ISO 9001 accreditation paves way for Bendigo foundry’s export success

With reports of manufacturers closing down or culling staff all too common this past year, it is pleasing to hear of one Bendigo-based family company that is ramping-up for global success this year.

Keech Australia, a 78-year-old foundry in Powells Road, Bendigo, is currently working on delivering product for some strong global contracts, and will be hiring new staff so it can expand its operations.

“Our Number Two Foundry has been refitted with the latest pouring and moulding technology for steel casting and will be operational next year,” said Keech CEO Herbert Hermens.

“We need to fill existing customer orders and future contracts, so we are putting on new weekend shifts and more full time positions in foundry operations, patternmaking, engineering, IT, logistics and R&D.”

Keech produces high-integrity steel castings for national and international mining, excavating, construction, agricultural, rail transport and defence projects. The company’s ‘vertical integration’ ensures the research, design, patternmaking, casting, finishing and distribution jobs are all carried-out from its Bendigo base. 

The company exports to China, Japan, Chile, Russia, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Canada and Brazil.

In 2011, Keech achieved the Global Mark ISO 9001, the world’s highest-quality accreditation, which reportedly involved the development of a computerised quality management system to improve processes, product quality and production management at the company. 

Keech claims it is the ISO 9001 accreditation that allowed the company to enter global markets, and raised awareness of the company’s quality products around the world.

“We currently employ more than 160 people across Australia, 150 of whom are located at our headquarters in Bendigo,” said Hermens.

“There is a bright future ahead for the high standard of manufacturing we are able to achieve with good systems and great employees.

“Over the next year we will be focused on consolidating our quality processes, expanding our operations and ensuring we have sufficient production capacity to meet our customers’ needs.”