Manufacturing News

Production Parts exports to the world

AT the 2007 Endeavour Awards, Exporter of the Year went to Victorian company Production Parts, with highly commended going to Eye Catcher Innovations from SA and Seawind Catamarans from NSW.

LOCATED in Airport West, Victoria, Production Parts specialises in high precision CNC machining, gear cutting/grinding, precision overhaul, through-life-support, maintenance and repair of complex defence and aerospace componentry.

In June 2003, the company became one of the first Australian manufacturers to win a contract for the new Joint Strike Fighter F135 jet.

It was also one of the first Australian manufacturers to complete and deliver a JSF contract and last year was awarded additional manufacturing work in conjunction with Pratt & Whitney for critical components of the F135 propulsion system.

Potential value of the contract is in excess of US$60m and is expected to run for 20 years.

It was for the manufacture of JSF components that saw the company win the 2007 Exporter of the Year award which was sponsored by the Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC).

Company Director Ashley Nicholls accepted the award and told Manufacturers Monthly he was very excited about winning this category.

“I am delighted that Production Parts has been recognised for its endeavours in the export market.

“I think as an SME enterprise, to engage as closely as we did with clients and to break into the global market place gave us a competitive edge, which is only further strengthened by the JSF project.”

The company attributes its ability to remain competitive against countries such as China to the export of components for the JSF program as well as the implementation of lean manufacturing practices and improved administrative management processes to streamline operations.

A strong client focus, nurturing long term client relationships, positive WOM (word of mouth) and the identification of potential clients through market research and industry involvement has also helped the company build its reputation as a successful Australian exporter.

Highly Commended

Eye Catcher Innovations has introduced the Protect-it range of column protectors, designed to minimise the damage caused to pallet racking, and the risk of injury in the event of a forklift impact.

The company’s vision to make the product the biggest selling pallet rack protection products in the world is already being realised.

Paul Huxtable, MD of Eye Catcher Innovations said he was very pleased to win the award.

“I think we did well in this category as we focus on what we do well (design) and have developed quite a unique product. This means we don’t have to compete so much on price.

“Being recognised in this way is good morale for everyone that participated in the development and manufacture of the product.

“We will keep on improving the design so we can return next year and win.”

An export strategy was established to reach this goal and by using a combination of a well-designed website, regular trade missions, consistent presence at trade fairs and targeted advertising.

In its short life the pallet rack protectors have already become one of the most recognised pallet rack protection products in the world.

The company offers a product to suit most pallet racking column sizes and major brands sold throughout Australia, Europe, South Africa, US and Canada.

Highly Commended

Seawind Catamarans was established 25 years ago and is now Australia’s largest manufacturer of sailing catamarans and yachts.

Production facilities are based in Wollongong with a team of 90 people who currently produce 30 boats per year, projected to increase to 40 by 2008.

As the Australian market is limited for catamarans, and Seawind Catamarans’ products are low volume and high cost ($300,000 to $600,000), export and international success is vital to its growth and long term future.

Seawind’s MD, Richard Ward, said it was fantastic to win this award especially in regards to the field of contestants in the category.

“We didn’t realise what sort of companies we would be up against but I think the fact we have a very high profile product helped,” Ward told Manufacturers Monthly.

“One of the things we try to do with our product it is to manufacture a complete, rather than component, consumer product.

“Being highly commended in this category is another opportunity to put our name out there and bolster the morale of our team,”

The catamaran manufacturer designs and builds family focussed cruisers with an emphasis on strength, safety, fun and ease of use, recognising that customer service and satisfaction is a major goal.

Seawind has a current sales turnover of $12m and is experiencing strong growth with projected turnover of $20m by 2010. Exports, largely to the US and Asia, account for 30% of gross sales.

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