It’s not every day that you come across a family-run business that’s celebrating 50 years of successfully supporting and supplying the Scottish licensed trade with the very best gaming machines, CCTV, big screens, pool tables, EPOS and till systems, plus ice machines, glass and dishwashers. But that’s exactly what Glasgow-based SIMS Automatics can lay claim to in 2019. Scott McGillvray heads up the operation that’s celebrating half a century of being at the top of its game and that now employs roughly 80 people. Scott and his sister, company Director Alison Lambie, are joint custodians of a business that was started by their parents back in 1969, and they’re both rightly proud of the dynamic company they’ve built. So, how did it all begin? Said Scott, “My dad started out fixing jukeboxes because at the time Glasgow didn’t have a licence for gaming machines. Then, by around the mid-70s, they started to become really popular in pubs and that’s when we really started supplying the licensed trade. Pool tables also really came into their own at this time.” In fact, it’s the only Scottish supplier that provides such a comprehensive range of gaming and entertainment equipment, and one reason this company remains at the top of its game is the fact it never stands still. Today SIMS Automatics company portfolio includes Cash Control Equipment and, most recently, KE Automatics. Said Scott, “We’re always on the acquisition trail and our most recent new business acquisition was KE Automatics, which was based in Kirkcaldy, but that building wasn’t suitable so we moved the business to a new depot in Dunfermline. We have of course always covered the east
of Scotland, but having a dedicated base in the there has definitely made business a lot slicker. It’s been up and running for a year-and-a-half and has helped us extend our coverage right the way up from Edinburgh and beyond Aberdeen.” And in this world where digital is king, the business is still sensitive to the fact not every licensee is looking for the latest cutting edge technology. He said, “Digital gaming machines are not a new thing. They’ve been around for about 15 years, we’ve been supplying them for about five years, and the digital product can have around 16 games on one machine. But there are still some customers that want to see the reel spinning around, and for the more traditional outlet that doesn’t quite feel ready to fully embrace digital, there are reel-based machines that we’re happy to provide.” Aftercare and responding to customers’ needs is something that SIMS equally prides itself on. Explained Scott, “We also supply pubs owned by brewers and their pubs often require a change of machine every three months, for example, and we always remain responsive to individual customer needs. Whether that’s a multiple operator or a licensee with one premises.” The next big thing on the calendar for the team at SIMS is next month’s ScotHot in Glasgow. Said Scott, “We don’t do ScotHot every year, but this year we are going to have a pretty big presence. One of the best aspects to this type of event is that we get to see licensees face-to-face and establish in unison what we can do to improve their business. It’s always a pleasure doing business like this, and we look forward to seeing you all there.”


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Tags: Scott McGillvray, scottish licensed trade, Sims Automatics