Radcoflex director, Mathew Carroll, said working closely with customers to develop products suitable or their needs has helped the company remain resilient and survive market fluctuations. Manufacturers’ Monthly reports.
With the ever-changing and evolving market demands, allowing market demand to drive new product development has helped Radcoflex, an industrial hose and expansion joints manufacturer, avoid downturns and grow its customer base.
For over 60 years, the Australian- owned business has manufactured and supplied a selection of metal and non-metal expansion joints and flexible hoses for industries ranging from chemical and construction, automotive and roads, to the mining and food industries.
During this period, director Mat Carroll says developing new products and modifying existing ones has helped the company cater to a range of industries, from mining to food and beverage.
“Our products are not limited to one specific industrial sector and that’s one of our key strengths. Having such a broad range of products allows us to protect ourselves against individual industrial market fluctuations. For example if the transport industry has a downturn, we have market premiums in the mining, oil and gas or food and beverage industries,” Carroll told Manufacturers’ Monthly.
Radcoflex has grown its product portfolio in an organic way, through engaging with the clients and understanding their specific needs.
“We are always looking at how we can change and adapt our products, or some components of them, to suit new and emerging industries. We either adjust our manufacturing process or the material that is used in that process to create subtle variation within the product based on the customer demands,” Carroll said.
“It allows us to provide quality solutions that are specific to each customer,” he added.
Innovation driving efficiency
An example is the Radcoflex’s Stripwound product line – which are flexible metal hoses produced by roll forming a profile into a metal strip and helically winding the strip over a mandrel.
Radcoflex has manufactured multiple versions of the Stripwound hoses, with varying pressure capabilities for different applications.
Radcoflex recently designed a specific version of the Stripwound hoses with a smooth interior, called Smooth Line, which is intended particularly for the transport and bulk freight industry.
“The Smooth Line hoses have an enhanced flow rate compared to the traditional Stripwound hoses. This helps our customers improve their material handling turnaround time – in some cases by up to half an hour,” Carroll said.
The company also engages research agencies to gather data on the products’ performance and efficiency complimenting their own internal testing processes.
“We are working to determine the flow rates for various commodities such as cement, grain, plastic, etc. using Smooth Line hoses and how it enhances efficiency and improves turnaround time for the end-users comparative to our other Stripwound products,” Carroll said.
This constant growth and modification of the existing products has helped Radcoflex create new areas of business, while maintaining its existing client base.
For example, Carroll said, Radcoflex is currently working on developing a secondary barrier containment solution by modifying one of the existing products.
“It helps us broaden our market presence within our existing clients. We might introduce the new product either as a supplementary commodity for one of our existing products or a stand-alone product,” he explained.
The ability to engage with customers and understand their challenges to design tailor-made solutions is what Carroll believes sets Radcoflex apart from its counterparts.
“For example, one of our customers approached us because their existing hoses had failed and they knew we had more than six decades of experience in this market. We sat with them to understand their requirements and then worked with them to produce a hose that was a variation of one of our existing products and it proved to be a suitable solution for them,” he explained.
Of course, developing new products is a two-way process and requires close collaboration between the two parties.
“There is an understanding from the end-user that developing a new solution takes some time and involves some level of iteration before the final product is ready. But, even if it doesn’t work the first time, we go back to the drawing table and test the product until we have an effective solution for the customer,” Carroll said.
Tractability is another important factor that helps the customer trust a brand, Carroll said.
“If the client wants to ensure that any of our products is genuine, they can simply go to our website which will enable them to link with our customer engagement team to verify that. This is particularly important as we have a global market, which makes it more difficult to monitor the market. So, the best way to ensure that a product is Radcoflex Australia’s genuine product is through our website and direct engagement with our team,” Carroll said.