Business model built on dedication and investment in technology
From the bottom up, Frank and Dolores Kiernan have built their successful business.
25 years ago, Frank and Dolores Kiernan saw their world fall apart when they were both made redundant. Frank had worked in the steel erection business and Dolores in accounting and book-keeping. When their efforts of finding alternative employment failed, the couple were left facing a bleak future. Instead, they embarked on a journey to form their own business. And in 1989, Kiernan Structural Steel was created.
Today, ready to mark their 25th year anniversary, they have much to celebrate. From what started out as a way to create jobs for themselves has now grown into a hugely successful business that has over 100 employees and an annual turnover of €13m in 2012.
Even after 25 years, they have not lost any of their enthusiasm for the business. Inside their modern factory large CNC operated machines cut and drill the raw material into their required lengths in a largely automated process assisted by the StruM.I.S software nesting and production routing features to further assist in managing purchasing and stock control hence reducing overheads and waste material.
Frank Kiernan comments, “We had very humble beginnings.” “We started the business in an old, two-bay hayshed at the rear of our home.”
Things were slow to begin with until the early 90s where Kiernan Structural Steel received a welcome boost when the Government introduced grants for farmers wanting to build new sheds. To cope with the extra demand, the Kiernan’s expanded their existing premise and hired their first employees. With added capacity, a broader skill-base and the experience gained from working on smaller projects, they began to target the wider construction sector.
In the mid 90’s, the couple bought their first automated sawing and drilling CNC machines. “It was a huge investment” said Frank Kiernan. However, it proved to be a wise decision by significantly increasing their productivity and enabling them to undertake even larger projects.
Kiernan Structural Steel also invested in StruM.I.S – a steel fabrication management system enabling them to be efficient in their steel fabrication. StruM.I.S integrated well into their steelwork fabrication, providing traceability and real-time piece status tracking to ensure successful project execution ultimately displaying significant cost & time savings.
Dolores comments, “We have worked on projects with many top Irish and international firms, such as Google, Intel, Tesco, Diageo / Guinness, Kerry Foods, PM Group and many others.”
“Our staff are highly skilled, many have been working with us for up to 20 years,” says Frank. “While we are a family-owned and family-run company, everyone has a real say in how the company is run,” he insists.
The story of Kiernan Structural Steel is a real example of how one couple managed to turn what could have been a bleak future into a hugely successful one through their own hard work and investment in the right technology enabling ROI.
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