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Success stories at the Victorian Manufacturing Industry Showcase

Some 600 people from the manufacturing industry gathered recently at the Victorian Manufacturing Industry Showcase in Dandenong. Hartley Henderson was one of the attendees.

Local business leaders at the event spoke about the importance of continuing innovation, development of a new era in advanced manufacturing and identification of new market opportunities relating to a broad range of priority growth sectors including transport, construction and defence technologies, pharmaceuticals, medical technologies, and food.

Manufacturing success stories within Victoria were highlighted and there was a strong focus on product diversification, supply chain and collaborative opportunities, generating high value, high quality exports, and identifying and developing niche markets.

Established in 2003 in the Melbourne suburb of Kilsyth, Prebuilt identified an opportunity to move away from conventional kit homes and introduce architectural design to manufactured homes whilst exploiting and further developing the efficiencies that prefabrication can deliver.

The company now employs up to 150 construction workers, plus 50 office staff, and has three manufacturing facilities totalling over 12,000 square metres. High quality modular homes and commercial buildings are manufactured in a very controlled environment.

According to Managing Director Rob Colquhoun, the company set out to change the way prefab is done and has made skilled manufacturers out of builders.

“Significant efficiencies have been achieved including in waste reduction and key methods have been adopted from the automotive sector. We have also developed our own technology and systems that enable the most efficient and innovative construction of our architecturally designed houses,” he told Manufacturers’ Monthly.

“This compares to conventional on-site building methods that can be messy, complex, and involve significant safety issues, as well as substantial downtime due to inclement weather.

“Each of our homes begins with concept design, during which floor plans and 3D models are created. This in turn allows a fixed price to be established even before production begins and ensures no unpleasant surprises due to cost blowouts.”

Rob says the company produces 30 to 50 houses and over a hundred commercial modules a year. Many hundreds of Prebuilt houses have now been built across Australia in both rural and urban locations. Typical budgets are now between $300,000 and $1.5m, while some are well over $2m.

“Prefabricated housing is the primary way of building a house in Japan, and there is significant uptake also in countries such as Sweden, Norway and Germany. The market in Australia is gathering momentum as the concept moves away from kit homes to well designed prefab houses,” he said.

“We have now expanded into commercial prefab applications and large scale projects have been completed for McDonald’s Restaurants, Lend Lease, Stockland, Mirvac, and the Anglican and Catholic Churches.”

Ego Pharmaceuticals is the largest Australian owned pharmaceutical company specialising in dermatology. It produces over 120 skin products including QV skincare and Sunsense sunscreen and has 450 staff, of which over 100 are outside Australia including in the Middle East, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau.

In addition, the company has distributors in Cyprus, Malta, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Mauritius, Brunei, Indonesia, UK, New Zealand and Pacific Islands.

All products are made in the company’s state-of-the-art plant in the Melbourne suburb of Braeside, which was recently expanded at a cost of some $15m.

According to the Scientific and Operations Director of Ego Pharmaceuticals, Dr Jane Oppenheim, the company has experienced 12.5 percent compound growth each year for 30 years.

“We are experiencing strong growth both in Australia and internationally with exports to 25 nations contributing some 37 per cent to total net sales. Each market is researched in depth and marketing is strategically planned for sustained long term growth,” she said.

“Whilst Ego’s market expansion in Australia is substantial, our export performance is also having a significant positive impact on the company’s bottom line. Investment in export growth has proved to be a huge success factor for the company and allows us to reinvest in infrastructure and innovation in Australia for the long term.

“There is a strong emphasis on R&D to ensure the development of new innovative high quality skincare products. In planning for the future, it is important to think big, be bold, and to demonstrate that the company is worthy of investment.

“Employees are encouraged to be engaged in the planning process through sharing information, and modifications are made to take into account the ideas of others. In the implementation process, projects are broken down into sub-projects by group, by year and by month.

Ego Pharmaceuticals recently won the 2015 Governor of Victoria Export Award – Health and Biotechnology, and Jane believes that international expansion and continuing development of export markets is the key to future success.

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