Headland sits down with Wilson & Gilkes director Ian Wilson to talk about investing in the right technology.
What is your outlook on investing in machine technology?
"Our philosophy is based around continual improvement. As products and processes improve we need to invest in the technology to continually improve our business. This then obviously helps us to compete more effectively."
How has new machine technology changed your business?
"We have over 7 TRUMPF machines, bending, lasers and punch machines. Investing in the right TRUMPF machines for our business has allowed us to increase our turnover and process more steel with no extra staffing. Automation is the key to improvement of our processes, it has allowed us to grow at a faster rate than we are able to employ, train or even up-skill existing staff. By being able to produce more output without putting on more staff, we can therefore reduce the hourly rate to produce our products, and therefore improve our margins."
Did you consider other machines from other agencies in Australia?
"We did consider other machines when we purchased the TRUMPF machines, however, through our research we found out that TRUMPF's philosophy is about flexible machining – which aligns directly with our philosophy. We need flexibility in our manufacturing and TRUMPF's philosophy aligns with ours. For automation to work effectively its best if little manual adjustments are required as this ensures it's highly accurate. The better the machine is, the less manual adjustments you need and the best thing about TRUMPF machines is that retain their accuracy for a long time and therefore automation is possible for a long time.
"We focus on the two main industries of Contract Steel Metal, with the brand "Make" and Audio Visual Products, with the brands "Gilkon" and "Lectrum", we started in 1947 and have over 115 people working for us now. We also have one office in Sydney and in Auckland."
Who are the customers key customers and in what industries?
"Contract Sheet Metal customers are mainly other manufacturers that outsource work to us, storage and office product companies, point of sale companies. Audio and visual customers are mainly those in the Education, Hospitality, Commercial and Retail industries."
What will be the foreseen long term benefits? Do you foresee other machinery that will be required?
"We have seen steady growth over the years and foresee this continuing, therefore we will need more machinery going forward. However, our requirements for machinery will always be flexibility and automation.
"Machinery suppliers are a critical partner in providing highly effective solutions to our manufacturing needs; we need their knowledge, expertise and support to ensure we can keep our machines running to optimal capacity. TRUMPF is at the forefront of technology for their field, they are highly reliable machines and almost purpose built for our type of business – Jobbing Shops".