Horan Automation

Tipperary Awards

Tipperary Business Awards Entry



  1. Provide an overview or executive summary of the business or company

Gerry and Kathleen Horan started an automation company over twenty years ago called Montip which was rebranded as Horan Automation and Consulting in 2014.  The company enjoyed many years generating sales revenue of in excess of €1 million but when the recession hit Ireland, the company’s sales fell into decline.  As a result of this decline the company was forced to close and re-open as a re-branded entity.  In 2016 the company once again began to grow as a result of a complete restructuring of the business.  In 2017, sales of over €1m are once again forecast.


The company’s vision is that manufacturing processes that should be automated due to cost, absenteeism or health and safety issues are done so to a high standard and at a competitive price.  Automation can speed up production, improve quality, reduce costs, give greater flexibility in the production process and ensure a safer working environment. If an automation solution is not pre-existing, Horan Automation and Consulting can then design and build such a solution to allow a customer to reach their full process potential.  It is crucial that the quality of the products and services we sell to our customers are of the utmost quality standards.  We carefully select our suppliers to ensure they offer a quality product at a competitive price.  It is important to us that our suppliers value quality as much as we do and they offer a warranty with their products.


We also feel that customer service is crucial to the running of a successful business. Knowledge and innovation are at the crux of our success especially regarding our customised automation service.  We possess a unique set of knowledge and experience to enable us to design and build innovative solutions to manufacturing automation problems.  We therefore keep up to date with technological innovations and how they meet the needs of our target market.


  1. Summarise the activities of the business {300 words max}:

Horan Automation is a business to business supplier of automated machinery for the manufacturing industry.  Below is a description of our products as well as a graphic to explain our market.


Customised Automation Solutions

Target: Manufacturing companies who need to automate a process but cannot find a pre-existing machine.  Often includes robot integration.

Features: Completely bespoke service tailored to the individual client

Benefits: Production lines are integrated with the new customised machine.  The client can reach optimum productivity with a bespoke machine.


Pre-Existing Machine Suppliers

Target: Manufacturing companies who want a simple pre-existing machine solution for the best value

Features: Machine already exists to carry out a specific task

Benefits: The client can get the best value by shopping around.  Pre-existing machines are cheaper and have been tested so any chinks in their operation have been ironed out.


Turnkey Automation

Target: Manufacturing companies who are expanding or setting up and need a full automated production line set up

Features: Set up of turnkey automation includes supply and installation of pre-existing machines as well as customised machines if necessary.  The client requires servicing and training after completion of the project.

Benefits: The client does not have to manage the project and can simply “turn the key” on the first day of production to see the completely automated production line set up and working.


Feasibility Study

Target: Manufacturing companies who are looking into automating a production line but are not sure of their options or the costs.

Features: During a feasibility study our engineer visits the site of the manufacturing facility and assesses the production issue.  He then formulates a potential solution as well as drafting a budget quote to carry out the work.

Benefits: The client can find out what design would theoretically work to solve their production issues and how much it would cost to implement.  They can calculate the return on investment based on the amount of staff that are currently employed to service the specific production area.


  1. Outline the value proposition for your customers

We are one of only a handful of customised automated machine builders in Ireland.  Our ability to analyse a manufacturing issue and design, build and integrate the solution is very unique.  We have done extensive research into our suppliers so that we can offer the best quality products at the best price.   Most of our customers have been loyal to us in the long-term and value our knowledge and customer service as well as our pricing and quality.  We place just as much emphasis on service and aftersales as we do on sales and marketing.

Our customers need to be split into two categories due to their size; medium sized manufacturing companies and multi-national manufacturing companies.  This is because the budget, needs, attitudes and profile of our customer segments differ due to their size.  In relation to our machines for re-sale, our unique selling point is that we are able to provide on the ground installation, servicing and integration where as our overseas clients will take a lot longer to send an engineer and will charge a lot more.  Another unique selling point we have is that we have solutions available to both of our customer categories that fit into their budgets. We feel that it is only a matter of time before machines are manufactured in China due to the large variation in price so we want to be ahead of the curve while still offering a quality product at a competitive price.

Overall, we are a business who respects people; our customers, our suppliers and our staff.  This enables us to offer customers the best prices, at the highest quality from the best skilled staff that are happy in their roles and contribute to the growth of the company


  1. How successful is the business in achieving its objectives

We employed a new marketing manager in January 2017 to help us to completely re-structure the business and generate more sales.  Below are the statistics of the business prior to her joining the team

Chart 1 shows the breakdown of sales by industry sector for Horan Automation for the year 2016.  85% of our sales were in the pharmaceutical/chemical area so we are highly reliant on this market.

