To celebrate a week into the launch of the BETA Marketplace, the revolutionary e-commerce platform for industrial spare parts – we’ve looked back at how Machine Compare got where it is today. Brought together by two brothers with a vision, the company has grown into a team of eight spread across and beyond the UK – coming a long way in its journey of transforming how industry trades, globally.
So, how did the Machine Compare story begin? And where is the company today?
How it started: Two brothers with a vision
During the seventeen years that co-founder Ben Findlay travelled the world selling corrugated machinery, he couldn’t help but notice the sheer amount of surplus, dead stock and obsolete spare parts lying unused inside multinational factories across the world. Consulting his brother and co-founder Eric, the Findlay brothers were determined to track down unused parts across industrial verticals and find a way to put them back into the market where they belonged.
Combining their backgrounds in travel commerce and specialised machinery sales, the unique proposition of an online industrial comparison platform was conceived in 2014, under the name Machine Compare.
And soon thereafter, the hunt for spare parts began.
Tackling their first multinational client, a potential €30m worth of dead stock parts was anticipated to be found. However, expectations quickly exceeded, with amounts rising past €140 million.
This was major turning point for the brothers. And industry.
As more multinationals onboarded the idea, taking it upon themselves to look closer at often-neglected spare parts inventories, the total amount stacked up to the £900 millions and eventually broke the billion-pound mark.
To date, an astonishing £5 billions worth of spare parts have been identified sitting unused across multi-national manufacturing plantations within sectors such as food and drink, packaging, paper, and pharmaceutical. An amount that is still on the rise.
Following the devastating passing of Eric in 2019, after a short battle with cancer, his vision continues to live on in the company that has grown in talent and numbers.
The Machine Compare family grows
In 2019, James Toothill, CTO at Machine Compare decided to take on the challenge of helping build the e-commerce Marketplace, weaving together hands on industry experience with the latest in tech. And in January 2020 Emily Dunlop, CMO, took the reins in all things marketing, breathing renewed life into Machine Compare’s sustainability efforts and vision.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, the company houses a thriving team of eight covering areas in tech, marketing, and sales – spread between Chester, Macclesfield, Manchester, Leeds, and London, UK, as well as Gothenburg, Sweden.
Previously, Machine Compare was an award-winning and leading marketplace to find and sell capital equipment. As of March 2021, we have expanded our portfolio with the successful BETA launch of our hotly anticipated spare parts e-commerce platform and sister site, Marketplace.
So, where does this leave Machine Compare today?
How it’s going: Machine Compare goes live with soft launch of a revolutionary spare parts BETA Marketplace
Over 9,664 team calls and 18,120 hours of work later, Machine Compare finds itself just over a week into the soft launch of Marketplace.
This first of its kind e-commerce platform is set to close the missing link of a circular economy, allowing manufacturers to turn unused, overstocked and obsolete spare parts tied up in factories into capital instead of sending these for scrap. Buyers too, can enjoy endless benefits such as reduced lead times, reduced costs and more transparent and effective supply chains, helping enhance safeguarding strategies like maintenance and avoid downtime.
Through Marketplace, buyers and sellers are helping reverse and mitigate the impacts of well-known shortcomings in the supply chain, including overstocking, poor forecasting and insufficient inventory management – helping revive spare parts by putting them back into the market.
Like the first multinational the Findlay brothers took on, growing numbers of dead stock spare parts continue to be identified across industry. Often to manufacturer’s own surprise.
One global manufacturer admitted to scraping €140K worth of spare parts per site, annually. Considering that they host over 350+ sites worldwide; one only needs to do some quick maths to realise the scale of this problem.
Another manufacturer estimated to find around €1m worth of dead stock when approached, only to confirm a much higher €60 millions worth when conducting a thorough audit.
But whilst the problem grows bigger in scale, so does the opportunity to turn things around for the better. And you play a critical part in this change.
Switching from “trading new” to “trading better”
Whether you’re looking to sell or buy unused spare parts, Marketplace makes this process straightforward and effortless.
Having spoken to manufacturers worldwide, Machine Compare realised that inventory management was a huge obstacle, with organisations struggling to gain a clear and comprehensive picture of what stock is available and where. Therefore, our technology and development team has built a huge and growing database that can intelligently extract things like brand name, MPN number and category description from basic data to give buyers a far clearer picture of what you might be selling.
By searching over 50 million existing spare parts, the Marketplace system can populate a seller’s inventory with an image, data sheets and specifications through the MPN number and manufacturer.
Trust is also a concern for both buyers and sellers. Without effective visibility into manufacturing supply chains, businesses and executives are faced with significant blind spots in their enterprise risk management structure, from which substantial legal, financial, and reputational exposure could emerge.
Having listened to customer concerns, Machine Compare will be rolling out a comprehensive risk and governance plan that includes verification, compliance auditing and risk management.
Same products. Different destination.
By allowing manufacturers to turn unused surplus stock into profit, the Marketplace helps flip the £5B problem into opportunity.
What became glaringly apparent during the development of this Marketplace was the sheer volume of spare parts wrongfully ending up in landfills. This was attributed to two major reasons. Either the spare parts had reached end-of-life, or manufacturers required more factory floor space.
Now, instead of these spare parts ending up in landfill, they can fulfil their intended life cycles with access to a live market of interested buyers.
In the future, Machine Compare will also be inviting recycling partners to repurpose the spare parts that have been used and have reached end-of-life, creating a truly circular ecosystem.
Additionally, Machine Compare is committed to mitigating and displacing carbon emissions, including the carbon that is unavoidably emitted – for example, during the transportation of a good. This helps support the conservation, reforestation and carbon powerhouses that need it most.
Highly committed to the circular economy, Machine Compare’s aims to become a truly sustainable business, becoming carbon neutral by 2023.
Discover the BETA Marketplace
The Beta Marketplace is an ongoing test, meaning we will continue to expand and add new products and features to over time.
Your feedback is very much appreciated and welcome, as it will allow us to improve what we do prior to our global roll out in June 2021.
With more features and functionality still to come, you can become an early adopter and stay one step ahead of competition by joining Marketplace as a seller. As a buyer, you can browse and purchase from world-renowned spare part brands and manufacturers with peace of mind.
Our team is tirelessly working to release enhanced features and functionalities to more and more customers over the coming months. Through the feedback we get, we will continue to make these small, frequent updates to improve your overall experience.
Become part of this global community and join the movement in changing how industry trades, globally.
Got 2 minutes to spare?
Receiving your feedback on the Marketplace experience is integral to making sure the e-commerce platform is fully optimised around your needs and fully equipped for the full roll-out in June. We would be grateful if you could leave us your thoughts via the link below.