By Philip Hannigan - Managing Director
The world has changed since I formed Hard Metal in 1975.
Our suppliers were mostly foreign based. Communication was difficult. There was no mobile phone network, no internet and little or no direct dial phone facilities to contact overseas suppliers. I recall waiting hours for an operator to connect a 'person to person' call to suppliers in Europe and the Middle East, and often the line failed and had to be reconnected.
In 1975, our main 'hi tech' medium was Telex! Typing Telex messages was not easy and even after upgrading to prepared messages by ticker tape it took a lot of time. Deliveries often took 2 months to arrive. Twitter it certainly was not!
Technology in cutting tools and abrasives was also, by today's standards, almost archaic. Today modern machine shops can, in seconds, produce components that used to take hours. Productivity levels have advanced in line with IT developments.
Ireland was also, in 1975, at a transitional stage in its industrialisation and engineering skill levels were not good. Clearly as time advanced and export markets opened, the engineering industry needed to compete with more sophisticated countries and also lower-cost parts of the world.
Hard Metal developed a business strategy that concentrated on high quality producers whom they wanted to represent in Ireland. We sourced the best from the beginning and we have never compromised on that mission statement.
Today we bring to our customers the most modern and successful brands. The technical and business knowledge accumulated over our first 40 years is, in our opinion, the best in the industry. We continuously upgrade our knowledge by visiting suppliers, learning the latest developments and bringing this knowledge home to benefit our customers. We recognise that Ireland needs to compete with the best in the world. We are satisfied that we have never lost our curiosity, sense of adventure nor feared failure. We strive to try new things, new methods and all our people are encouraged to innovate and share ideas.