 Chart 1  









Chart 2









Chart 2 shows the breakdown of sales by customer for Horan Automation for the period, 2016.  The chart shows a high reliance on one customer which is not advisable.


Breakdown of sales by customer 2016

The company turned over approximately €300,000 per annum.  After a period of re-structuring the statistics are very different moving into 2017-2018.  The company has re-branded and is actively marketing its products.  We have already quoted for €2,500,000 worth of business at only 5 months into the financial year.  These quotations are spread across 26 different customers in many different industries (See charts 3 and 4)


Quotations to date for 2017 by value and customer

Chart 3










Chart 4











Breakdown of Quotations by Industry 2017

This re-structuring involved the following:

  • Drafting of a 2 year business plan and training of all the staff
  • Re-branding and marketing
  • Re-focus of MD on strategic decision making and sales
  • Research into suppliers and choosing best suppliers based on quality, performance and cost
  • Extensive research of markets, own performance, customers and competitors
  • New product offerings

Objectives were set as follows:

  1. To generate €800,000 sales revenue from sales of customised machines by February 2018
  2. To generate 10% of total revenue sales revenue from sales of pre-built machines by February 2018
  3. To create a marketing campaign for the business by March 2017
  4. To reduce costs of manufacturing by selecting new supply partners for pre-built machines by August 2017
  5. To employ one new project engineer by February 2018


These objectives are currently being met by implementing strategies outlined in the business plan.  Progress is monitored monthly.    The overall indicator of success is sales but we also track our strategic progress through media monitoring, website analytics, email analytics, market research and customer research.


  1. Where do you see the business in 5 years’ time

In 2017 we are confident that we will have grown the business from sales revenue of €300k to over €1million.  With our new structures we are beginning to do the following:

  • Launching new innovative products to be at the top of the technological revolution i.e. Collaborative robots that can interact with humans in a manufacturing setting. These can be easily programmed without the need for a highly skilled programmer and they can carry out dangerous or repetitive tasks.  There is a high demand for these especially in the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Intruding new pricing structures to meet demand from our client sectors. We have sourced European suppliers to offer high quality competitive machines under a well trusted brand for our multi-national clients.  We have entered negotiations to allow us to enjoy discounts to be passed onto the client.  We are also now launching new Chinese machines.  We specify our machine designs and parts to our suppliers in China and we have them manufactured under our brand.  The machines are the same high quality standards at 30% less cost to the customer.  We ensure that machines are CE marked to European standards and that we can install, integrate and service them.
  • We plan to begin exporting into Europe in 2018-2019 and have already applied for a LEO grant to help us to support this through marketing and trade fairs.
  • Making new international trade partners (we are currently in talks with 3 large automation companies; one from Canada, one from the UK and one from Italy). We hope to expand within the next 5 years by gaining international trade partners.

The major strategic changes we have begun to implement are taking us to minimum revenue of €1 million in 2017.  There will be rapid growth and expansion in the coming years taking us to a forecast revenue of €5 million within 5 years.


  1. Outline why you feel the specific Award being applied for is merited.

We feel that the best SME award should be awarded to Horan Automation and Consulting because we are an innovative business operating on the national and international stage with a base in Tipperary’s rural countryside.  We feel that we can demonstrate that any business has all the necessary supports and resources within Tipperary to reach their full potential.  Our growth has been aided by networking with the local business community such as the Chamber of Commerce, LEO, banks, local suppliers and customers and we continue to enjoy these strong relationships.  We have been hugely successful in employing a team of highly skilled people within Tipperary and are confident that within the next five years we will continue to create both direct and indirect employment in the county.

We have demonstrated that we have risen above our past challenges by re-structuring our business and working together.  We have conducted extensive research and compiled a business plan which is allowing us to enter new markets with new products and engage with new suppliers and partners.  Overall, our respect for our people above all else has allowed us to face up to adversity and rise above it.  We are emerging as market leaders in our game with little or no competition.  Our staff remain loyal as well as our customers and all our supply partners.  We continue to enjoy growth while remaining steadfast in our beliefs; quality, value and people.  Tipperary is an amazing environment for any business to set up, grow and operate.  Geographically, we are well placed to trade nationally and internationally.  The existence of multinational manufacturing companies locally who are willing to engage with local suppliers allows us to showcase our quality products.  The skill pool of potential employees is to a high standard and overall we are proud to have our base in Tipperary.

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