Defence, Features

Regional manufacturer gets defence-ready

For regionally based material processing and product design specialists, SMETEC Services, getting its name in front of ideal clients and building connections with the right people has not always been easy.

Based in NSW Shoalhaven region, SMETEC Services works with a niche client base. So having the right networks is essential.

According to director Louise Smeets, marketing and maintaining an online presence as a mainly B2B organisation is a challenge.

“We have recently updated our website to showcase our capabilities, but having started our family business from scratch, it has been a long process to get local customers on board,” said Smeets., who operates SMETEC Services alongside her husband Tim.

“We haven’t found any value in Facebook or Instagram for this specific business.”

“It’s hard to get exposure on these platforms to the kind of people we want.”

The company works with a broad range of clients, including people who “come in off the street” and local engineering or fabrication workshops. But it’s larger jobs like defence industry contracts that it has its eye on.

“We are a small company, but we have the right skills to be able to reach our goals and we do want to take on bigger projects in the future,” Louise said.

She and Tim know that a single contract can be a game changer for a small business in the manufacturing industry.

Which is why SMETEC maintains an ongoing relationship with the Industry Capability Network (ICN), including a presence on ICN’s Gateway platform.

The relationship and the presence on Gateway mean SMETEC is “tender-ready.”

 “Because we are in a niche market, ICN NSW has been a helpful networking tool for us,” said Louise, adding the ICN has been able to get the SMETEC name in front of potential Defence clients.

“It’s an important element when you’re looking at getting into the sector.”

Having an ongoing connection at ICN NSW has made a difference to the business.

“We have learned a lot about networking and about making sure the right people know the right things about us, and ICN is a great way to get that across,” said Louise.

 “We connected with [Regional Manager] Beti [Krsteski] through the Illawarra and Shoalhaven Defence Network. She has always known what we are doing.”

“We have a profile on the ICN Gateway platform and we always touch base with Beti and keep an eye out for updates. The more she gets to know us and is aware of what we can do, the more she can send things our way.

“If there is anything interesting going on in terms of upgrades to our capabilities or things like that, we let Beti know. We also see her at various networking functions and events.”

As a locally based ICN manager, Beti is able to act as ambassador SMETEC Services, and other Shoalhaven and Southeast suppliers in her network.

This proactive approach to supporting local business means Beti, and other ICN consultants and managers, can notify suppliers like SMETEC about relevant regional projects, reducing the risk of them missing out through being unaware of the opportunity.

“She is very supportive of our business, even though we are in such a niche market,” said Louise.

According to Beti, who has visited the SMETEC factory, Louise and Tim are an example of an Australian manufacturing business that is on the right path.

“I watched this small local business create clear strategic goals, focus and grit towards assuring service capability for defence and being rewarded with contracts to deliver,” she said.

ICN has offices in all capital cities, as well as regional centres in NSW, Victorian and Northern Territory.

For more information on how ICN can help you manufacturing business, go to

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