There are high expectations for 2021, but for Gary Larkin, Managing Director, Monbatt Ltd the year is already looking promising as it sees his hugely successful Monaghan based company celebrating a milestone 25 years in business.
Monbatt is one of the leading wholesale distributors of commercial vehicle batteries in Ireland. It also provides oils and lubricant products to the wholesale market. Reflecting on the last 25 years, Gary has immense pride in all that he has achieved with his first generation business, which started out as a one man operation, growing into a company with a strong team (30 employees).
Working alongside his father Tom in the family’s auto-electrical business and seeing how many automotive starter batteries were required in the Irish market, Gary was inspired by the volume of batteries that one supplier could turnover in just a short couple of months and thus, he decided to set up his own starter battery wholesale distribution company.
Like most twenty-one year olds, Gary had little knowledge of setting up and running your own business but with a strong, entrepreneurial idea and first-hand industry experience thanks to the years spent working with his father, Gary was confident that he had spotted an opportunity that would prove to be successful.
The early days of setting up were challenging and Gary spent long hours travelling the country, establishing working relationships and building the customer base which would help him to generate sales, sales that would in turn lead to increased profits which could then be reinvested into stock – all of which would contribute to growing the business.
As Monbatt gathered momentum, the next important item on Gary’s agenda was to build a team. Having a strong team in place would be a vital cog in the wheel in managing the day to day elements of a young company – fulfilling orders, managing the warehouse and liaising with customers, affording Gary the time he needed to further grow the ever-expanding customer base.
Down through the years, Gary has invested a lot of time and energy in building his team – identifying individuals who shared his goals and ambitions for the company and working with him to build a brand and a company that would lead by example.
According to Gary, business starts and survives with the help of a team, that can connect and work together successfully and he attributes a lot of the company’s success to the strength and hard-working spirit of his team, many of whom have been with him since the inception of Monbatt. “A team is one of the biggest and most important assets a company can have, no business would succeed without the help of a good team behind it,” he remarked.
As the years progressed, Monbatt became a prominent name in the industry and was quickly being recognised as a key player in the Irish starter battery market.
International interest was also growing as manufacturers in Europe, the Middle East and Asia all showed interest in supplying Monbatt with their produce.
2021 now sees Monbatt having long-standing working relationships with some of the industry’s biggest brands: Bosch, Dagenite, Monbat, a Bulgarian manufacturer and loyal supplier for 15 plus years, which also produces a private brand for Gary’s business. Monbatt also represents Fiamm and was awarded sole distribution of Fiamm for Ireland in 2011 and the brand now represents 30 per cent of Monbatt’s annual battery turnover.
These strong relationships have resulted in Monbatt now topping 160,000 starter battery sales each year and is one of the leading suppliers in the country.
So what does the future hold for Monbatt?
Never one to rest on his laurels, Gary has his sights firmly set on the future. Diversification is always on Gary and his team’s minds. In 2011, they worked with a supplier to develop their own private brand of lubricants, all of which are produced from high quality base oils and blended to the highest standards. Sales have far exceeded expectations in the first 10 years, going from 50,000 litres in the first year to two million plus litres in 2020.
With the stop/start battery industry facing exponential growth, Gary and Monbatt have that firmly covered in their excellent working relationship with Fiamm who have just been awarded the Ford stop/start battery supply tender in Europe, in addition to an already impressive portfolio of OEM contracts with renowned automotive brands including Mercedes-Benz, Opel, Nissan, Peugeot, Volvo and Toyota.
This is a massive endorsement for such a prestigious company and Gary said: “Fiamm has over 65 per cent market share in the OEM business in Europe, with the exclusive partnership Monbatt have with Fiamm this leaves Monbatt in a strong position to service the Automotive aftermarket here in Ireland for many years to come.”
He concluded: “Monbatt has worked hard over the years and we’ve never become complacent about the business. We understand the importance of remaining focussed – on the business, on our customers, on our suppliers, on our team and on the future to ensure we remain a market leader and a driving force for many years to come.”
For more information log on to www.monbatt.ie.