Last week we checked in with Callum Mee at Dando Drilling International to learn more about how the European Referendum was affecting business, although I’ll admit the interview was originally scheduled so we could talk about the Dando Terrier, the company’s new MK 2 drilling rig.
This will sound ironic at first, but stay with me: it’s always been fascinating reading and writing about companies barreling through a challenge. Did you know water buffalo that encounter a storm will turn into the dark clouds and rain instead of retreating in the opposite direction?
It’s because you’ll get through the worst of the storm when you confront it head on. The darkness is moving one way, so move through it to safety and sunshine on the other side.
There’s no way to know just yet how the European Union’s Brexit referendum will affect the longterm stability of business in western Europe, and indeed, throughout the world. Many companies in the drilling industry have been forced to ask tough questions and make difficult decisions long before the referendum passed, and now a complete new set of concerns has been born.
The good news it that Dando’s philosophy – flexibility and adaptation – has allowed for the impact of Brexit. It’s this creed that’s allowed Dando to thrive over the years, and led to rolling out a brand new Mark 2 Terrier rig that’s as flexible as ever.
Here’s the rest of our conversation.
Kelvin: Tell us about early versions of the Terrier, what was it built for?
Callum: We sold the first unit to a UK contractor and we agreed to build a second that we were going to test in house, but during the build we ended up selling the second one as well. Through working with the contractor and listening to their feedback we’ve made some cool improvements and adjustments to the second. While this was happening, Luke from our design team was hard at work on the updated design we’re going to use moving forward.
The MK Terrier 2 is available and has been thoroughly tested in the field with excellent results so we are now planning for production of high volumes so we can offer the units from stock.
What’s the process been like getting the MK 2 off the ground?
As the design process wraps up, we’re contemplating the right number to put into production right away so we can maximize production and maximize economy of scale. We sell a lot per annum and we obviously want to sell more, and we think the demand on this one will be huge. The terrier people want them quickly, sometimes in 2 to 4 weeks instead of your standard two to four months, so putting this many through will make the lives of our sales department a lot easier (laughs). It’s a win win situation, our margins get better and the cost is lower for the customer.
What are some of the upgraded features of the Dando Terrier MK 2?
First off, we wanted to improve simply how it looks. So new finishes and designs to improve that while also improving functionality. When I started at Dando ten years ago the rig was just for drive sampling and general investigation work. Over the last five years or so it evolved rapidly. It has a rotary attachment, different strokes, angle drilling capabilities – it’s evolved to include a whole range of different requirements and different setups.
However, just because one customer wants a certain feature doesn’t mean the next one will. So it was important for us to take that into account so we could keep costs low for everyone.
Next week in the final instalment of my interview with Callum we’ll learn exactly how Dando plans to control costs for customers looking for different features.