What is called a “rig mat” is in fact any kind of industrial access mat design. The industry is not tightly regulated and therefore terminology can sometimes be inexact and at times confusing. Thus any claim to expertise in the area can be in the field of any specific product with a specific purpose, or in the more generic conceptual sense. To add to the confusion, other terms which may be used include construction mats, mud mats, construction mats, rubber mats, swamp mats, crane mats, heavy equipment mats and hybrid mats. There are others too.
Whatever we decide to call it, the rig mat is effectively a portable platform used in construction to support equipment. Its purpose is to provide clean all-weather walking, driving and working surfaces in either an industrial or a commercial construction setting, making access easier and therefore enabling work to be undertaken more efficiently. Its use also helps those in the industry remain compliant with the requirements of the relevant Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
The Need for First-Hand Subject Knowledge
The most obvious and straightforward requirement for any supplier to industry of rig or access mats must therefore be that they are fit for purpose, capable of being employed under the most testing circumstances for providing convenient access to work sites. Some specialist knowledge is clearly required on the industry and its demands. If you are involved in the manufacture of the products then this obviously is of paramount importance. If mere supply is your line then needless to say the expertise in production is somebody else’s concern, but nevertheless you will be the first port of call for the customer in the even of complaint or query and so you too would be expected to have at least some first-hand subject knowledge, whether it be the greatest rig mat washer on the market or the strengths and weaknesses of a particular brand.
The Viability of Rig Mats as an SME
It is clearly the case that rig mats are a vital niche market, but is supplying them a viable option for a new small business? In order to answer this it would first be necessary to evaluate the competition, which to begin with would mean establishing who currently supplies to the industry, whether there is a monopoly or near-monopoly being exercised by a particular supplier, what the general level of happiness is with existing supply lines and, in consideration of all these factors, is there room for a new supplier in the market?
Certain questions inevitably need to be asked. Are present users happy with the products which are being supplied to them? Are they available at a reasonable cost and could you offer better terms? Remember these are specialist concerns you are dealing with and they will always be interested in a product which combines good functionality with a competitive price.
Once you have done your homework the key is then to source a supplier who can provide the products you need at a sufficiently competitive price to permit you a viable mark-up.