Build & Sustainability
The Last Word: Keith Miller
July 4, 2023
Closing this month’s issue of North East Times Magazine, Keith Miller, chair at Cramlington-headquartered international earthmover bucket and coupler maker Miller, reflects on the firm’s 45th anniversary, its plans for future growth and its place within the global sustainability agenda.
Congratulations on the business’ 45th anniversary. To what do you attribute its success, and are there any specific highlights which stand out in its growth journey?
I’m very humbled Miller – which I started when I was just 21 as a one-man mobile welding repair business – is now recognised as the largest manufacturer in the UK of earthmoving attachments, couplers and buckets, and one of the leading companies of its type worldwide.
I have a great sense of pride when arriving in many different countries and seeing Miller products hard at work on the end of an excavator.
Managed under family leadership alongside my brother Gary and sister Jacqueline for many years, and supported by family and friends in the early days, we established a culture at Miller of transparency and genuinely taking care of our people.
And this foundation has underpinned our success.
In 1986, we pioneered the first universal quick coupler with hydraulic technology that revolutionised the operations of excavators, significantly increasing safety, productivity and versatility.
Not only a gamechanger for the industry, it also provided a competitive advantage that propelled Miller into the global arena.
We now supply products in more than 50 countries, with global manufacturing facilities and distribution centres across Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
As you say, Miller is an international business, complementing its Cramlington headquarters with sister sites in Australia, China, India and the US. Against such an expanding geographical presence, just how important are the firm’s North East roots?
I was born in the North East and building a business in this region – in a hub of manufacturing excellence – has always been very important to me.
We have a lot of talent here, and one of our greatest accomplishments has been creating thousands of jobs in the region and worldwide, both direct and indirect, in our global supply chain operations.
I consider myself lucky to have ascended to a privileged position alongside a devoted and extremely talented senior management team.
Together, they are orchestrating a remarkable business venture fuelled by exceptional individuals, propelling the company’s growth to new heights through professionalism and an environment that seamlessly blends work and fun, making it an extraordinary place.
In the last 12 months, we have grown our presence in new markets across the world and expanded to reach new territories, with everything supported by our North East headquarters, which we plan to grow.
Everything starts from digging a hole; whether extracting coal or iron ore, or moving earth for the building of new homes, fitting a water or gas pipeline or road construction.
And it is the specialist work tools designed and built by the Miller global team that plays an important part in making it all happen efficiently.
Thanks to its supplying of parts to industries including construction and civil engineering, the business sits at the heart of a building sector undergoing a significant sustainability revolution. How is the company factoring such change into its product portfolio and, looking at its own future, how is it digging the foundations for further decades of success?
Being at the forefront of innovation, using the latest technology to constantly develop and innovate, is vital in the sectors we operate.
We strive to be a leader in sustainability.
As such, for decades our product portfolio has been driven by developing solutions that offer safety, productivity and versatility efficiencies – and, as such, increase sustainability – for customers, whether they be fuel savings, maximising digging performance or decreasing machine repairs and maintenance costs.
We continue to invest heavily in research and development to enhance our product portfolio and partner with like-minded companies to push technological boundaries.
Equally important is our investment in people.
Our people make us who we are, and our future success and global growth will be drawn from empowering them to pioneer change that matters.