Today, @AuManufacturing’s Editorial Series – The Digital Path to Growth – takes a look at relocation and the technology needed to be successful in the face of low-cost competition. Here, Peter Roberts presents the Evolve group.
Ty Hermans, pictured below, doesn’t describe himself as a born manufacturer, and when he took over his father’s Evolve group in 2005, he traveled the busy road to China to get quotes for his first product. , the Polyslab composite machine stand. .
But running into the usual difficulties and risks, he began to wonder how long it would take before he had a Chinese competitor.
Hermans said: “At the time it was not called relocation.
“My strategy was that if they couldn’t make it cheaper than us, they wouldn’t become a competitor.”
Initially, Hermans used others to manufacture for him, but since buying his first manufacturing company, he has grown Evolve into a $ 100 million in-revenue group that markets and manufactures products for others and of his own creation.
“In 2014, we jumped into the manufacturing space – at that point, we understood what we needed from a manufacturing partner to make it work.
“We started to think ‘is this easy? ”, But the opening of our own manufacturing facility was a real eye-opener.
“What we bought was an old school manufacturer and it made us look at our technology. “
The company had typical technology of the day, such as stand-alone ERP systems that did not communicate with any other part of the business.
Aided by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Center, Evolve carried out a rapid technology overhaul, installing robots and automating where possible, embracing Lean principles, and digitizing its operations so there was no ‘a single “point of truth” linking operations.
Hermans has a refreshing, down-to-earth way of expressing himself: “I got to ask, what do we want this company to look like?
“We were exposed to what advanced manufacturing was, we had the ability to invest and that’s what we did.
“Making this was a big project and cost a fortune f ++++++.”
Today, at the Logan, Queensland plant, Evolve works with companies that design products and market their production, make tools for companies that outsource production, and manufactures itself using 20 24 hour injection molding machines.
The pace of investment in digital hardware and software is such that six new machines have arrived at the factory in just a few weeks, and Hermans finds himself searching for another new ERP system.
“We are extremely proud of our ability to make better quality plastic and composite products here in Australia for the many businesses and families we work with, and to help them with locally produced products that are more cost effective than offshore options.”
The best known of Evolve’s work to others is the Flow Hive that the company produces for Honeyflow.
But other successes include the Strucket system for cleaning baby cloth diapers, the Therabubble device for improving respiratory function, the b.box baby product line and the Snore® medical device. And there is work for bigger companies such as Orica mine blasting equipment and battery components for Century Yuasa batteries.
Evolve like many other manufacturers saw the Covid-19 pandemic as a big boost from purchasing managers and consumers re-evaluating their supply chains and risk profile.
“The Australian public got exactly what they wanted when they started to expect to be able to get a toaster for $ 7 and a pair of socks for 99 cents.”
While Hermans is optimistic about the future and firmly believes in the big innovations coming out of this country, he recognizes that when the pandemic passes, the good intentions of Australians may evaporate.
That’s why he will continue to push the boundaries and innovate himself.
His latest venture is his Plungie precast concrete plunge pool business, which is rapidly developing as a factory-made alternative to the long and often tedious process of having a pool built from scratch on-site by artisans.
Evolve has quickly gained traction with local developers who see the benefits of fast construction, known cost, and consistent quality of prefabrication. He recently opened Plungie in the United States.
But Hermans cautions, “Manufacturing isn’t easy, it’s a tough game.
“The key is that technology is changing so quickly and you have to too. “
Photo: Evolve Group / innovat8logan.com.au / Ty Hermans
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