This economy has really left our competitors fighting to make the lowest bid, so we made the decision to manufacture a ‘B’ product line,” Romney says. “This has given us a line of products that are competitive in terms of price, and also does not hurt our name in terms of quality.”
With customers in both the construction and mining industries, McLellan is able to take advantage of a unique position in the industry. “Our broad spectrum of equipment has kept us alive throughout the years,” Romney adds.
Today, about 80 percent of its business is generated through the mining industry, with about 20 percent coming from construction. Although the construction side remains slow, McLellan is struggling to keep up with the growth of the mining market. When the economy began its initial decline, McLellan was forced to reduce its overhead, dropping from 140 to 60 employees.
Today, Romney is happy to report that the company is beginning to see signs of life in the mining market, particularly. “We’re hiring people as fast as we can at the moment,” Romney says.
The majority of McLellan’s employees enjoy long-term careers at the firm, along with a number of opportunities for professional development. Many members of management have worked there for more than 20 years, Romney notes.
“Working for a father/son business is a very different atmosphere than a traditional corporation,” he says. “It’s a very personable environment, and everyone answers directly to the owners. We’re expected to get the job done, and we enjoy the freedom and respect to be able to do so effectively.”
Romney’s experience working for a larger firm with multiple layers of management and a more “corporate” feel gives him a unique perspective, he says. “At my previous company, there was a lot of paperwork involved in my job,” Romney explains. “After my first month at McLellan, I submitted a report of my progress and what has been going on. My boss threw it in the garbage and said, ‘If I want to know what’s going on, I will call you. I hope you’ll do the same with me.’”
This flat culture impacts workplace satisfaction and contributes greatly to the long tenures of McLellan employees, he adds.