Staring down the barrel of a 70% drop in revenue and the need to lay off staff because of COVID-19, Machine Technology has launched a new product line in four weeks and is now looking to hire extra staff to meet surging demand here and overseas.
Managing Director of Machine Technology Terry Ibrahim said it was an example of how Australian manufacturers could use this pandemic to show the world the benefits of the Aussie way of working.
“I think Australian manufacturing undersells its ability to be agile and responsive,’’ Terry said.
Machine Technology operates three distinct brands, using the same back-end infrastructure at their Sydney operation. IDC Medical Australia produces sharps and waste containers, FountainLine grass line marking machines and paints, with FountainLine IMS integrated components completing the trio. Terry said when COVID-19 hit, the company was entering the peak season for their linemarking business.
“When we went into lockdown FountainLine just froze, which accounted for 70% of our revenue at that time.’’
IDC and FountainLine IMS were still going okay, but the business needed to find something extra or they would have to cut staff.
The answer was a new product line of hand sanitiser stands which went from concept to production in four weeks.
Terry said it was the first time they were able to vertically integrate a product across all their businesses.
“We were able to leverage our diverse distribution networks across IDC Medical and FountainLine and all the manufacturing capability was available in house.’’
The result has been orders coming in from the United States and New Zealand for the product.
“We only launched two weeks ago and have already sold 5000 units,’’ Terry said.
“We are now working 6 days a week and as many hours as we want to meet demand. We created a whole new product line and business unit in a matter of weeks.’’
And that product line is here to stay with plans to explore other markets.
“The unique flatpack design suits the export market and it’s easy to fill a container with the product.”
He said the product is also of higher quality than cheaper units which are traditionally sourced from Asia.
Terry said Australian manufacturers needed to back themselves and show they offer a credible option in all markets.
“We need to see this pandemic as an opportunity to showcase what we can do.”