Industry-leading specialists in fitting and servicing Dairymaster farming systems and EPS water pumping / treatment systems, Denis T O’Sullivan (Sales & Services) Ltd. have established a reputation for excellence over the past four decades. We travelled to Vicarstown, Blarney, County Cork and interrupted founder Denis’ busy schedule to find out more about this exceptional family-run operation.
The genesis of Denis T O’Sullivan (Sales & Services) Ltd. goes back to 1983 when the eponymous Denis, who had already acquired a wealth of experience working within the dairy sector, decided to go out on his own and establish a business that today holds prestigious agencies for two market-leading local manufacturers: Dairymaster milking equipment and EPS water treatment and pumping systems.
“I had worked as a foreman with Lucey & O’Connell in Aghabullogue village, who did a wide range of milking machines and equipment,” reflects the affable Cork man, who was raised on a small family dairy farm. “That business was ran by my cousin Jack O’Connell and my father Tom had also worked there before me.
“I decided to go out on my own as a one-man show initially. It was tough going at the start but we stuck with it and soon became the approved Dairymaster milking equipment dealer for all of Mid Cork as well as becoming dealers for EPS pumps. Things have gone well and we now employ eight people full time and up to twelve when we are particularly busy.”
From installing and servicing the most advanced milking parlour systems in Europe to well drilling and water pump fitting, Denis T O’Sullivan provides farmers across the agricultural heartland of the Rebel County with a wide range of services. All work is carried out professionally, safely and to the highest standards of workmanship while – in the best tradition of a family business – a personal, friendly service is always guaranteed.
Of course, Dairymaster and EPS are two long-established names that are renowned for offering farmers high-quality, modern, cost-effective solutions. Both companies were established in 1968 – the former in Causeway, County Kerry and the latter in Mallow, County Cork – and are synonymous with excellent products. The fact that Denis T O’Sullivan have built long-lasting relationships with these industry-leading companies and are trusted to service, install, commission and repair their systems speaks for itself…
“Milking equipment and water pumps are the main products we’re known for,” continues Denis, who runs the family business alongside his son John. “On the Dairymaster side of it, we supply literally any product associated with a dairy cow from the full range of milking parlours and equipment to feeding systems, cleaning equipment, refrigerated milk cooling tanks and automatic manure scrapers. We also provide EPS water tanks, water heaters, softeners and pumps and a well drilling service on farms and also to private households.”
Denis T O’Sullivan has been a main Dairymaster distributor since the mid-1980s. “We’ve been with Dairymaster since 1985-86,” Denis confirms. “We started off doing servicing for them locally as they had a few prestigious farmers in the area and needed somebody to service their units. As the years progressed and we built up a relationship with them, servicing for farmers here and also for some lads in Kerry, we got into fitting their systems too and only last week [mid-November] we fitted a 50-unit Swiftflo rotary parlour in just one week on a farm in Aherla, near Ballincollig. A project of this scale would usually take three or four weeks but we had twelve men on site and got it finished in one.”
The Dairymaster agency has become vitally important to the overall success and viability of the business, accounting for the best part of Denis T O’Sullivan (Sales & Services) Ltd.’s day-to-day activities. Any time the high-performance dairy equipment manufacturer receives an enquiry from a farmer in Mid Cork who is interested in one of their products, Denis and John will generally take it from there and act as the first point of contact. What are the key strengths of Dairymaster systems and why have they stuck with this brand over the years?
“Their strength is that they are manufactured here in Ireland. It’s a local company and the response time is very fast. While we stock all the parts that are needed to service or fit the units, if there is anything unusual that’s needed we can get it in double-quick time as they are only two hours away. Dairymaster is an amazing success story – they started off with an agency over 50 years ago, importing from New Zealand and are now exporting their products to New Zealand and 42 countries around the world. Their products are the best you can get and they provide wonderful service levels to all their customers, including a complete lay-out and design service from start to finish.”
Indeed, like Dairymaster, Denis T O’Sullivan are also completely customer-orientated… “Most of our farmers are within half an hour’s drive of us, although we do go a little further into West Cork as well from time to time,” Denis notes. “We have all the spares in stock to provide a complete back-up service and also have the manpower to make sure everybody is looked after promptly. My sons John and Tommy are a great help and my wife Bernie also plays a big role in the success of the business as does John’s wife, Ann Marie.
“As a family business first and foremost, we go out of our way to keep all our customers happy. No two customers are the same and they all like to receive a personal touch and attention to detail. We listen very closely to their needs and with the experience we have built up over the years we have a very good understanding of what they want and we will work closely with them to achieve those goals. We have built up good relationships with farmers and tend to get a lot of work through repeat business and word of mouth.”
For dairy farmers considering investing in new milking equipment, i.e. a more automated system, it will often come down to the bottom line. How much bang can they get for their buck? “Dairymaster are very good at running through the grant structures with farmers,” Denis reveals. “We can tell them how much of their project will be grant-aided and exactly what the project will cost after VAT reclaim and the grant payments. Skilled labour is very expensive and anything the farmer can do to cut back on the cost of that is worth considering. It’s a good idea to try to get their systems as automated as possible and Irish farmers are very well looked after with grant assistance in this regard.”
Denis T O’Sullivan (Sales & Services) Ltd. have come a long way in the past 38 years and the signs are encouraging that they will continue to go from strength to strength in the months, nay years ahead. “I’m especially proud of our achievements in the past eight-ten years since John came on board,” Denis concludes. “Dairymaster seem to be impressed by the work we are doing and once they are happy and the farmer is happy, then we are happy too. Whoever picks up the phone here, be that late at night or over the weekend, is ready to look after customers. We are never off duty and everything is geared towards customer service.
“The staff are a big part of the story too and you have to keep the workforce happy as well. We have great lads working here, many of whom are farmers’ sons and aren’t afraid of work. We have a lot of work ahead of us at the minute and if we can keep a steady ship going forward, we’ll be more than happy.”
Denis T O’Sullivan (Sales & Services) Ltd.,
Tel: 087 2538763
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 3, May/June 2021