Integra Systems bigger and better

The decision to re-locate to a bigger facility has won Integra Systems the 2011 Enterprise Connect Significant Achievement gong at the Endeavour Awards. Alan Johnson writes.

WITHIN nine months of re-locating to larger premises, an essential strategic move after an Enterprise Connect review, Integra Systems has won the Enterprise Connect Achievement of the Year award at the 2011 Endeavours.

Integra Systems, an engineering and manufacturing solutions provider, supports customers with product development and manufacturing services which focus on steel.

Managing director Paul Hughes, who accepted the award at the ceremony, said he was humbled to receive the award.

"Just to become a finalist, I was happy with that. For over 20 years we have been a mechanical engineering design company. We design and manufacture for the Australian industry with innovative products," he said.

"Over the past three years we have seen strong growth, moving forward with all the challenges and risks. Enterprise Connect went out of its way to identify our strengths and weaknesses. Through their program we have been able to take control of this business, and not be controlled by others.

"We have achieved our goal of combining our design business and manufacturing into one, with a whole range of innovative products."

Paul Smarrelli of Enterprise Connect conducted the review in October 2009. He made various recommendations, some implemented from internal resources, and others through Tailored Advisory Services. In 18 months, the company successfully implemented the changes recommended, these included; optimising workflow in the factory, reduced lead times, innovative use of manufacturing technologies and embarking on the Skills for Growth Program.

"Within 18 months there has been a dramatic improvement in the business performance and robustness through: Innovative new products, quality, reliability, flexibility and continuous improvement," said Hughes.

According to Hughes, this was a key driver in implementing all its strategic business actions. Currently all the staff at Integra are undertaking Certificate 4 in Competitive Manufacturing. Integra has also employed a young apprentice who is undertaking Certificate 3 in Process Manufacturing and a welding course.

The company also saw significant transformation in the workforce when managerial changes were made. This was done by increasing management privacy in a partitioned office environment to effectively undertake management meetings and private strategic planning and review sessions.

"The company aims to be an ‘Innovative complete solution provider,’ a differentiator by providing the space to undertake a larger volume of high-value-add work, and still allow component manufacturing to continue as our ‘bread and butter’ revenue," Hughes said.

Integra has invested in new machinery to increase supply capacity, meeting shareholders’ targets for profitability and return on capital employed. According to Hughes, Integra would not have been able to progress with many of the Enterprise Connect recommendations without the relocation.

Under Enterprise Connect’s advice, Integra is currently implementing Activity Based Costing to ensure that all costs are captured correctly and managed. This will ensure the company improves accuracy and competitiveness.

"We have re-structured the chart of accounts to more accurately measure margins and control EBIT. This has been supported by Tailored Advisory Services through consultants Phalanx Resources," said Hughes.

To gain a further understanding of its target markets it conducted a thorough customer base analysis.

"We did this by withdrawing support to customers that did not meet our strategic direction, in order to focus on core business development drivers that supported our strategy. But at the same time we strengthened and grew our existing customer base, in addition to identifying and converting new customers," said Hughes.

What the judges said:

The Endeavour judges explained that the Enterprise Connect Significant Achiever award is given to a firm that has implemented its Business Review recommendations, increased its capacity and capability, demonstrated improved business processes and embedded these improvements throughout its organisation.

"Transforming the business and moving from increased productivity into an accelerated growth cycle was also a consideration," the judges said.

"Integra Systems displayed all these characteristics including some radical re-thinking of the way and with whom they do business."

The judges strongly commended Integra Systems on its abilities to embrace business innovation, a key driver of the Enterprise Connect initiative.

Integra Systems 03 9359 3133, www.integrasystems.com.au