Precision manufacturer Endeavours to succeed

Since taking out Manufacturer of the Year 2007, it has been a busy time for precision engineering company Production Parts. Katherine Crichton caught up with MD Peter Nicholls to find out more.

Since taking out Manufacturer of the Year 2007, it has been a busy time for precision engineering company Production Parts. Katherine Crichton caught up with MD Peter Nicholls to find out more.

SINCE taking out the Endeavour’s Manufacturer of the Year Award in 2007, it has been a busy time for precision engineering company Production Parts; a company of many firsts over its 60 year manufacturing history.

In 2003, it became one of the first Australian manufacturers to win a contract for the new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF), an achievement which helped propel the company onto the global defence manufacturing stage.

Production Parts was also the first winner of the Global Integration Award at the 2007 Endeavour Awards and also took out the Exporter of the Year Award.

The company has also just completed its first shipment of parts for Eurocopter, as part of the Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter (ARH) and Multi-Roll Helicopter (MRH-90) project.

MD Peter Nicholls says a key part of the company’s success is its ability to access international supply chains, which, combined with its involvement in defence projects, has helped buffer the company from the impacts of the global downturn.

“Australian companies need to embed themselves in these global supply chains,” Nicholls told Manufacturers’ Monthly.

“Winning new work is absolutely critical to all manufacturers, along with filling skill-shortages and creating a capacity to manufacture on-shore,” he explained.

In regards to Government procurement and industry participation policies, Nicholls says it is important to make the distinction between ‘protecting industry and providing opportunities’.

“Australian manufacturers need to offer best value and world-competitive solutions. We cannot survive in this environment by being protected from an external global economy,” he said.

“Australian industry will continue to restructure and we will continue to suffer the rigours of global competition.

“Industries in our country that are low value-add, simple component-type industries will continue to move offshore so it is important for local industry to concentrate on our niche and core capabilities – complex part manufacturing and high-value add activities where we can be globally competitive.”

In the meantime, Nicholls says Production Parts will continue to develop strong links into global supply chains as well as invest in up skilling staff with the aid of initiatives such as the Department of Defence SADI (Skilling Australia’s Defence Industry) Program.

“I think there’s light at the end of the tunnel in regards to the global economic downturn. The US economy is starting to emerge in some growth patterns.

“Overall, I don’t think this downturn was as bad as the early 90s recession,” Nicholls said.

Endeavours 2010

Manufacturers’ Monthly’s Endeavour Awards, Australia’s premier national awards program for manufacturing excellence, is now open for nominations.

Now in its seventh year, the Endeavour Awards is the only national awards program specifically for Australia’s manufacturing industry.

Free to enter, the Endeavours offer a unique program for manufacturers to demonstrate and showcase their business successes and enhance the company’s reputation both locally and overseas, be it as a finalist or taking out an actual award.

The Endeavour Awards celebrate and recognise the achievements of industry leaders in their drive to achieve ‘best practice’ and excellence in manufacturing.

The 2010 Endeavours include nine key categories:

Technology Application of the Year

Australian Consumer/Trade Product of the Year

Australian Industrial Product of the Year

Australian Steel Innovation Award

Exporter of the Year

Environmental Solution of the Year

Global Integration Award

Safety Scheme of the Year

Young Manufacturer of the Year

Remember entry is free, and the deadline for entries is COB January 29, 2010.

For an application form visit www.manmonthly.com.au/Awards.aspx or for more information call Alan Johnson on 02 9422 2480 or Katherine Crichton on 02 9422 2964.

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