Coupler Industry Giants Team Up for North American Venture

Wed January 20, 2010 - National Edition
CEG


(L-R) are Jacqui Miller, Randy Baird, Gary Miller, James Baird and Keith Miller.
(L-R) are Jacqui Miller, Randy Baird, Gary Miller, James Baird and Keith Miller.

Two names in quick coupler technology have joined forces to form a single company committed to bringing innovative coupler products, buckets and additional work tools to customers in North America. The new firm, MillerBaird LLC, will be headed up by Randy and James Baird, founders and former principals with JRB Company Inc., as well as Keith, Gary and Jacqui Miller of European coupler manufacturer, Miller U.K. Ltd.

The partnership, driven by mutual areas of product expertise, as well as a belief in the value of customer service, and a confidence that North America will emerge from the current slowdown as a truly viable market, brings together two of the world’s premier players in loader and excavator coupler technology.

“When two entities such as ours enter into a partnership,” said Keith Miller, “there can really only be one outcome. Our vision as a company is to become the go-to source for buckets, couplers and associated work tools throughout North America. We will do that by offering what many in business seem to have forgotten today: a commitment to a superior product, and a real desire to back it with unmatched service.”

According to Randy Baird, the joining together of these two groups was born out of repeated encounters over the years.

“We’ve known the Millers for a long time from chance meetings at trade shows and the like,” he said. “So, in late August of this year, we held a series of discussions to look at the viability of a partnership. We all quickly recognized that, by combining knowledge, experience, and our mutually solid work ethic, we could bring innovative, reliable, productive products — at an exceptional value — to customers using all machine brands across North America. We feel we’re on track to doing that.”

MillerBaird has history on its side, given that Miller U.K. Ltd. is the only quick coupler manufacturer to have been chosen by the majority of the world’s leading OEMs as their coupler producer of choice: branding Miller couplers in their colors, imprinting them as their product, selling them through their respective dealer networks, etc.

Added James Baird: “Through this partnership we have created a company that immediately brings more than a half-century of experience in the design, manufacturing and marketing of couplers and attachments for wheel loaders and excavators. There is not another company of this type that can make that claim. Equally important, however, is the fact that serving the customer — and listening to their input — is a notion shared by everyone on board.”

Headquartered out of Akron, Ohio, MillerBaird recently launched its Pin Grabber Advanced (PGA) fully-automatic coupler for hydraulic excavators to the North American market.

“Until recently, that particular coupler was only available through the CAT dealer network,” said James Baird. “However, it has proven extremely popular with operators, so we are now making it available for all leading machine brands through MillerBaird. We are committed to helping contractors and operators maximize the versatility of their machines; this is just the tip of the iceberg in our push to do so.”

About the Bairds

The Baird name is recognized across the United States for its line of products invented and sold under the JRB brand. Randy Baird founded JRB Company Inc. in 1983, initially designing and building wheel loader buckets. As the industry changed however, and advances in technology gathered pace, Baird and his team looked at introducing a coupler device that would allow a wheel loader more versatility and by extension, additional productivity. In 1985, the JRB wheel loader coupler was launched, enabling operators to switch between a host of attachments on the same machine quickly. The popularity of the loader coupler fueled significant growth and further development of new products. Recognizing the ever-growing popularity of hydraulic excavators, JRB turned its focus toward development of a coupler system for those machines and, in 1993 introduced the first-generation JRB coupler for excavators.

As the business continued to expand, now with son James on board, so did Randy Baird’s vision: JRB was the first company to set up value partnerships with its CustomWorks group with many of the leading machine brands in North America.

“We have learned and demonstrated over the years that having strong relationships with our customers creates the opportunity for clear communication and the likelihood of success for all parties. It is our goal to help equip the machines so that they are more efficient and profitable, making them more attractive to the end-user.”

In 2004, Baird was approached by ATI (later to become Paladin Brands), to consider the sale of his company. After much deliberation, he finally decided to part with the business that he had founded; the sale was completed in August 2004.

About the Millers

Founded in 1978 by three siblings: Keith, Gary and Jacqui Miller, Miller U.K. Ltd. was initially established as a repair and maintenance service for the quarrying, mining and construction industries. Much like Randy Baird, Keith Miller’s main desire was to build a business that could make a real difference to his customers.

The firm established itself throughout the 1980s repairing, designing and manufacturing buckets for wheeled loaders and excavators. A major breakthrough came in 1986, when a chance meeting with an international business colleague led to the introduction of the Miller quick-hitch coupler for hydraulic excavators. While demonstrating this innovative tool at a UK exhibition, Miller was approached by representatives from Caterpillar to discuss incorporating the coupler technology onto Cat’s backhoe range of machines. By 1989, Miller had signed a global agreement with Caterpillar to supply the equipment giant with coupler products that would be distributed through CAT’s dealer network worldwide.

Miller U.K. continued to expand and its internal design team, headed up by Gary Miller focused on further improving its current existing coupler design. The result of those efforts was the Miller Pin Grabber Advanced (PGA), a fully automatic, universal coupler capable of picking up attachments from a range of pin spreads. Since joining forces with Caterpillar, more than 35,000 Miller units have been sold into North America alone, with global sales in excess of 250,000 units, making the Pin Grabber Advanced the most successful excavator quick coupler on the market. In addition to CAT adaptability, the PGA also is supplied and OEM branded for CNH, JCB, Volvo and many other leading brands.

For three decades now, the Millers say their philosophy has focused on “The Three P’s”: people, products and performance. The company believes that having the right people ensures that the correct products are supplied which, in turn, perform to their customers’ expectations and beyond.

According to Jacqui Miller, the corporate philosophy and company ethos of their colleagues in America are very similar to those that are at the root of Miller U.K.

“We both believe that good people make a successful business and that the requirements of our customers always come first. That, we all believe, is at the root of all successful endeavors.”

For more information, call 877/769-2611 or visit www.millerbaird.com.