EEM caught up with Hydraulic Steels Australia owners Stephen and Teresa Holt.
The last six months has been a challenging time for businesses – some are suffering, however many are finding opportunities amongst the chaos. Hydraulic Steels Australia is one – they began a series of ambitious plans at the beginning of last year and those plans are starting to bear fruit.
A central part of their strategy was opening a Melbourne facility managed by Chris Piplios, which has now been open for over six months.
“The Dandelong office is a stone’s throw away from the Eastlink M3 arterial and perfect for servicing the southern states, including Southern NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia,” says Chris.
Chris knows the industry well having had more than 20 years of experience in the engineering design and repair sector –20 as a company director in successful businesses – so he understands first-hand how important it is for fleet owners to have breakages repaired quickly. The Melbourne office has seen sales grow strongly during the last six months. “Our key sales to repair shops have mainly been within the Melbourne area, but increasingly are to the other states,” Chris says. “The workshops are completing repairs for equipment for a wide range of sectors including: earthmoving, construction, materials and waste handling, farming and transport.”
In Brisbane managing director and co-founder Stephen Holt explains that another key part of the expansion strategy was to bring in Brock Nason as their general manager: “Brock was formerly the manufacturing engineer at Drake Trailers – he heads up operations and procedures and is tasked with steering our systems.”
So has the COVID-19 situation been a baptism of fire for recently hired Brock?
“Definitely not!” laughs Brock. “Whilst the COVID-19 situation was concerning at first, it hasn’t impeded the operation – Hydraulic Steels Australia has spent the last two years implementing a set of safety procedures using the cloud based Kitney 365 WHS System, so enacting COVID-19 safe plans was relatively straightforward. Not only has this protected staff, but has also seen efficiencies in the operation.”
Brock goes on to explain that they are constantly looking for ways to innovate. “We are currently working with Panir Engineering on stock holding and traceability systems – these utilise technologies that were developed for the big end of town – the oil and gas industries, however if you are flexible and agile these powerful technologies can be directed towards smaller businesses such as Hydraulic Steels Australia. These measures will deliver further efficiencies for our customers ensuring that we continue to deliver the widest stocked range of hydraulic steels with swift, but safe service.”
Brock Nason – recently appointed General Manager, Hydraulic Steels Australia.
These systems in turn feed into Hydraulic Steels Australia’s growth. Finance Director (and co-founder) Teresa Holt tells us, “The Brisbane office has outgrown its existing three warehouses and will move into a 2200 square metre site in Rocklea in November this year. This will be a purpose-built facility and we are looking at acquiring a further four laser guided Everising Bandsaws – this will bring the operation’s total to eight and remains a main part of our competitive advantage – cutting hydraulic steels faster than our bigger, but much slower competitors.”