Let us spray: how Suip created a winning product

Let us spray: how Suip created a winning product

 

As Pius McCloat waited for his daughter to load her bags into his car for the journey to Ireland West Airport, he couldn’t but help notice his ageing neighbour working hard to spray weed killer.

“It was a hot stuffy summer’s day and he had one of those cumbersome knapsack sprayers on his back and I thought to myself there must be a better system for spraying than that.”

As he drove south to Knock, the idea bounced around in his head and by the time he arrived at the Airport, he’d cracked it. “It was obvious when I thought about it. The solution was a lawnmower sprayer conversion Kit. Some people say it was like the third miracle of Knock, after the apparition and then the actual airport,” jokes Pius. By the time he passed the statue of Monsignor Horan on the way from the airport, the seed had been sown.

A service mechanic by trade, a determined Pius set about designing an ‘adjustable cradle’ whereby the user could simply remove the grass box on the back on the lawnmower and replace it with a sprayer. It was a simple, but ingenious, invention. “It took me no time to design the cradle and as the concept developed I made it adjustable so no matter what design of sit-on lawnmower you have, the spray tank can fit on,” he says. The innovation went to market in 2014 and immediately Pius, and his wife Liz, started to receive orders. Consumers were attracted to the tagline for his SUIP sprayer - ‘From mowing to spraying in less than 60 seconds’.

“It was incredible really, the orders started coming in one after the other. I’d say about 75 percent of orders have been from private individuals who just require it for their own gardens or land. It’s especially popular with older users.

“We’ve also sold units to the likes of Bunratty Castle and some well-known hotels and colleges too. Several County Councils have purchased the units as well and in 2017 our aim is to target sports clubs where they could be especially useful.”

Pius says around 1,000 Suip Sprayers have been sold so far and the company, Suip Co Manufacturing Ltd in Caltra, Dromard, Co Sligo, is going from strength-to-strength. Suip has worked with Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Sligo to grow and develop the business and its support has been critical.

“They got us into the enterprise village at the Ploughing Championships in September which was huge for us. A lot of companies go to the Ploughing solely to get their product name out there and while we did that we also went ready to sell – which we did. It was a hugely productive event for us and wouldn’t have been possible without the help of LEO Sligo,” explains Pius.

And to cap it all off, Suip Manufacturing Company Ltd won the Enterprise Ireland ‘Vision Award’ 2016 at The National Ploughing Championships.

“Look, that was unreal,” explains Pius, “especially as the company was so young. It was such an endorsement of what we had created and it goes without saying that we were extremely proud.

“As a marketing tool it has greatly helped though we know we have more to do to get the word out there. LEO Sligo will help us with that aspect too. We know that once we explain to people how easy-to-use, useful and affordable these units are they’ll sell.”

And the company has other products in its range including sprayer pumps, Spot Sprayers as well as Quad and ATV Sprayers.

Pius and Liz are aware that their products are sought after — but are conscious too that the company’s pace of growth must be sustainable.

“At the moment it’s just the two of us involved in the company though I do use some highly-skilled local welders for some aspects of development if needs be. I make sure that I always work on the most technical parts of production. Some people tell us we should produce the sprayers in large quantities ahead of orders but we need to be more careful. We know that businesses which grow too big, too fast don’t always succeed in the long term,” says Pius.

Still, market testing will be undertaken and already some units have already been exported to the U.K.

“We had a stand at a show in Edinburgh recently and the reception was extremely positive. When we look at the coming year we can see that the company is in good health already. The order book is strong and with every passing month we’re producing and selling more. We place a big emphasis on customer service too because domestically so much of our success has been because of word-of-mouth,” explains Pius.

The Suip manufacturing Co Ltd products fully comply with all E.U regulations on spraying and can be ordered from www.suipco.ie

 

Share: